Monday polls: Are tomorrow's contests more suspensful on the GOP side than the Democratic?

Barack Obama and John McCain are expected to post some big victories tomorrow, according to most polls that have been released and to even a quick look of Virginia and Maryland's demographics. A wave of polls today does very little to dispel the conventional wisdom, though it is interesting that the GOP primary is now emerging as a bit more suspensful. Let's look at the polls, first from tomorrow's largest prize of Virginia:

  • SUSA shows Mike Huckabee gaining on McCain, trailing 48% to 37%. That's a 19% improvement for Huck since 3 days ago -- the previous poll was taken immediately after Super Tuesday.
  • In the Democratic race, Hillary Clinton appears ready to sink in yet another Southern state, trailing 40% to 38%.
  • ARG has similar numbers, showing Obama up 56% to 38%. Interestingly, the two are within a few points in the 70% of registered Democrats, and Obama is creating this margin solely among independents.
  • Among Republicans, ARG shows McCain up comfortably, 54% to 32%.

  • Finally, a Mason-Dixon poll has Obama leading 53% to 37%. Among Republicans, it's 55-27 (though this poll was in the field at the same time as the first SUSA survey, the one that had McCain up 30%. So if Huckabee is indeed surging among Virginia conservatives, this poll would not pick it up).
The numbers in Maryland are very much in line with Virginia's:

  • Among Democrats, Mason-Dixon has Obama leading 53% to 35%, ARG shows 55% to 37% and SUSA has it at 55% to 32%.
  • McCain is up 54% to 23% in Mason-Dixon, 50% to 25% in ARG and 52% to 26% in SUSA.
Clinton does get some good news in a poll from Rhode Island, which votes on the now all important March 4th. She is up 36% to 28% against Obama, and she obviously would love to counter Obama's February sweep with a March 4th sweep of her own (we are very far from discussing that, obviously). The poll also throws in general election questions, and both Democrats beat John McCain by low double digits in this very blue state.

The reason the GOP primary tomorrow is so important is that it could very well mark the end of Huckabee's resistance. McCain's problem appears to be that he is unable to win over conservative voters, and Huckabee won most of the Southern states of Super Tuesday and Louisiana on Saturday. If McCain crushes Huckabee tomorrow night (say by 20% or so) it is hard to see how Huckabee can justify his going forward if he has been trounced so decisively on his own turf (there are many reasons why Virginia is not exaclty Huckabee's home turf, as the demographics of the state allow McCain to win without relying on the staunchly conservative vote, but Huckabee does at some point have to enlarge his base a bit if he wants to extend this).

On the other hand, if this week-end's contests have given renewed hope to McCain's detractors that the front-runner is not necessarily a done deal, Huckabee could make this close by benefiting from a big conservative turnout. Without really threatening McCain's dominant position, that would be one more embarassing loss for the Arizona Senator that would force him to court the Right even more zealously.

In the Democratic race, the situation is very simple: Hillary Clinton can afford to lose, but she cannot afford to lose by these margins nor give up that many delegates for the 3rd election day in a row. She is starting to fall back rapidly in the delegate count. Her victories have tended to be more limited in size, as even a 10% California victory is not helping her as much as Obama's 30% wins in Minnesota or Washington (though it appears that Puerto Rico could very well make or break either candidate in June, as the tradition of that contest is to award all 63 delegates at once... That could get them into trouble with the DNC, by the way, so this is another story line to follow).

Meanwhile, USA Today Gallup and the AP have two general election polls out, both showing Obama running narrowly better than Clinton against McCain:

  • USA/Today has Obama leading McCain 50% to 46%, while McCain edges out Clinton 49% to 48%.
  • AP has Obama up McCain 48% to 42%, and Clinton edging him 46% to 45%.
My most recent discussion of electability is here. There are also national primary numbers, though these are really not very useful anymore; for all it's worth the AP has Clinton up 46-41 (though most media outlets are reporting this wrong with Obama up, the AP is now correcting itself and has Clinton up) and Gallup has Obama leading 47% to 44%. The

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home