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McCain tops Obama among pet owners

July 8, 2008 | 12:49 pm

Mccain_dog

While John McCain and Barack Obama fine-tune their stances and wrestle with issues such as the economy, the Iraq war and immigration, the Arizona senator may have a lead over his opponent in one sizable voting bloc: pet owners.

An Associated Press-Yahoo News poll found pet owners favor McCain over Obama 42% to 37%, with dog owners particularly in McCain's corner.

That may be because McCain is quite the pet owner himself. Pictured above in 2000 with his dog Ginger, McCain has a varied assortment of animals: Sam the English springer spaniel, Coco the mutt, turtles Cuff and Link, Oreo the black-and-white cat, a ferret, three parakeets and saltwater fish.

On the flip side, Obama leads McCain, 48% to 34%, among people who don't own pets. The Illinois senator has no pets, but that could change. Obama has made a campaign promise to his daughters to get them a dog -- reportedly a hypoallergenic goldendoodle -- once the election is over, win or lose.

(The American Kennel Club is asking Americans to vote online for what breed the Obamas should choose. Their finalists: bichon frise, Chinese crested, miniature schnauzer, poodle and soft coated wheaten terrier.)

The poll also shows voters divided by what type of pet they own. Dog owners lean toward McCain, 43% percent to 34%, while cat owners, showing typical feline ambivalence, basically divide their loyalties, with 41% for McCain and 38% for Obama.

So while some are mocking these revelations and speculating as to the true intentions of McCain accumulating a mini-army of creatures over the years, we can't help but make the observation that animal lovers are a pretty big segment of the voting population. Sixty-three percent of American homes have pets, according to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Assn.

So perhaps if Obama wants to up the ante, he might want to surprise his daughters with that dog before the election.

The full breakdown of the poll results are after the jump ...

--Tony Barboza

Photo: Stephan Savoia/Associated Press

  • All pet owners: McCain, 42%; Obama 37%; Nader, 3%; other, 3%; undecided, 14%. Margin of error, plus or minus 2.9 points.
  • Do not own a pet: Obama, 48%; McCain, 34%; Nader, 3%; other, 3%; undecided, 12%. Margin of error, 4.1 points.
  • Dog owners: McCain, 43%; Obama, 34%; Nader, 3%; other, 3%, undecided, 12%. Margin of error, 3.6 points.
  • Cat owners: McCain, 41%; Obama, 38%; Nader, 3%; other, 4%; undecided, 14%. Margin of error 3.9 points.

The population breakdown of who has pets and who doesn't also may be a factor.

For example, the poll found 47% of whites own dogs, compared with 24% of blacks. Whites tend to favor McCain, while blacks overwhelmingly favor Obama.

Some 64% of dog owners are married, slightly higher than the overall population. The poll found 47% of married people own dogs, compared with 39% of single people. Married people tend to favor McCain.

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