4.01.2008

Clinton crushes Obama in KY, but her PA lead shrinks in 2 polls

Many of the upcoming primary states have never been polled, so Survey USA's decision to release a poll from Kentucky last night was particularly exciting:

  • It shows Hillary Clinton crushing Barack Obama 58% to 29%. Obama only gets 23% of the white vote, and is trounced by 37% among women.
Clearly, put Kentucky in with the states Clinton is favored to win -- but the primary is not until May 17th, the same day as Oregon. It is unclear, therefore, if Clinton will ever have a chance of winning Kentucky, or whether the results in Pennsylvania, Indiana and North Carolina will force her out before May 17th.

The latest Pennsylvania poll from Rasmussen is not reassuring for the Clinton campaign, as it shows Hillary's number falling dangerously quickly and getting to what I believe is the smallest margin we have seen yet in any Pennsylvania poll:

  • Clinton is up 47% to 42%; she was up 10% last week and 13% two weeks ago.
Obama's fundraising edge is allowing him to outspend Clinton on Pennsylvania television, which will help him keep the gap close. But the Rasmussen poll clearly identifies another factor in Hillary's decline and notes that the Wright controversy has been replaced with another scandal, this one hurting Clinton, as the story on Bosnia misstatements seems to have touched a nerve: 47% of voters say they have followed the story "very closely," and 27% said "somewhat closely."

We will naturally need confirmation of this poll before concluding that Clinton is in danger in Pennsylvania. The last non-Rasmussen poll still showed her up in double-digits late last week. But keep in mind that it is not just a defeat here that would pretty much end her run: Clinton needs to score a major coup (as big if not bigger than in Ohio) to generate momentum and produce doubts about Obama's capacity to close it off. She particularly needs to trounce him among blue-collar voters to have more support for her argument that Obama cannot win that group. A 5% victory will not get that job done, at all.

Meanwhile, a very interesting polling story form Pollster.com's Mark Blumenthal, who produced an analysis of the Rasmussen and Gallup tracking poll patterns, explaining that Obama consistently goes up in the weekdays in the former and in the weekends in the later. In other words, Blumenthal concludes, the polling methodology of both groups makes the results dependent on the days of the week the polls are taken in (which is a somewhat well known phenomenon, since the sociology of people who pick up the phone changes on Saturday or Sunday).

The conclusion of this is that attempts to use the Gallup and Rasmussen polls to draw daily conclusions about the evolution of the race is not appropriate, contrary to the way they are typically being used. (Note that I rarely reported these tracking polls anyhow, finding them only interesting when broad trends were being revealed, such as Obama's significant 10-day decline after Wright).

Update: We did not have to wait for long to get another Pennsylvania poll, this one from Survey USA:

  • Hillary Clinton is leading 53% to 41%, a clearly more satisfying lead than the one she has in Rasmussen.
  • But this poll too shows Obama picking up a lot of ground from SUSA's previous poll released 3 weeks ago; he then trailed by 19%.
This complicates the picture since Clinton has a satisfying lead but is declining. Interestingly, the female vote stayed almost exactly the same and it is the switch of the male vote that allowed Obama to pick up ground. Also, the white vote did not move (Clinton gets 62%) but Obama extended his margin among blacks by 12%.

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11 Comments:

  • Very interesting, of course we need to wait to see if a <10% lead for Clinton is replicated in other polls. She really needs to win by 15% plus (ie above her Ohio victory) to get any momentum. PA is very friendly territory for her, with an older, whiter and slightly poorer electorate than Ohio and she has the enthusiastic support of the Governor.

    Maybe Obama's 6 day bus tour through the state and Casey's endorsement are having a positive effect for him.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 April, 2008 11:58  

  • Folks, it has to be much bigger than just a 10% lead in PA (which constitutes a major landslide in and of itself).

    HRC must win over 65% in all ten of these last contests, in EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM, in order to pull just 4 pledged delegates ahead of Barack Obama.

    I have worked these numbers just dozens of times, they are here on my blog. Take a look for yourself. Even under the best possible circumstances for her and the leanest possible wins for him where we know he will win, she mathematically cannot do IT.

    If the ten contests (or actually, nine: Guam has only 4 PDs and go get anything other than a tie, you need 75% there to get 3 PDs) go as conventional thinking leads us to believe, namely that Clinton will win 4 with landslides (PA, KY, WV, PR), Obama will win 4 with landslides (NC, OR, MT, SD) and it is a squeaker for either/or in IN, then even if the delegates from MI and FL are seated, Clinton is still trailing in the PDs.

    Now, this is what irks the hell out of me. Mathematically, Clinton has no chance in hell of taking over the lead in the PDS. Obama is closing the gap in SD's with every passing day. If those states goes as I suspect they will, then he will also still be ahead in the PV, but at least 200,000 votes, even not counting those many, many extrapolated PVs from caucus states that have not published PV totals.

    At least the GOP candidates who cleared the field for McCain had enough sense to know when to throw in the towel and support the front runner. At the point where it is mathematically impossible to clinch the nomination without swinging a disproportionate amount of SD's to your side and therefore undermining the will of people in 48 states, the District of Columbia, 3 Territories and the DEMS abroad - in this moment, you are no longer thinking about the good of your party. In this moment you are only thinking of yourself. In this moment, your ego is telling you that it is better to burn the party down to the ground than to lose a nomination.

    And believe me, if the places were changed and Obama was trailing and still hanging on in a sort of scorched earth policy, I would be writing the same message here.

    Clinton should have gotten out after March 4th, at the latest, after MI and WY. Knowing what a bitterly divided electorate we have and how nasty GE campaigns can be, I find it repugnant of her that she is staying in, knowing that all this does is to weaken Obama for the GE in the fall.

    I was a Clinton supporter in the 90s. I was a HRC supporter until after Super Tuesday. Since then, I never want to hear the name "Clinton" again.

    And I am one of those blue-dog democrats that the DEMS need so badly in every election.

    By Blogger Mark, At 01 April, 2008 12:48  

  • Bravo mark, thank you for dazzling us with your brilliance! Now we don’t’t have to vote or actually make a decision because….well because you figured it all out for us! So is not just the punditry, but now every Joe and Jack feel entitle to put us in our place. Personally, I would be disappointed if Hillary quits. That is what a a spineless loser wold do. Oh hold on, Mark is worried that Hillary is being mean to Barack. He is running for…prom king? Oh no, those republicans are so mean. They are hurting Barack! Pleaseeeeeee. Spare me. I am so sick and tire of the Obamabots bellyaching every time the messiah is attacked. Well I have news for you. The republicans will attack him. They will bring every detail of his life back for all of us to see and enjoy. They will attack him for his race, for his choice of friends, for everything he has ever said, for his positions on issues real or imaginary, for his inexperience, for not being patriotic enough, for not being Christian enough, for being Muslim even when he is not, and then, attack him some more. And in November, after months of unrelenting, and often unfair attack, Osama Bin Laden will release one of his typical videos congratulation “his fellow Muslim” on his impending election to the presidency! You have seen nothing yet. What irritates me so much is that this is the same thing that has happened to the Clintons, not because they have sought is, but simply because that is how the right fights! And to have the nitwit liberal nincompoops like you use the same tactics again Hillary is grating and offensive beyond believe. Enjoy Mark, and when Obama is at 38% and dropping in November, and the house majority is in peril, well, what I would like to say is anatomically impossible, but you get the drift.

    By Anonymous Robert_V, At 01 April, 2008 14:05  

  • Hello, Robert_v:

    Interesting poison you just spread, however:

    I am simply pointing out that the point of no return has already been reached.

    Mathematically, it is impossible for her to catch up. Absolutely impossible. Unless you think she can hit 66% in all 10 contests.

    And I don't think she is being mean to him and I also couldn't care less were she.

    But she is a pro politician and I am sure she can see the numbers and understand them as well as anyone else who can add, subtract, multiply and divide.

    Interesting: I simply provided facts, and you spewed anger and innuendo and hate.

    Fascinating.

    By Blogger Mark, At 01 April, 2008 16:12  

  • dear robertv, thanks for doing the Republicans work, if we can't have Hillary, destroy the party!Mark is right, all you spread is hate and garbage. (like Hillary).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 April, 2008 17:09  

  • what kind of President (and mother) would take their teenage daughter with them to dodge sniper bullets? I don't think they(she) have(has) good judgement.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 April, 2008 17:18  

  • Mark's analysis mirrors mine, though I have the process going on at least until NC, or OR/KY at the latest. Afterwards, the superdelegates will know who the pledged delegate leader will be and start committing. No one is saying the rest of the voting shouldn't go on. Of course it should. But it doesn't mean that the process won't essentially be over by then. If there's 100 people voting and 51 of them voted one way, everyone else who has yet to vote still gets their voice even though the issue has been decided. It's nothing against Clinton; it's just the numbers.

    and when Obama is at 38% and dropping in November, and the house majority is in peril

    Republicans can attack on the trivial if they want. If people want to vote on Reverend Wright instead of the war, the economy, health care, and fiscal meltdown by extending tax cuts for the wealthy, then we deserve what we get. But I don't think we'll get that. If Democrats can keep the focus on what really matters, they'll be fine in November.

    As for the House majority, it's hard to see Dems not increasing their majority. Even most of their endangered incumbents are in good shape, and some of the large number of Republican-held open seats are likely to flip. I know things can change between now and November, but I'd be very, very surprised if the Republicans hold on to what they have. They're likely to lose seats, and it would take a monumental Democratic disaster to pose a threat to the majority (not that they're not capable of that, but I just don't see it this time).

    And with only one Democratic Senate incumbent facing a close race at the moment (Landrieu, LA), I'd expect some kind of Democratic pick-up in that chamber too regardless of who tops the ticket.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 01 April, 2008 17:21  

  • Good analysis Mark. Shame about people like Robert V who do now answered well reasoned FACTS with anything but anger.

    Look at the GOP process - every states gets to vote but GOP voters in PA and NC for example know McCain is the nominee - are they complaining. They get to vote for him or not all all and no-one including you Dear Robert are complaining about that. Huckabee stayed in until it was impossible to stop McCain.

    There is something to be said about the GOP process -maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of the states delegates are given to the winner of the states popular vote and then the rest are divided by congressional district or something like that.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 April, 2008 17:41  

  • Mark, better to burn the party to the ground? Get a grip. Just because the Obamabots are blind to their own vitriol, spewing garbage like that isn't immune from responses like the the one I read. Robert V has a valid viewpoint and his angry response mirrors your post. It's a long way from nomination time and we're not letting anyone know for sure who our pick will be. This is about obfuscation and showmanship. It is not a genuine competition,just an entertaining way of building an invincible wave of Democratic support. Whomever is the eventual nominee, they will have fought hard in the eyes of the public and will not be guilty of being "crowned" by anyone. Any one of you that see this as damaging to the party is simply not seeing the big picture clearly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 01 April, 2008 20:59  

  • Last poster - if Obama wins then you will support him because he was not crowned? He has been vetted!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 02 April, 2008 06:27  

  • I'll support him because he will carry forth our agenda. The platform is the goal, not the actor that plays the party figurehead. Don't forget that every weakness exposed by this primary race is one less to be used in the general. Keep your eye on the prize.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 02 April, 2008 07:35  

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