In the Wake of Wall Street Meltdown, Neither Candidate Seen As Qualified to Resolve Crisis: Obama 45%, McCain 46%

But Economy Looms Large As Most Important Election Issue (36%); National Security a Distant Second (16%) Obama Leads McCain As Stronger on Jobs and the Economy (48% vs. 40%) and Representing Change (57% vs. 32%) in an Otherwise Tight Race

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Washington, DC – A new Ipsos/McClatchy poll of registered voters indicates that neither candidate for the Presidency is viewed as qualified to resolve the financial and mortgage crisis following last week’s Wall Street meltdown. Overall, less than half of American voters endorse each candidates qualifications – 45% of voters believe Barack Obama is qualified to resolve the crisis; 46% see John McCain as qualified.

Subgroups most likely to view Obama as qualified to handle the financial and mortgage crisis include households making under $25,000 per year (56% qualified), Hispanics (68% qualified) and non-Hispanic Black voters (81% qualified). Groups more likely to see McCain as qualified include residents of the South and West (52% qualified) and non-Hispanic White voters (53% qualified).

It’s the Economy (Still)…

In considering campaign issues, voters overwhelmingly see jobs and the economy as the most important issue in the current Presidential election campaign – the top choice of 36% of registered voters, compared to National Security, which comes in a distant second, selected by 16% of voters.

The gap is even larger when comparing the combined totals for the most important and next most important issues. A majority (59%) of voters put jobs and the economy in their top two, compared to only 35% choosing national security in the top two. Jobs and the economy is the top concern (as well as top two concern) across all voter subgroups.

Obama Holds an Edge on Economy and Change…

Barack Obama is viewed by registered voters as the stronger candidate on jobs and the economy – Obama 48% stronger, McCain 40% stronger. Young adults age 18-34 (59% Obama, 31% McCain), households making under $25,000 per year (56% Obama, 34% McCain), Hispanics (64% Obama, 28% McCain) and non-Hispanic Blacks (88% Obama, 9% McCain) are all more likely to endorse Obama as stronger on jobs and the economy; those more likely to see McCain as stronger on the economy are residents of the South (46% McCain, 41% Obama) and non-Hispanic Whites (48% McCain, 39% Obama).

Obama is also seen as the candidate most able to bring change to Washington. A majority of voters (57%) select Barack Obama as stronger on representing change, compared to 32% of voters who see John McCain as stronger on representing change.

But It’s Still Anybody’s Game…

Overall, among registered voters, the race for the White House remains a dead heat – 44% for Obama, 43% for McCain.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted September 18-22, 2008. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of exactly 1,068 adults across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. Within this sample, Ipsos interviewed 923 respondents who self identified as registered voters. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within ±3.2 percentage points. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Interviews were conducted with respondents on land-line telephones and cellular phones. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish.

For more information on this news release, please contact:
Clifford Young, PhD
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Public Affairs
(312) 375-3328

About Ipsos

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In the Wake of Wall Street Meltdown, Neither Candidate Seen As Qualified to Resolve Crisis: Obama 45%, McCain 46%


Clifford Young
President, US
Ipsos Public Affairs