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In Massachusetts, the presidential race has taken a surprising turn.
This week, a Suffolk University poll reveals that Republican candidate John McCain now leads his Democratic rival Barack Obama among Bay State men by a margin of six points.
WBUR's Fred Thys canvassed opinion among male voters in Boston to find out why.
TEXT OF STORY:
FRED THYS: First, the context: this is still a safe state for Democratic presidential candidates. The Suffolk University poll shows that overall, Barack Obama leads John McCain by 9 points.
But among Massachusetts men, McCain is now the favorite. John McWeeney, from Walpole, works for an industrial automation company. During the lunch hour yesterday, he was walking by Faneuil Hall.
JOHN McWEENEY: I guess there's too many negatives about Obama that have me too afraid of him becoming president. I have a feeling he's... he's catering to a white guy like me, all right. I'm not trying to be racial here, but...and I just think that when he gets in office, he'd do a complete flip. So false pretenses, I guess, is what I'm afraid of.
THYS: There's also the experience factor. Joe De Nicola, a financial adviser from Hanover, a conservative Republican, says he's concerned about the fact that Obama has only been in the Senate for three years.
JOE DE NICOLA: He's developing his policy as he goes along. You just can't do that. Granted, I don't agree with a lot of what McCain says, but this is not a job where you can just walk into. Experience does matter. Personally, I think if it was any other election cycle, McCain would not win, but I think the Democrats really made a mistake in bringing this candidate through.
THYS: Shortly after 5 PM, Brian Moore a computer programmer from Stoughton, was walking near South Station. He's also a Republican, but he says he doesn't vote strictly along party lines. Still, this time, he's sticking with McCain.
BRIAN MOORE: National security is very important. I trust his record better than Barack Obama.
THYS: David Paleologos, who conducted the Suffolk University survey, says in some sense, it's not a surprise that Massachusetts men favor McCain.
DAVID PALEOLOGOS: Historically, male voters tend to be more conservative, concerned more about pocketbook issues that women, who are mostly concerned about health care and education.
THYS: Still, Paleologos says he is surprised by the dramatic shift in support towards McCain over the past two months. In June, Obama led McCain by 22 points among men. Paleologos says he doesn't know why Obama has lost support so dramatically since then.
The poll didn't include questions about why people are for one candidate or the other, because Paleologos expected that Obama would continue to walk away with public opinion here.
One thing Paleologos did ask voters is whether Obama's trip to Europe made him seem "arrogant," and he says, people answered overwhelmingly that they saw the trip as a positive for Obama, so that's not what turned men against him.
For WBUR, I'm Fred Thys.
This program aired on August 6, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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