Media Contact:Stu Vincent
Phone: (516) 463-6493
Fax: (516) 463-5146
Send an E-mail
Date: Sep 29, 2008
National Center for Suburban Studies Releases Results of Only 2008 Presidential Poll to Focus Exclusively on Suburban Voters
Suburbanites hard hit by job losses, foreclosures and energy pricesHofstra University, Hempstead, NY – America's suburban voters regard the economy as the most important issue in the 2008 presidential campaign and report overwhelmingly that they or someone they know has been affected by high energy prices and job and benefit cuts, according to the nation’s only 2008 presidential poll to focus exclusively on suburban voters.
The National Suburban Poll, conducted for The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University® by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, also found that suburban supporters of both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain are unhappy with the direction of the country, with Obama supporters much more dissatisfied. Supporters of the two candidates differ sharply on the war in Iraq, with 77 percent of McCain supporters favoring keeping troops there and 74 percent of Obama supporters in favor of withdrawing the troops.
NCSS Executive Director Lawrence Levy released the poll results at a press conference on Monday, September 29, 2008 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. along with Robert Lang, Ph.D., director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech; Evans Witt, chief executive officer of Princeton Survey Research Associates International; and Christopher Niedt, Ph.D., NCSS academic director. The poll also found:
• McCain's strength in the suburbs, where he leads Obama 48 to 42 percent, comes more from affluent voters than from white working class voters considered to be one of his strengths.
• Married registered voters in the suburbs and those with children – the so-called "soccer moms and dads" – back McCain, while Obama holds an edge among unmarried suburban voters.
• McCain leads among suburban men 51 percent to 40 percent, while women in the suburbs split evenly at 45 percent for each candidate.
Dr. Niedt said the economic crisis has hit suburban voters hard. "We often think of the suburbs as being insulated from economic hardship, but a large proportion of our respondents have lost a job or know someone who has," he said. "More than a third feel like they are living from paycheck to paycheck most or all of the time."
Mr. Levy said the poll highlighted the voting preferences of one of the most important blocs of voters in the nation. "Suburban voters have decided not only the victors of the last five presidential contests but control of Congress and state houses," said Mr. Levy. "These voters tend to be more ideologically moderate than the typical voter. They aren't owned by any political party and now there are more voters in suburbia than any where else in the country."
The National Suburban Poll was based on telephone interviews in English with 1,526 adults age 18 and older living in the continental United States. The interviews were conducted from Sept. 15-21, 2008. The survey over-sampled adults living in suburban areas of the country, completing interviews with 1,033 adults in the suburbs. This over-sampling allowed a strong focus on the attitudes of suburbanites, while also allowing comparisons with those who live in the nation’s cities and rural areas.
"Hofstra’s first National Suburban Poll allows us to integrate two of our academic strengths – presidential studies and suburban studies – on a national scale during an exciting and close presidential race just weeks before we host the third and final presidential debate on October 15," said Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz.
Mr. Levy said that while suburbanites once voted strongly for Republicans, today their preferences are shifting. "The change has been driven both by shifting demographics and political preferences. They tend to be socially liberal, fiscally conservative and averse to extremism from the right or the left."
The National Suburban Poll is part of Hofstra’s Educate '08, an unprecedented series of lectures, conferences, artistic performances and exhibitions, town hall meetings, interactive forums and other initiatives leading up to the third and final presidential debate at Hofstra on October 15. The series is focused on the issues, history and politics of presidential elections. Find out more about Educate '08 by visiting www.hofstra.edu/educate08
The National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University® is a non-partisan research institution dedicated to promoting objective, academically rigorous study of suburbia's problems, as well as its promise. Rooted in the laboratory of Long Island’s diverse and aging suburbs, almost literally in the shadows of the iconic Levittown, the National Center will study a broad range of issues from local and national perspectives and, whenever possible, collaborate with researchers at other respected institutions.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from more than 140 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied human services, and honors studies, and a School of Law.