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Offering Reassurance and Change
Wednesday, July 09 2008

With the Democratic nomination contest over, Senator Barack Obama has emerged with an improvement in his overall favorability and a vote gain among Democratic voters. Though this progress has been accompanied by some diminished enthusiasm for the presumptive Democratic nominee and only small gains among independent voters, Obama seems well-positioned to engage voters, consolidate Democrats and win over independents. And while he maintains a solid but narrow lead over Republican candidate John McCain, the energy debate and voters' increasing concerns about the weakening economy offer an opportunity for Obama and the Democrats to break open this election.

Democracy Corps and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner completed a special national survey of 2,000 likely voters that shows Barack Obama with a 4-point lead over John McCain in the race for president (49 to 45 percent). Obama has diminished some of the polarization around his image and provided key reassurances that have more voters saying he “has what it takes to be president." Though this progress has been accompanied by some diminished enthusiasm for the presumptive Democratic nominee and only small gains among independent voters, Obama seems well-positioned to engage voters, consolidate Democrats and win over independents. In this report, Stan Greenberg, James Carville and Ana Iparraguirre analyze the challenge that Obama faces in this new phase of the campaign as he will have to provide important reassurance on his biography, values and moderation, while offering a sense of purpose, direction and choice at a time of deepening crisis and demand for change.