Polling tide shifts once more to Obama, as Zogby's trackings show him with expanding leads

As the Republican race is getting slightly more exciting in the run-up to Super Tuesday, I will keep the Democratic and Republican numbers separate in analyzing a large number of new polls.

Democrats: With the release of a worrisome new wave of tracking polls, the tide in good poll news has switched back from Clinton to Obama, with Zogby going as far as suggest as Obama could have a "big night" if this momentum holds up (the Zogby polls were taken Friday to Sunday, making them the most up-to-date, though barely so). But it is worth noting that Mason-Dixon's numbers that were a bit more skeptical of a Clinton decline are supported by other surveys.

First, as always, comes California:

  • Zogby shows Obama expanding his lead, now ahead 46% to 40% against Clinton. He was up 45% to 41% yesterday. And get this, Zogby says that Obama is leading Clinton 49% to 32% on Sunday polling alone (though these small samples have a huge margin of error and often show big fluctuations); but it is undeniable that Obama's surge is being felt.
  • Obama's surge in California -- also underscored by Rasmussen poll hours this afternoon that showed him edging Clinton by a point -- is confirming by a Suffolk poll that has Obama up 40% to 39%.
  • But an ARG survey has Clinton up 47% to 39%. The ARG poll has Clinton ahead 51% to 34% among registered Democrats but trailing 63% to 27% among independents (who only make up 14% of voters in this model).
It is very hard to get a sense of where California is heading, especially when you keep in mind that Obama actually needs to get his voters to the poll whereas Clinton can in all likelihood depend in some sort of lead among early-voters. Remember also that a California victory is mostly meant for spin, and that the real fight will be waged at the district level where Obama could do well by cleaning out the numerous Republican districts that have fewer Democratic voters.

Next comes the all important states of Missouri and New Jersey:

  • Zogby has New Jersey staying in a tie, at 43%, the first survey that has ever shown Clinton not winning in the Garden State. Here again, remember that Zogby is being more optimistic for Obama than other recent polls, whether Mason Dixon or Mormouth University.
  • In Missouri, Obama surges ahead. He was down 1% yesterday, today he is ahead 47% to 42%, underscoring the extent of Obama's last-minute rise.
We end with the South, in Georgia and Tennessee:

  • In Georgia, Zogby shows Obama crushing Clinton 48% to 31%, which is actually a slight improvement for Clinton.
  • Insider Advantage also polled Georgia and found Obama ahead 51% to 36%.

  • In Tennessee, Insider Advantage has Clinton ahead 55% to 35%, a double-digit improvement by Obama in the matter of a few days but he still remains far.
Clinton cannot afford to lose New Jersey, and Missouri should rather be classified as a must-win state for Obama, albeit one in which he trailed for a long time so his surge here is impressive. Meanwhile, Georgia and Tennessee are among the least suspenseful of Super Tuesday, as there is polling consensus about their splitting between Hillary and Barack.

Republicans: Romney's come back is still as improbable, but there are some signs that are pointing to its possibility. First in California, where two new polls have Romney in the lead:

  • Zogby has Romney expanding his California poll, now up 50% to 42% (it was 47-44 yesterday). Romney winning by a substantial margin could mean that he also gets most districts, ensuring he gets a lot more delegates than expected out of Super Tuesday.
  • The ARG poll has Romney edging out McCain 33% to 32%, with Huckabee at 16%.
Essential to Romney's chances is McCain losing Missouri and its winner-take-all 58 delegates. At worse, Romney has to hope that Huckabee can topple McCain here to prevent the Arizona Senator from amassing too many delegates. The latest Zogby poll has McCain up with 35% to 27% for Huckabee and 24% for Romney. Other polls have the race closer.

Zogby also polled the unsuspenseful New York race (53% to 19% McCain) and New Jersey (52% to 26% McCain). Both being winner-take-all, even the proportions the candidates receive do not matter, and we can go straight to the fascinating Southern polls of Insider Advantage.

  • Georgia will be one of the three keys to the GOP contest on Tuesday, along with MO and CA, and Insider Advantage shows a complete toss-up: 30% Romney, 29% McCain, 28% Huckabee. Even a win by one vote gets whoever gets on top 33 statewide winner-take-all delegates. In a poll released on the 31st, it was 35% McCain and 24% each for Huckabee and Romney.

  • In Tennessee, meanwhile, McCain's massive lead a few days ago (33-25 Huckabee-18 Romney) has tightened as well, with McCain up 32% to 30% to Huckabee and 22% for Romney.
The Republican race still unexpectedly holds some suspense, due in large part to Romney's stunning ability to keep California in play. After the rallying of prominent figures to the McCain wagon and the aura of inevitability the campaign acquired, the mere fact that McCain still has to fight for this underscores how much many conservatives mistrust the Arizona Senator.

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  • Zogby NH Obama up 42-39. I think that says it all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 04 February, 2008 06:41  

  • It doesnt say any thing - because 4 points is within the poll's margin of error. Also, the 'crying game' in NH lead to a shift in momemntum in the last minute - most polls are a 1-2 day lagging indicator of the actual vote. I think the margin will only widen in the favor of Obama given that the momentum has been with him for the last few days - unless we see some other new tactics from the Clinton camp.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 04 February, 2008 06:52  

  • "But an ARG survey has Clinton up 47% to 39%. The ARG poll has Clinton ahead 51% to 34% among independents bu trailing 63% to 27% among independents (who only make up 14% of voters in this model)."

    This statement makes no sense to me. How can you be ahead among independents and trailing independents at the same time?

    By Anonymous Southern Slav, At 04 February, 2008 07:21  

  • He meant to say 51 to 34 among democrats. Still the voting pools are small and this close they don't mean much. Hillary never cried,only showed a little bit of emotion and it had virtually no effect on the race. That argument for ridiculously wrong polling numbers doesn't fly. The real key here is youth turn-out and whether they come out for Obama or just blow it off. CNN quoted polls this morning and I noticed that significant percentage of their pool was non-voters. What's with that? Don't we want to know what voters are thinking?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 04 February, 2008 09:43  

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    By Anonymous jacksmith, At 04 February, 2008 22:13  

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