Catholic and blue-collar turnout: Two PA polls show Clinton narrowly leading, with more potential to expand

With Pennsylvania polls showing all kinds of trends and results over the past week, the similarities between today's Mason-Dixon/McClatchy and Zogby polls are striking:

  • Zogby's tracking poll shows Clinton narrowly ahead, 46% to 43% -- a slight improvement for Obama who led 46% to 44% in the Saturday subsample alone (naturally, any subsample has a large margin of error).
  • Meanwhile, the McClatchy poll shows Clinton leading 48% to 43%. Obama gets 83% of the black vote, but only 33% of the white vote.
Both institutes, however, point out that undecided voters or those who are unsure about whether they will go to the poll are more likely to break in Clinton's favor, implying that Hillary has a larger potential than Obama to move numbers in her favor. Zogby, first, points that the largest number of undecideds are whites and more precisely Catholics. Since Catholics break very heavily in Clinton's favor, Zogby concludes that, if the more undecided voters go to the polls on Tuesday the better Clinton will fare.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd offers a very similar analysis of the McClatchy poll. He notes that one of the highest proportion of undecideds is found in the rural areas of the state, especially in the "T" region of the state, and those are among Clinton's strongest areas. Overall, Todd implies that more blue-collar voters are suggesting that they are unsure of what they will do, and that obviously leaves more potential for Clinton than for Obama. Todd concludes that, "The clues inside the numbers indicate this is her race to lose and that her lead could expand."

Simply put, then, Zogby and Mason-Dixon find that there is a question mark about the turnout in rural areas, among blue-collar Democrats and among Catholics; the higher that turnout is, the better for Clinton. In a way, this is reassuring for Clinton, implying that it will be harder for Obama to climb into a lead on Tuesday since it appears that he has reached his full potential among his core constituencies.

Yet, it is also a clear sign that Clinton's electoral coalition is eroding, with some of the groups that have been solidly behind her since the first contest in January threatening to stay home and showing signs of tepidity. For much of the past 3 months, Obama and Clinton's base have been remarkably solid and equally enthusiastic -- which is what has created the impasse the Democratic Party finds itself in.

That Clinton's constituencies are now looking to be less enthusiastic and wavering is thus very significant. But it is not necessarily very surprising: Obama is very close to clinching the nomination, and the general election campaign between him and McCain has in many ways already started. Meanwhile, Clinton has to justify her continued presence in the race. It is thus not surprising that many of her supporters are not as committed to her campaign as they would have been if the race had been tighter; many are perhaps reluctant to support her if it could mean prolonging the campaign.

The fact that those groups of voters are taking refuge in the "undecided" column and in absenteeism rather than migrate to Obama, however, does suggest that the Illinois Senator will have to fight for their vote in the general election. Zogby notes that these groups of voters also contain the highest number of Democrats who say they will vote for McCain in the general election.



  • Just was reading about Nash McCabe, the flag pin lady, seems she's unemployed and a husband with serious health issues and she's worried about Obama's jewellery!! These are exactly the folks Obama was talking about in his "Bittergate" How do you reach them? You don't, most are ignorant "Reagan Democrat" racists who will give PA to Hillary.(just like Ohio)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 15:15  

  • p.s. don't mean to be insulting, but "ignorant" is about the only way to describe them. Uneducated sounds like they missed the opportunity, but they didn't, they didn't (don't) even try. I know, they are my neighbors.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 15:20  

  • The race card to explain Obama's peak? Sounds pretty bitter to me. Obama can't fight for voters he's insulting and turning off. They're gone. At least McCabe can spell "jewelry" correctly. The argument for ending social promotion in our schools and remedial english and math in colleges can be strengthened by these posts' illustration of just what kind of "educated" people are supporting Obama.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 15:23  

  • The peak in Obama's trajectory has passed and with each passing day of the electorate's exposure to him, he can only lose support. The nastiness of his followers is bound to ruin any chances of his survival through the GE. If he manages to squeak out a tiny victory in the primary, all McCain has to do is wait while Obama's own base turns rabid. Forget education or ignorance, IQ is where it's at. That MBA that Bush has from Harvard really helped our economy hasn't it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 15:47  

  • And you mean McCain's base is not rabid whoever is the Dem nominee?? Get real ,if Clinton is the nominee the GOP base will salivate and if Obama is the nominee it will be dirty too.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 16:09  

  • Without the evangelicals, McCain's base is going to seem pretty tame. You get more flies with honey than vinegar. Now matter how badly she attacks, the smile is still big and wide. Barack still makes faces. He's learning. McCain's temper will be his Achille's Heel. Barack's nastiness is his. Smiling through that excrement sandwich is the toughest duty of a politician.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 16:50  

  • Barack hasn't exhibited nastiness. Maybe some of his supporters but not him. I agree you have to be able to smile through anything.
    Evangelicals will rally to McCain since they are a large proportion of the GOP party.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 20 April, 2008 17:00  

  • To commenter one,

    Sam Donaldson said it perfectly today in This Week: you feel you and your favotite candidate have a sense of entitlement to the presidency. Thus, anyone who doesn't vote for you is either uneducated or ignorant. This was vivid in Obama's behavior in the debate and also the day after that in NC, when he contemptuously brushed his shoulder off.

    By the way Taniel, Clinton is up 13in the new ARG poll. The percentage of the undecided in their poll is 4.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 17:32  

  • Holding their noses and pulling the lever still doesn't come up to the level of "rally" imho. Barack's nastiness isn't something his supporters notice. As someone who needs to be convinced by both Hill and Barack, I see the nastiness as well as the sugar-coated Hill barbs. The Democrats I talk to see Barack as the nasty one. The Obama supporters I talk to all see him as infallible. That kind of adoration and blindness borders on cultism. I think you can check this board to see that Obamans can't ever accept constructive criticism. "Barack hasn't exhibited nastiness" is a perfect example.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 17:43  

  • I'm not differentiating between Obamans and Democrats, it's just that I don't know any Democrats supporting him, only independents and pugs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 17:46  

  • I remember when I occasionally got some insight from comments on this site.

    It might help to try to stick to the subject of the blog post rather than engage in Clinton-Obama-McCain assertions with little research to back them up. Most of the above comments come off as venting and won't change anyone's mind.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 20 April, 2008 18:09  

  • New Zogby Poll:

    UTICA, New York – The final weekend before tomorrow’s important primary election in
    Pennsylvania was good for New York’s Hillary Clinton, as she made a definitive move toward
    victory over rival Illinois’ Barack Obama, a fresh Newsmax/Zogby daily telephone tracking poll shows.
    She gained two points over the past 24 hours as Obama lost one point, and she now leads
    48% to 42%, the latest polling shows. Meanwhile, the undecideds dropped by two points. Her edge
    was three points yesterday but had wobbled within a tight margin. Clinton’s advantage is still
    within the margin of error, but she is close to getting beyond it as Election Day looms.

    Pollster John Zogby: “A big one-day of polling for Clinton. If a 10-point victory is the
    pundit-driven threshold she needs on Tuesday, it looks like she can do it. This does not look like a
    one-day anomaly – undecideds dropped to only 5% in this latest single day of polling, and they are
    breaking Clinton’s way. As I suggested yesterday, if white and Catholic voters, who still are the
    biggest portion of undecideds, actually vote, Clinton will have her double-digit victory. Just today
    alone, she polled 53% to Obama’s 38%


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 18:20  

  • Some people on here may know of no Democrats supporting Obama. That is bound to happen when 50%(ish) support Hillary. However Amongst Democrats Obama leads in national polls. In PA which is a closed primary (only registered Democrats can vote) he has at least 40% of the vote - so some Democrats are planning on voting for him.
    With regards to nastiness - in the heat of "battle" we can feel aggrieved by the other candidate and their supporters. However in exit polls taken in every state that has voted so far when asked more people thought (rightly or wrongly) that the Clinton campaign had been more negative than the Obama campaign. I am not saying they are right or wrong ,but that is fact.

    By Anonymous Tom, At 20 April, 2008 18:44  

  • A lot of Obama supporters are going to be shocked when he does not get the Democrat nomination, if Obama loses Pennsylvania and Indiana, his campaign is toast. Too many Obama supporters are nothing more than TV watching lemmings.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 18:48  

  • According to Zogby apparently only 38% today. A downward trajectory like this and a 65%/35% in favor of Hillary from here on out is quite possible.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 19:07  

  • Obama is yesterday's news. I'm black, and this is the best thing that ever happened to the black race. Blacks would be stereotyped by Obama's failed leadership. I was at first a big Obama supporter, then I realized that he's not really saying anything.

    I encourage everyone to vote for Clinton. She and Bill care for everybody, even the republicans in the world. Obama? Just words....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 19:27  

  • Obama---punish the corporations for making money.

    Ever wonder why only Southerners can win the General Election for the Dems?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 19:32  

  • I thought Edwards was the most electable choice. A smart,good looking,white southern boy seemed to be the ticket.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 19:39  

  • None of Hillary's supporters have become less enthusiastic. You should wait to make those comments until after the primary. I think you'll be suprised.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 19:54  

  • Pollster John Zogby: “A big one-day of polling for Clinton. If a 10-point victory is the pundit-driven threshold she needs on Tuesday, it looks like she can do it.

    Not quite sure why that's the threshold for the long term if a 10% margin only gets her to 55% of the vote, and she needs 65% of the entire vote the rest of the way out to match Obama's pledged delegate lead. Perhaps it's the threshold for superdelegates to wait at least two more weeks to see what happens in NC/IN.

    As for the trend lines, picking up or dropping a point or two is within every survey's margin of error. So perhaps the movement is significant--but perhaps not.

    We can pontificate as much as we want, but I don't think there's much more to say. Seems to me that we're at the limit of the math at this point, and we'll just have to wait for the results.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 20 April, 2008 23:46  

  • If Obama does not get the nomination, look for half of his supporters to stay home in November. Yeah, that will really help Hillary be President.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 20 April, 2008 23:49  

  • Anon. 15:23 First "jewellry" is acceptable spelling. 2nd, How do you know McCabe can spell? Perhaps I'm not the one who needs remedial education.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 06:47  

  • nothing bitter about pointing out racsism still exsists.The media and almost no one else seems willing to state the fact that Obama can't get some (many?) white votes because of race.Period.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 06:52  

  • Obamanites always try to use the race card and blame the white man when they can't get their way. Obama has never said anything to his followers for these tactics.

    He's "Just words.........."

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 06:56  

  • Anon. 17:32 I don't believe anyone is "entitled" to anything.And it's not just my personal observation, but every poll I've seen shows that the less education you have the more likely you'll vote for Hillary.Argue with the pollsters. Lastly I took Obama's "brush-off" as sarcasm, not contempt.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 07:10  

  • Obama doesn't like poor white people because he can't relate to them.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 07:12  

  • anon7:12 could be,could be, who knows?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 07:31  

  • 6:47-"Jewellery" is an British spelling. "jewellry" is not an accepted spelling. You are in need of remedial english. If 15:15 is a British national, then he has no business discussing this anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 08:08  

  • Racism is Obama's greatest strength. Not a vote getter.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 08:12  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home