Digging deeper into its poll data collected Jan. 4-6 in New Hampshire, Gallup came up with these headlines to explain why Barack Obama and John McCain appear to have done so well in the state. Quoting some of the highlights:
– Obama has overtaken Hillary Clinton as the candidate perceived as having the best chance of beating the Republican in November.
– Republican voters are equally likely to perceive McCain and Romney as having the best chance of beating the Democrat in November. They perceive Romney as the “new ideas” candidate, but view McCain as the candidate who is most able to get things done in Washington.
– Obama appears to have convinced New Hampshire voters that he is the candidate most likely to possess new ideas to help solve the country’s problems. Fifty-one percent of likely New Hampshire Democratic primary voters say this about Obama, compared with 19 percent who associate this characteristic with Clinton and 18 percent who believe it best describes John Edwards. That is the largest advantage for any candidate on any of the six character dimensions tested in the poll.
– Obama’s only disadvantage comes in terms of getting things done in Washington, where Clinton is the clear leader, 49 percent to 25 percent. In an election in which “change” has become the dominant theme, a candidate’s experience in Washington may be as much a liability as an asset.
– McCain has a significant advantage on three items — standing up for what he believes in (his best showing on any dimension, at 43 percent), being in touch with the average American, and getting things done in Washington.
– Romney has an advantage on just one, but it is the one that most closely gets at the theme of change. Thirty-one percent of New Hampshire GOP voters say Romney is the candidate with new ideas to help solve the country’s problems, compared with 18 percent for McCain, 15 percent for Mike Huckabee, 12 percent for Ron Paul, and 10 percent for Rudy Giuliani.