PRINCETON, N.J. -- The vast majority of U.S. voters have remained consistent in their voting preferences between 2008 and 2012, whether they voted for Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain last time, according to a new survey by the Gallup polling organization. But loyalty to President Obama is slightly less than loyalty to Republican candidates McCain four years ago and Mitt Romney in 2012, resulting in a more competitive race at this point, Gallup found.
Eighty-six percent of voters who say they voted for Obama in 2008 are backing him again this year, a smaller proportion than the 92 percent of 2008 McCain voters who are supporting Romney today. Nine percent of 2008 Obama voters have switched to supporting Romney this year, while 5 percent of McCain voters have switched to Obama.
Among those who say they voted for either Obama or McCain in 2008, 89 percent are supporting the same party's candidate in 2012, leaving 11 percent who are either supporting the other party's candidate (7 percent) or are undecided (4 percent). The 11 percent of 2008 Obama or McCain voters who have switched to supporting the other party's candidate or are undecided at this point is not a relatively large group, but it could potentially be persuaded between now and Election Day, and thus could be crucial in deciding the outcome, Gallup concluded.
The results are from the group’s daily tracking poll, conducted July 23-29, with more than 2,000 registered voters who reported voting in the 2008 election.