obama has a 5 point lead in the downs poll. obama's supporters tend to be democrats, independents and some republicans. clinton's base is largely democrats.
578 registered Hoosier voters likely to participate in the May 6 Democratic primary prefer Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton. Obama received 50% of the support and Clinton received 45%, with 5% undecided (margin of error +/- 4.2).
Clinton’s most solid support comes from the most partisan Democrats (51% Clinton to 45% Obama), with weaker Democratic identifiers, independents, and most Republicans tending to support Obama.
Obama outperforms Clinton with Indiana men (55% to 42%) while women are for Clinton (48% to 46%)--but within the margin of error.
Likely Indiana Democratic primary voters over 50 prefer Clinton to Obama (53% to 42%) while Obama leads among the voters under 50 (59% to 36%).
Meanwhile, white Democratic primary Hoosier voters also fall within the margin of error on vote preference with 48% indicating they would support Clinton and 47% who would support Obama. Obama dominates among African-Americans 78% to 17%.
The effects of income and education follow similar patterns concerning Democratic primary support. Higher educated likely Democratic primary voters support Obama while the less educated of these voters support Clinton. Clinton does relatively better than Obama among those with lower incomes, while Obama does particularly well among the highest income Hoosiers in this voting block.
Momentum: Vote Switching and Timing of Decision
As a state whose primary comes later, Indiana provides a rare opportunity to demonstrate how momentum builds for candidates following primary and caucus results. Obama has gathered more support during the primary and caucus season, but it has come later than one would expect given the string of successes he put together throughout February.
Clinton’s support has been more stable, but she also seems to have convinced many Hoosier Democrats to support her following her Ohio and Texas primary successes.
As the frontrunner coming into the nomination contest season, Hillary Clinton has enjoyed more consistent support among likely Democratic primary voters in Indiana. Sixty-six percent of the 262 likely Clinton primary voters surveyed always supported Clinton. 27% of her supporters switched their vote to her from another candidate (margin of error +/- 5.9).
Of the 288 Obama supporters, 55% had always supported him and 32% of his supporters switched to him from another candidate (margin of error +/- 5.9).
Interestingly, despite being Obama’s worst period in the Democratic nomination season, 29% of Obama’s Indiana supporters decided to vote for him after the early-March Ohio and Texas primaries. Fourteen percent of Obama supporters decided after the February 5 Super Tuesday contests, and 12% after the early-January Iowa and New Hampshire contests. Four of ten Obama supporters decided before the nomination primaries and caucuses began.
The patterns are very similar for Hillary Clinton, with slightly more of her supporters deciding before the primary and caucus season (47%). Thirteen percent decided after Iowa and New Hampshire, 10% after Super Tuesday, and 26% after the Ohio and Texas contests of March 4.
General Election Head-to-Head Results in Indiana
For likely registered November voters deciding between John McCain and Barack Obama, McCain received 51% to Barack Obama’s 44%, with 5% undecided (+/- 2.8 margin of error). McCain would best Hillary Clinton 53% to 42% if registered likely Hoosier general election voters were to have voted April 14 - April 16. 5% remain undecided in that race.
This is a mixed result for Democrats in a state that votes very Republican in presidential elections. While behind, the two Democrats are much closer at this point to the lukewarm 47% to 41.5% victory Bob Dole registered against Bill Clinton in the state in 1996 than the George Bush Indiana defeat of John Kerry 60% to 39% in 2004 or Bush’s 57% to 41% victory over Al Gore in 2000.
The two Democrats attract different types of voters relative to Senator McCain. Clinton’s support relies on traditional Democrats while Obama appeals slightly less to Democrats and more to independents and even some Republicans. Specifically, Hillary Clinton gets 83% of strong Democrats compared to 74% of strong Democrats for Obama, with 12% of strong Democrats going to McCain if Clinton is the nominee and 19% of strong Democrats going to McCain if Obama is the nominee. These latter groups are likely ardent supporters of the opposing candidate who may swing back to the party for the general election following the sharp nomination battles.