A bad polling day for Clinton

It is ironic that, on a day in which most state polls look bad for Hillary Clinton, the most talked about survey is Gallup's tracking poll. After 11 days by a statistically significant margin, Hillary Clinton has moved within the margin of error, 47%to 44%. That's a 4% improvement since yesterday and a 7% improvement in the past 3 days -- implying the movement started before the ABC debate.

If this movement is confirmed in the coming days and if the debate is found to move numbers towards Clinton, it would naturally be a significant development. But the most important polls released today suggest that Clinton is declining. A Newsweek survey shows Obama gaining a tremendous amount of ground in the past month, now coming in 19% ahead of his rival, 54% to 35%. If a few more polls confirm the existence of this massive a gap, it will be increasingly difficult for Clinton to hold off the superdelegate flight.

But it is the three polls from the upcoming primaries that are the most threatening to her survival past Tuesday and past May 6th:

  • A Rasmussen poll of Pennsylvania, taken entirely yesterday, shows Clinton leading by a tight 47% to 44%. In the previous Rasmussen poll, released on Monday, Clinton was up by 9%.
  • Zogby's tracking Pennsylvania tracking poll, meanwhile, shows Clinton leading by a narrow 47% to 43%. Yesterday, she was only ahead 45% to 44%, so today's numbers are a slight post-debate improvement. Zogby adds, however, that "22% of Catholic Democrats and 18% of white Democrats choose McCain against Obama."
  • Meanwhile, the most surprising poll comes from Indiana: At the beginning of the week, SUSA found Clinton leading by 16%. Today, a new SUSA poll (conducted entirely before the debate) finds Obama ahead by 5%, 50% to 45%.
  • The two SUSA polls were not conducted with the same turnout model or for the same outlet; so the two surveys are not directly comparable. However, the poll is clearly bad news for Hillary; the LA Time's poll a few days ago also showed Obama ahead by 5%.
There have been two movements in Pennsylvania polls. First, Obama picked up ground and threatened Clinton's dominance; then, Clinton managed to rebound and create some space. Polls today and yesterday suggest that the electorate is very volatile right now and most anything could happen on Tuesday.

Complicating matters for Clinton is that she will have to immediately work to survive May 6th if she gets past April 22nd. North Carolina has been a lost cause for a while, but it looked like Indiana held premise for Hillary -- the LA Times and latest SUSA poll indicate that Clinton will not have an easy time ensuring solid results in three weeks.

Finally, we also got interesting general election polls results today:

  • Newsweek's national poll shows both Democrats ahead of McCain by the same narrow margin, 48% to 44% for Obama and 47% to 43% for Clinton.
  • In Indiana, SUSA also conducted a general election poll and found a much tighter contest than what we have been accustomed to in the state: McCain leads Obama 51% to 44%. He is ahead of Clinton 53% to 42%. Bush got 60% and 57% in 2000 and 2004.
  • In Washington, SUSA (again) found both Democrats leading McCain by differing margins: Obama leads 53% to 40%, while Clinton is ahead 48% to 45%. There is a huge difference among independents: Clinton loses them by 3%, Obama wins by 21%.
  • In Colorado, meanwhile, Obama leads 46% to 43% against McCain; Clinton is trounced 50% to 46%.
  • Finally, a Quinnipiac poll of New York shows McCain too close for comfort (just as yesterday's poll from SUSA) with Clinton ahead 49% to 37% despite only getting 65% of the black vote; Obama is held in single-digits, 47% to 39%.
One of the most consistent electability results is that Obama is much stronger than Clinton among independents out West -- Oregon, Washington and Colorado have consistently shown Clinton faring much worse than Obama. In fact, Colorado is one of the first states the Obama campaign they can take away from the Republican column; it is at the top of Obama's "alternative electoral map" that does not go through states like Ohio and Florida. On the other hand, Obama is more in danger in some of the bluest states, with SUSA yesterday showing him leading in single-digits in CA, NY and MA -- a dangerous finding confirmed by today's Quinnipiac poll.

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  • To take Newsweek seriously you'd have to give Hillary that previously high 20 point lead in Pa. They both seem to be way outside the range.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 18 April, 2008 17:41  

  • Can't wait for an UPSET on Tuesday! Go Obama!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 18 April, 2008 17:54  

  • SUSA has a good reputation so I am surprised to see the huge swing in IN - more like a PPP poll! I am an Obama supporter so even though all other polls show a single digit win for Clinton I was still concerned because SUSA showed 14-15%. Will be interesting to see their poll next Monday/Tuesday as well as the others.
    It would be good to know the relative accuracy of the major companies.

    By Anonymous Guy, At 18 April, 2008 18:15  

  • The IN GE poll at least shows that whomever wins the primary will not win in the GE - a typical Hillary comment put to rest.

    The state polls do continue to show that Obama expands the field. He also protects weakly held states like WA, OR and WI. It is inconceivable that MA or CA would vote for McCain over Obama but not do the same if the Dems choose Clinton.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 18 April, 2008 18:17  

  • I could understand a few light blue states like New Jersey going for McCain (NJ voters probably hate politicans more than in any other state and most of the politicans in NJ are Democrats) or maybe Oregan and Washington State. CA, NY and MA however are some of the bluest states in the country, and only if the nomination made it all the way to the convention and Hillary still making noise would Clinton supporters in these states vote for McCain just out of spite for Barack.

    The important thing in the GE will be issues, and McCain, among Democrats at least is very unappealing issuewise including his continued support for the Iraq war, and his very weak economic deals. If the nomination ends by or before July 1st like how Dean prefers it, then that will be enough time for working class dems to seriously think of what they would be getting if they helped put another GOP in the white house. If it becomes mostly about character than issues (based on a politico article I read) then its much more even ground, or even advantage for McCain.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 18 April, 2008 23:53  

  • Chris Matthews is of the opinion that what happened in OH will happen in PA: that some people who are telling pollsters that they're voting for Obama will end up voting for Clinton, and/or the undecideds will break decisively for Clinton, so Clinton's margin will be larger than the polling presently indicates.

    I don't think he's right, but I have no better basis to say that that what he says, so I wouldn't rule out the chance of a substantial (10-12%) Clinton win next week. My admitted guess is that Matthews is wrong, but even if he's right I doubt that the margin will be big enough to be much of a help; as other posters have pointed out, she needs 65% the rest of the way to match Obama in pledged delegates, and I don't think even her best-case scenarios have her getting above the upper 50s in PA.

    But it's all speculation; that's why we have elections. Just have to wait and see at this point.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 19 April, 2008 00:57  

  • To anonymous 17:54

    I can't wait for pigs to fly either.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 April, 2008 01:40  

  • There is very little chance that Obama will get an upset in PA. His bitter gaffe may not have caused him to lose most of his support, but I reckon it made soft Clinton supporters into hardcore Clinton supporters.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 19 April, 2008 07:46  

  • Democrats want a flagbearer that doesn't fold like a lawn chair. We're being very patient with Barack but if he can't stand up and deliver without a crowd of adoring fans behind him, we're not pullimg the lever for him. If Hillary isn't the nominee, it won't be spite,it will be realism. Barack's spinelessness will do more damage than good. We can accomplish more with a weak republican and strong majority in congress.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 April, 2008 08:19  

  • Gallup now has Hillary ahead of Obama by a point again. Sundays seem to be repeating. Last Sunday Rasmussen had the same.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 April, 2008 16:41  

  • ever notice it is nearly impossible to tell any difference between pro Republican posts and pro-Hillary posts. Hillary is definitely Bush-lite.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 19 April, 2008 19:05  

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