Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is in a very good position to win the November election against Republican rival John McCain, according to a survey released Monday.
Many key factors point strongly in favor of Obama as the next U.S. president, said the national study conducted by The Barna Group.
Obama holds a 50 percent to 35 percent lead over McCain among likely voters, according to the study.
Moreover, those likely to vote for Obama are more solidly backing their candidate compared to those who support McCain. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of Obama voters are "absolutely certain" that they will vote for him, whereas only 59 percent of McCain voters are equally committed.
Obama's supporters are also much more confident that the Illinois senator will win (53 percent), compared to those that say they will vote for McCain (31 percent). Research of past elections indicate that such confidence affects voters' likelihood to turn out to vote.
Also what Obama has going for him is the excitement of registered Democrats for his campaign (48 percent), versus the significantly lower enthusiasm from registered Republicans for their candidate (30 percent).
Other factors in favor of Obama include the relatively few numbers of undecided voters – just 15 percent of the registered voters who are likely to vote have not chosen a candidate to support, and the large number of newly registered young adults who are heavily Democratic and strongly leaning towards Obama.
"The national survey showed that there are no specific reasons to believe that Sen. McCain is likely to win the election," the Barna study commented
Although McCain has significantly higher support among evangelicals, Republicans, and conservatives, the backings of these groups are still not enough to give him the lead in November, according to the study.
What McCain and his supporters can hope for is the following possibilities:
• Obama commits a major mistake or there is significant negative revelations about the Democratic candidate
• A massive number of people who are either not currently registered to vote, or registered voters who are not currently likely to vote in November, actually turn out to vote and select Sen. McCain by a substantial margin
• Obama supporters do not turn out for the election because of election fatigue or because they assume he is likely to win and does not need their vote
• Possible racial backlash, as some analysts have suggested, because he is black
• The vice presidential candidates of both presidential nominees sway voters towards McCain
• Independent voters swing towards the Republican candidate
• The eruption of a major national security issue where McCain can claim he has more experience to better handle the related defense and security issues
• Clinton and Obama do not resolve their rivalry, resulting in McCain's gain of former Clinton-backers.
"In order for Sen. McCain to win in November, it seems that several of these factors would have to occur in order to change a sufficient number of votes to the Republican candidate," the Barna study noted.
George Barna, the founder of The Barna Group and the one who conducted the survey, commented that while presidential campaigns have a history of surprises that alter the election outcome, several factors in this year's election caused many Americans to already make up their mind on which candidate they will vote for.
The factors include the race starting "so early" and extensive media coverage.
"Senator McCain has a difficult, uphill battle ahead of him. Running a traditional campaign is not likely to either motivate the unmotivated voters or dislodge the voters already committed to Senator Obama," Barna said. "He will need to bust outside the normal flow of political activity and thought to pull out a victory. Senator Obama needs to remain focused, consistent and steady in order to prevail in November."
The Barna report is based on telephone interviews of a random sample of 1003 adults across the United States, age 18 and older, in May 2008.