Politics & Government

Latest Winthrop/ETV Poll results

Notes on this poll:

The poll was conducted among 1,088 randomly sampled Likely Voters in the South between Aug. 1 and Aug. 17, 2008. Data using all respondents has a margin of error of +/- 2.97 percent. As is true with all survey data, any results that use a subset of the respondents will have a higher margin of error.

For the purposes of this survey, "the South" is defined as: AL, AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, NC, SC, TN, TX, VA. Data is weighted by state.

States are sub-divided as follows:

Deep South: AL, GA, LA, MS, SC

Peripheral South: AR, FL, NC, TN, TX, VA

Southern African-Americans in this sample were overwhelmingly supporters of Obama (only 3.2% identified themselves as McCain supporters). Therefore, breakdowns by "Christian" and "Evangelical" are done exclusively with white respondents. Many pundits have questioned whether the Democratic candidate can make in-roads with these groups.

For the purposes of this analysis, "working class whites" are defined as white respondents with less than a college education and an annual household income no greater than $50,000.

Not all results sum to 100% due to rounding.

Some people seem to follow what's going on in government and public affairs most of the time, whether there's an election or not. Others aren't that interested. How often would you say that you follow what is going on in government and public affairs: Most of the time, Some of the time, Only now and then, or Hardly at all?



Most of the time 73.4
Some of the time 18.5
Only now and then 4.5
Hardly at all 2.7
Don't Know/Refused 0.1

What is your primary source for news about the politics? Is it local or regional television news, cable television news, newspapers, radio, the internet, talking with friends or family, or something else?



local/regional television news 19.5
television news 44.7
newspapers 16.9
radio 5.2
Internet 9.2
friends or family 1.6
something else 1.0
Don't Know/Refused 1.7

Do you Approve or Disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Approve 35.2 38.5 33.9 37.8
Disapprove 52.5 48.7 54.1 53.1
Don't Know /Refused 12.3 12.7 12.0 9.1

Thinking about the current path that our nation is taking, do you think our country is on the right track or headed in the wrong direction?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Right Track 24.5 27.0 23.5 20.9
Wrong Direction 62.5 60.0 63.5 68.2
Don't Know / Refused 13.0 13.0 13.0 10.9

Did you ever seriously consider not voting in the general election if your favored candidate in the primaries didn't get the nomination?



All Clinton Supporters
Yes 12.4 18.6
No 84.7 79.8
Don't Know / Refused 2.9 1.6

Suppose the election were being held today. If Barack Obama were the Democratic Party's candidate and John McCain were the Republican Party's candidate, who would you be more likely to vote for -

[Caller ROTATE EACH ANSWER AS YOU ASK THE QUESTION]

Barack Obama, the Democrat (or) John McCain, the Republican?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites Christians (white only) Evangelicals (white only)
McCain 51.3 56.6 49.1 60.1 64.7 71.5
Obama 35.1 31.0 36.8 25.5 22.0 17.0
someone else [volunteered] 2.7 2.8 2.6 5.8 2.7 3.4
undecided [volunteered] 8.3 6.3 9.2 6.3 8.7 6.5
refused 2.6 3.2 2.3 2.2 1.9 1.6

Which of the following qualities is most important to you in selecting the candidate for whom you will vote?

[CALLER: rotate]



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites Christians (white only) Evangelicals (white only)
Experience 21.1 26.3 19.0 20.8 23.4 21.3
Knowledge/intelligence 18.2 16.0 19.0 13.1 15.8 11.7
Honesty 25.7 21.2 27.5 32.4 24.4 25.8
Diplomatic skills 3.7 1.9 4.5 4.5 2.8 2.6
Holds positions similar to yours 5.8 6.4 5.6 2.8 5.2 5.1
Exhibits values similar to yours 19.8 19.9 19.8 20.3 23.1 28.9
not sure [volunteered] 4.8 6.7 3.9 4.6 4.3 4.2
refused 1.0 1.6 0.8 1.4 1.1 0.5

What is the one issue that is most important to you in the upcoming presidential election?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Economy 35.7% Economy 34.8% Economy 35.9% Economy 32.4%
Iraq 12.0% Iraq 10.4% Iraq 12.5% Iraq 15.3%
Price of gas 5.8% Healthcare 7.3% Price of gas 6.0% Price of gas 6.2%
Healthcare 5.3% Terrorism 6.6% Healthcare 4.4% Healthcare 5.6%

I'm going to read a list of issues, for each issue, I'd like for you to tell me - if you had to choose - whether you think John McCain or Barack Obama would do a better job on that issue.

The first issue is Healthcare, who do you think would do better on that issue?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 41.6 47.5 39.2 48.3
Obama 40.8 36.9 42.4 34.9
Neither / do the same [volunteered] 8.1 6.7 8.6 7.7
Not Sure [volunteered] 9.1 8.3 9.4 8.7
refused 0.5 0.6 0.4 0.3

How about energy, including gas prices?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 47.3 51.0 45.9 50.1
Obama 33.6 30.6 34.7 27.5
Neither / do the same [volunteered] 10.7 8.9 11.3 9.0
Not Sure [volunteered] 7.8 8.6 7.6 11.7
refused 0.6 1.0 0.5 1.8

How about the situation in Iraq?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 53.7 56.8 52.5 59.5
Obama 33.5 30.5 34.6 25.1
Neither / do the same [volunteered] 6.4 4.4 7.2 6.5
Not Sure [volunteered] 6.0 7.3 5.6 8.0
0.3 1.0 0.1 0.8

How about taxes?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 50.0 54.8 48.0 51.0
Obama 30.3 30.3 30.2 23.4
Neither / do the same [volunteered] 10.1 5.4 12.0 10.7
Not Sure [volunteered] 9.2 8.3 9.6 14.1
0.4 1.3 0.1 0.8

How about illegal immigration?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 42.1 44.4 41.2 42.4
Obama 25.5 25.7 25.4 18.1
Neither / do the same [volunteered] 14.0 14.0 14.0 16.6
Not Sure [volunteered] 17.3 14.3 18.6 21.3
1.0 1.6 0.8 1.6

How about moral values?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 45.1 49.2 43.4 55.7
Obama 28.2 26.7 28.8 21.8
Neither / do the same [volunteered] 17.5 13.0 19.3 14.2
Not Sure [volunteered] 8.5 10.2 7.8 7.8
0.7 1.0 0.7 0.6

How about terrorism?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 57.9 61.6 56.3 62.6
Obama 25.2 2.8 25.7 18.5
Neither / do the same [volunteered] 9.0 5.4 10.4 8.7
Not Sure [volunteered] 7.6 8.3 7.4 9.3
0.3 1.0 0.1 0.8

Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one applies more to Barack Obama or more to John McCain?

The first is "Understands the problems Americans face in their daily lives."



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 39.1 44.9 36.8 47.0
Obama 41.1 36.0 43.2 33.1
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 8.2 8.3 8.1 9.2
Applies to Neither [vol] 7.9 7.3 8.1 7.5
Not Sure [vol] 3.5 2.9 3.8 2.8
Refused [vol] 0.2 0.6 0.0 0.3

How about "Is independent in his thoughts and actions."



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 41.1 47.8 38.4 47.9
Obama 38.1 33.4 40.0 31.1
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 7.2 5.4 7.8 3.8
Applies to Neither [vol] 7.3 6.1 7.8 8.1
Not Sure [vol] 5.8 6.4 5.6 8.2
Refused [vol] 0.4 1.0 0.3 0.8

Would work well with both parties to get things done in Washington.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 45.8 49.0 44.4 53.7
Obama 32.9 30.9 33.7 27.6
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 8.8 6.7 9.7 6.4
Applies to Neither [vol] 7.0 8.3 6.6 3.9
Not Sure [vol] 4.9 3.8 5.2 7.6
Refused [vol] 0.6 1.3 0.4 0.8

Cares about the needs of people like you.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 37.0 43.0 34.5 43.2
Obama 37.9 34.4 39.3 33.3
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 8.5 8.0 8.8 5.3
Applies to Neither [vol] 11.6 8.9 12.7 13.0
Not Sure [vol] 4.5 4.5 4.5 5.0
Refused [vol] 0.6 1.3 0.3 0.3

Is a strong leader.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 50.1 53.0 48.8 56.3
Obama 30.3 27.8 31.4 24.9
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 8.7 6.7 9.6 5.4
Applies to Neither [vol] 5.6 6.4 5.4 7.1
Not Sure [vol] 4.5 4.8 4.5 5.9
Refused [vol] 0.7 1.3 0.4 0.3

Would stand up to special interest including those aligned with his party.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 40.8 44.1 39.4 48.0
Obama 33.7 31.9 34.5 26.7
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 6.4 4.8 7.1 3.6
Applies to Neither [vol] 10.9 9.6 11.4 8.2
Not Sure [vol] 7.3 8.0 7.0 11.5
Refused [vol] 0.9 1.6 0.7 2.0

Shares your values.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 45.1 50.0 43.2 51.1
Obama 32.9 29.2 34.4 23.8
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 7.5 6.1 8.0 6.4
Applies to Neither [vol] 8.7 8.7 8.7 8.8
Not Sure [vol] 5.2 4.5 5.5 9.6
Refused [vol] 0.6 1.6 0.1 0.3

Has a clear plan for solving the country's problems.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 29.8 34.1 28.1 39.3
Obama 26.2 24.1 26.9 20.1
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 4.5 4.2 4.6 3.7
Applies to Neither [vol] 33.3 29.6 34.8 27.9
Not Sure [vol] 5.6 5.8 5.5 7.9
Refused [vol] 0.6 2.3 0.0 1.1

Is honest and trustworthy.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
McCain 40.7 44.1 39.2 49.8
Obama 27.9 25.4 28.9 19.6
Applies to Both Equally [vol] 16.9 13.5 18.4 13.1
Applies to Neither [vol] 9.3 8.4 9.7 9.8
Not Sure [vol] 4.5 6.8 3.5 7.4
Refused [vol] 0.7 1.9 0.3 0.3

How important is a candidate's pick for Vice President in deciding which presidential candidate you will vote for – is it very important, somewhat important, not very important, or not at all important?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Very Important 37.5 38.0 37.1 48.3
Somewhat Important 33.4 32.9 33.6 28.5
Not Very Important 13.2 14.7 12.6 10.2
Not at all important 14.1 12.8 14.7 11.1
Don't Know/Refused 1.8 1.6 2.0 1.9

Would choosing a Vice Presidential candidate from the South make you more likely or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate, or would it make no difference?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites Native Southerners
More likely 7.1 8.0 6.7 10.5  
less likely 2.5 2.6 2.5 1.8
make no difference 87.2 85.9 87.8 84.9
not sure 2.5 3.2 2.1 2.8
refused 0.7 0.3 0.9 0.0

How important is it that a president has served in the United States military - is it very important, somewhat important, not very important, or not at all important?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Very Important 27.3 32.7 25.1 37.8
Somewhat Important 28.8 26.0 29.9 24.3
Not Very Important 14.4 12.8 15.0 12.7
Not at all important 28.3 26.0 29.2 23.4
Don't Know/Refused 1.3 2.6 0.8 1.9

How concerned are you that, as president, John McCain would pursue policies that are too similar to what George W. Bush as pursued - very concerned, somewhat concerned, not too concerned, or not concerned at all.



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Very concerned 34.6 32.1 35.5 30.9
Somewhat concerned 16.8 15.4 17.4 20.8
Not too concerned 15.0 17.0 14.2 16.6
Not at all concerned 30.9 33.7 29.7 29.0
Don't Know/Refused 2.8 1.9 3.2 2.7

I'd like to ask you what you think about Barack Obama's level of experience. Do you think he has enough experience to be president, does not have enough experience to be president, or are not sure whether he has enough experience to be president?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
has enough experience 31.3 27.3 32.9 21.2
does not have enough experience 49.4 53.4 47.8 57.8
not sure 18.3 18.3 18.3 20.5
Refused 1.0 1.0 1.1 0.5

I'd like for you to think about your circle of closest friends. Do you think the majority of them would have a serious problem voting for an African American for president, somewhat of a problem voting for an African American for President, or no problem at all voting for an African American for President?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Serious problem 5.8 6.5 5.5 9.0
Somewhat of a problem 16.5 16.8 16.4 23.0
no problem at all 73.2 72.9 73.3 63.0
not sure 3.9 3.9 3.8 3.9
refused 0.6 0.0 0.9 1.0

In your choice for president, how important is the race of the candidate - very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?



All Deep South Peripheral South Whites Blacks Working Class Whites
very important 6.4 8.7 5.5 4.6 18.8 9.1
somewhat important 5.8 6.8 5.5 5.3 8.3 8.3
not very important 13.5 14.8 12.9 14.7 12.0 15.7
not at all important 73.3 68.4 75.1 74.3 60.9 65.1
Don't Know/Refused 1.1 1.3 1.1 1.1 0.0 1.8

In your choice for president, how important is the age of the candidate - very important, somewhat important, not so important or not important at all?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
Very important 12.9 14.2 12.4 16.9
Somewhat important 34.6 32.6 35.6 30.0
Not very important 16.1 16.8 15.8 14.8
Not at all important 35.3 35.5 35.2 36.8
Don't Know/Refused 1.1 1.0 1.1 1.4

At what age would you say someone is "too old" to run for president?



Not Sure 14.9%
No Age Too Old 21.2%
Mean 73.73 years old
Median 74 years old
Mode 70 years old

Even if the candidate were a practicing Christian, would having a Muslim parent impact your willingness to vote for a candidate for president?



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites Christians (white only) Evangelicals (white only)
yes 24.8 27.7 23.5 37.7 30.0 40.3
no 65.0 59.7 67.2 49.9 59.7 49.0
not sure 8.7 9.0 8.7 11.0 9.3 9.8
refused 1.5 3.5 0.7 1.4 1.0 0.9

Which of the following comes closest to your preference regarding U.S. policy on the environment

[Caller ROTATE EACH ANSWER AS YOU ASK THE QUESTION]

The U.S. government should be more active in protecting the environment

The U.S. government should continue its current environmental policies

The U.S. government should less involved in environmental issues



All Deep South Peripheral South Working Class Whites
U.S govt more active 57.2 54.7 58.2 58.3
U.S govt continue current 21.2 22.3 20.8 21.4
U.S govt less involved 17.3 17.8 17.1 16.8
Not Sure [volunteered] 3.9 4.9 3.5 3.0
refused [volunteered] 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.5

How important would you say religion is in your own life: Very important, fairly important, or not very important?



All Deep South Peripheral South Whites Blacks Working Class Whites
Very important 70.8 82.4 66.1 69.0 83.6 78.0
Fairly important 18.6 12.7 21.0 20.4 11.9 14.0
Not very important 9.2 3.6 11.5 9.7 2.2 7.4
Refused 1.5 1.3 1.5 1.0 2.2 0.5

Would you describe yourself as a "born again" or evangelical Christian?



All Deep South Peripheral South Whites Blacks Working Class Whites
Yes 49.8 59.5 45.7 48.9 66.2 65.8
No 45.2 35.5 49.2 47.2 27.1 29.3
Not sure 2.7 3.3 2.5 2.5 4.5 3.8
Refused 2.3 1.6 2.6 1.5 2.3 1.1

How would you describe your political beliefs, Very Liberal, Somewhat Liberal, Moderate, Somewhat Conservative, Very Conservative?



All Deep South Peripheral South Whites Blacks Working Class Whites
Very Liberal 7.4 8.3 7.0 6.3 11.4 6.4
Somewhat Liberal 15.2 12.5 16.2 13.0 27.3 15.6
Moderate 24.6 22.8 25.3 24.7 27.3 28.7
Somewhat Conservative 26.4 26.4 26.3 28.5 15.2 19.4
Very Conservative 23.4 28.1 21.6 24.7 16.7 26.3
Not sure 2.3 0.7 3.1 2.3 1.5 3.2
refused 0.8 1.3 0.5 0.5 0.8 0.3

Which of the following best describes your regional identity?

[Caller ROTATE EACH ANSWER AS YOU ASK THE QUESTION]

non-southern

converted southerner

native southerner



All Deep South Peripheral South Whites Blacks Working Class Whites
non-Southern 14.6 9.1 16.8 14.3 13.6 5.4
converted southerner 20.0 13.7 22.6 22.0 6.8 19.9
native southerner 61.5 74.6 56.0 60.8 75.0 71.9
not sure 3.0 1.6 3.5 2.2 4.5 2.3
refused 1.0 1.0 1.1 0.7 0.0 0.5
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