4.14.2008

Post-"bitter" Pennsylvania expectations: First poll has Clinton gaining

The first poll of Pennsylvania since the story over Obama's "bitter" comments broke was released today by ARG. It was conducted April 11th to 13th, so a part of the interviews were conducted before any controversy erupted (it is unclear what proportion):

  • Hillary Clinton has jumped up to a 57% to 37% lead, almost entirely due to the female vote, which she leads 64% to 31%. The other surprising numbers is how much Clinton leads by among whites, 64% to 29% -- much than we are accustomed to seeing.
  • A week ago, Obama had pulled within a tie, at 45% -- meaning this is a 20% jump in Clinon's favor.
It is too early to suggest that Obama's plunge in ARG's new Pennsylvania poll is due to the "bitter" controversy. Remember, Clinton started to rebound in a number of polls last week (PPP, SUSA and Insider Advantage), so ARG's survey inscribes itself in their community rather than break with all preceding trends to point to a dramatic turnaround. Consider also that the poll was taken immediately following heavy coverage of the issue, the time at which there will be the most impact in polls (if there is an impact to be had at all). We will have to carefully watch the polls that will be released in the coming days.

However, and as I just mentioned, there is now plenty of polling data pointing to a Clinton rebound. The size of Clinton's surge in the ARG poll might be an outlier, but Pennsylvania numbers have been moving away from Barack in the past week. Enough for Hillary to survive April 22nd? One consequence of the "bitter" controversy is that it ups the stakes of the Pennsylvania showdown. Clinton surrogates are now openly arguing that Obama is too weak among blue-collar voters to beat McCain in the fall, and they are hoping that Obama's comments resonate with superdelegates.

This means that the Pennsylvania vote will be watched very closely for evidence as to how weak Obama truly is among blue-collar voters and how much his San Fransisco comments hurt him. If the final numbers resemble this ARG poll, it could lead to very difficult days in the Obama campaign. But if he comes close to Clinton, he will claim to have put the controversy behind him; Hillary's electability argument will then take a very serious hit. Obama is clearly aware that he needs to bolster his numbers among blue-collar voters. His latest ad (which you can view here) features Senator Bob Casey, most popular among downscale whites.

In many ways, then, "bitter-gate" as some are now calling it could prove an opening for Obama. Consider that, as of last week, Clinton's lead had evaporated and Obama was playing catch-up remarkably well; but, with that improvement, expectations had changed as well: Just like in Ohio, the question had become who would win Pennsylvania -- rather than by how much. This change benefited the Clinton campaign which is seeking to stay alive no matter how small a victory it obtains on April 22nd.

But after 3 days of media hysteria over bitter-gate, the expectations are not only that Clinton will win the Keystone state but that Obama is badly hurting. A single-digits victory by Hillary, while it might have looked like a big relief as of last week, now would appear like a missed opportunity -- which is obviously welcome news for Barack.

One last note for now on bittergate, via Ben Smith: Speaking in Pennsylvania, Clinton said that "I don't think he really gets it that people are looking for a president who stands up for you, not looks down on you. And after seven years of Americans feeling invisible to this President, to President Bush, it's time that we level the playing field and begin acting like Americans again and that we roll up our sleeves and we get to work." (video here) Having criticized McCain's first ad with the tagline "this American president" for seeking to portray Obama as un-American, I have to at least point to Clinton's quote, for she does seem to be saying that Obama's elitist behavior is un-American, just like John Kerry was accused of being "French" in 2004 for not understanding blue-scale voters. But since the formulation is kind of confused, what do you guys think "acting like Americans" is referring to here?

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30 Comments:

  • I'm a big Clinton fan but I don't buy the ARG polls. They have got lots of other states wrong. I'd bet my money on SUSA which is gold.

    Having said that, this new poll kinda reflects what SUSA poll found out last week. I'd wait for the new SUSA poll which I guess will comeoue tonight or tomorrow.

    By the way, one interesting thing about this new poll is that 23% of likely Democratic primary voters say that excessive exposure to Obama's advertising is causing them to support Clinton. Boy do I love to hear that!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 12:20  

  • Don't forget that knucklehead just defended Wright last night and painted himself militant. Does he not know that what he says is heard outside the room? Stupid is as stupid does. He ought to just shut up.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 12:48  

  • How someone who has over $105 million in the bank and can lend her campaign $5million can call someone who has <$5million in total assets elitist is beyond me!

    So what if Obama does lose by 20% - obviously not great news but Clinton lost several primaries in swing or Dem states in February - Wisconsin, Virginia and Maryland by more than 20% and she continued (maybe upto getting the nomination). Why this double standard, those states I mentioned have more EV's than PA or FL or NY.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 12:57  

  • I agree with Taniel's comment that this news increases expectations for Clintons margin of victory. She has played the expectataions game well - OH and MD for example. This has upset that apple cart.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 12:58  

  • Kid dyn-o-mite has had it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 13:49  

  • Anon-sarcastic has had it too...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 14:23  

  • ARG; I remember these guys they were hired by the Clintons and Karl Rove. They want to show the Superdelegates that Obama can't when in PA. over McCain. They make sure they call people that will either support either Clinton or McCain.

    They have calling list that’s easy to get from any sales calling center. When you order the list you tell the sales list company this. You only want people that have been in there homes over 20 years, and live in small rural towns in PA only those that are 65 and over. This is an old campaign tactic that was developed by Karl Rove for the Bush campaign.

    The Clintons, Karl Rove and the GOP know that most of you that support them are stupid.

    By Blogger Mase, At 14 April, 2008 14:53  

  • The Superdelegates need to consider Clinton’s elect-ability as a Democratic Nominee ‘SHE CANNOT BE ELECTED’! The GOP and McCain are trying so hard to help Clinton win the Democratic Nomination on every news station. It very clear to me as an average viewer they want to run against her in the worse way. The Superdelegates should have the courage to put this to an end. The talking points for the GOP are so easy if Clinton is the Nominee. Not only the eight years of the Clinton Presidency from White Water to Monica and now the will bring up the following

    Hillary’s judgment should one again be called into question!

    1st: NAFTA Flip Flop Hillary and Bill

    2nd: The war in Iraq vote!

    3rd: Agreeing to sign up for the rules that were stated by the DNC in respect to Florida and Mich.

    4th: Destroying the Democratic Party for her win at all cost policy.

    5th: Slashing and Bashing Obama and then wanting him to be her running mate.

    6th: Financial handling of campaign funds spent over 100 million during Iowa campaign.

    7th: Lying about Bosnia and Sniper Fire.

    8th Not taking Obama serious as a contender for President, poor campaign strategy

    9th Poor management of campaign funds spending over 100 million in Iowa and loosing.

    10th Not paying her bills to vendors and other organizations

    11th The Mark Penn and Bill Clinton South American Trade Deal.

    12th Clinton’s divisive political style that will; motivate a lethargic McCain Campaign that is dull.


    The GOP will use all of this if she wins the nomination, she is very, very unelectable the way I see it. She has poor judgment and has run a poor campaign that is the bottom line issue for Superdelegates to examine. Again the Superdelegates need to be tough and have the courage to make it clear to she cannot be elected. Hillary is in danger of maybe loosing her senate seat if this continues. Therefore, Superdelegates please save her from herself before we loose a badly needed senate seat for; The Obama Presidency.

    By Blogger Mase, At 14 April, 2008 15:34  

  • OH YES I'm sure the Clintons with their 105 million dollars really really give a fuck about poor folks-- no they aren't elitist! UGH.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 15:44  

  • Completely agree with the last few posts. It is reported that McCain is hoping Clinton will win and that is why he has bashed Obama not just on the latest manufactured issue but in issiung 13 press releases attacking obama this year compared to only 3 attacking Clinton. Why the disparity?? Clinton would not expand the playing field and the Dems would be playing defense the whole time in PA, MI and WI. OH is the only possible gain they could make.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 16:02  

  • What I take away from Clinton's remarks as 'being' or 'acting' American, I think is more like a call to arms for Democrats to start acting like Democrats.

    Further, the distinction could be that between Republicans, who are perceived as economically elitist, and Democrats who make up a large share of working class middle America.

    What's odd about this is that given that logic, Obama was being condescending on issues pertaining to God and guns, while Hillary is embracing them to appeal to a party that has been cold on those issues (generally speaking).

    This could be just more of Clinton's "kitchen sink" approach to taking Obama down, but I think that after the restructuring of her campaign it indicates that she's thinking more of a long-term strategy to galvanize voters in the general election by showing that she has unexpectedly broad appeal for some demographics.

    She also directly likens the Bush presidency to one that didn't stand up for people, looked down on them, etc., while dumping Obama into the mix; a short-term strategy for bigger margins in the Pennsylvania primary.

    By Anonymous animal crackers, At 14 April, 2008 16:14  

  • Nasty obamabots are getting all riled up I see. Poor little babies. Go home and cry to your mamas. Barack is a loser when the chips are down. He is and has been McCain's little boy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 16:29  

  • Are all Obama supporters such little crybabies? I thought politics were for grown-ups. Are we going to have to raise the voting age?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 16:58  

  • Obamaphiles if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. We've got things to do.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 17:01  

  • Tanile, great job! I am not supporting any of the candidates yet, but I think Hillary's supporters are the most intolerant, most sensitive, uneducated hypocrites who jump on McCain or Obama too quickly for any sort of gaffe while they blindly and with retarded brains rally behind the most deceptive, most arrogant and lying politicians I ever witnessed. Hillary is really no different from Bush, and electing her is like letting another presidecy tainted with endless scandals that will forever damage our national reputation and national dignity.
    I am saying this because Hillary's retarded backers bash at Obama an McCain for telling truths, while they applaud as she lies like Scott Peterson...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 18:25  

  • 18:25 your vote is worthless.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 18:57  

  • I am not even 25, you retarded fool and a hypocrite. I am 31, and I hold a degree in rhetorics and history and it is really easy for me to see through Hillary's deceptive actions.
    I really don't mean to offend anyone, but it is beyond me to see so many idiots and hypocrites backing this woman who has more in common with a dictator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 20:31  

  • Oh by dctator I do not mean she is repressive but very cunning and very deceptive...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 20:36  

  • 20:31-Your degree is toilet paper. Go back to school and get educated properly. You do a tremendous dis-service to your candidate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 21:23  

  • If you want to call my degree toilet paer, why don't you in your sensible mind illustrate the reasons why you think Obama is the wrong candidate and how you are capable backing someone who is a certified liar, without being a hypocrite? Is hypocrisy your education, then?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 21:50  

  • 20:31-You are obviously lying about being educated. I've come to realize that many Obamabots are either padding their resumes or have been passed through abysmally poor institutions. The educational level polling is horribly inaccurate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 21:50  

  • A politician by definition is a liar. Obama and Hillary are both adept liars. Hillary is better at it and therefore is a better politician. Obama, by his own statements, is prone to stumble on his words. We all saw it on CNN. If the test of office was based on intelligence instead of political skill, Hillary would still win. Edwards was the smartest,then Hillary,then Barack. He cannot win.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 21:58  

  • Can you provide any sources, any reliable study to back up your point??
    The truth is, Hillary isn't someone to entrust our votes to. If you disagree, then you must provide facts to support your points. Do you really beleive Obama is the more deceptive than Hillary? Do we have to trust a verified liar? Give yourself the opportunity to analyze everything the 2 candidates said by going to www.factcheck.org.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 21:58  

  • You will regret backing Hillary if you look into the history of the Bill presidency and also at the legislative records of the two Democratic candidates at thomas.gov...
    I don't want to hear BS on who's a candid politician. And if the best liar makes the best president, you'd be very happy with Bush now that you have been deceived when we invaded Iraq, something Hillary in her arrogance even refuses to acknowledge is a mistake and Obama has called a "dumb war".

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 22:08  

  • First of all,it's "i" before "e" except after "c". Obama lied at a debate because he spoke before he thought. Hillary refused to say her vote was a mistake, not the war. Obama said he didn't know if he'd make that same vote. A "dumb war" is a dumb statement. Voting for a better candidate to win is different than voting for the best president. Biden or Kucinich would make far better presidents but could not win. So it comes down to who can win, not who's the ideal candidate for the job. Obama is on fire and has lost the core constituency of the Democratic party. He's no longer feasible. No personal attacks on the Clintons can bring that back, he's toast. Pushing a failed candidacy is the height of arrogance. Only if Hillary were to screw up worse than Obama would he have a chance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 22:38  

  • One, I'd agree Biden and Kucinich would have been better candidates in terms of their foreign policy expertise. Two, the reason they could not win is because they, like Hillary, represent the old school politics, the politics of the 20th century -- a political culture in which only wealthy white men ruled since the conception of the presidency. Three, you apparently reflect the attitudes of many older Americans who are afraid of change not only in the direction of our nation but in leadership.
    So for you a candidate who wins 28 states; a candidate who leads in the pledge delegate and popular vote counts; a candidate who has demosntrated the ability to inspire young Americans who will become our future leaders and who have enver demonstrated their political strength as they havenever done before; a candidate who attempts to instill confidence in disenchanted voters; and a candidate with a voting record that reflect the realities in our nation and the frustrations of average citizens more than his opponent, would be considered arrogant and divisive for standing up to the deceptions and leis of a desperate Hillary Clinton?And he is the one who is failing? I won't even have thought he'd defeat an establishment candidate like Hillary, who was very much favored to win the primaries before a 96$ white Iowa delivered its verdict that Hillary sucks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 14 April, 2008 23:44  

  • Obama is on fire and has lost the core constituency of the Democratic party. He's no longer feasible. No personal attacks on the Clintons can bring that back, he's toast.

    So he's sure to lose even though Americans agree with Democrats on Iraq, the economy, health care, and just about every other major issue that matters?

    I'm not electing someone who can psychoanalyze small-town America. I'm electing someone who has policies that will help small-town America. To the extent that we focus on poor word choice or guilt by association (whether it be Reverend Wright or Geraldine Ferraro and Mark Penn), both candidates will lose in November. If we can remind people why they're voting and what they're voting for, either candidate should win.

    If I wanted someone who "understands" or "relates to" me, I'd hire a therapist. That's not a president's job. Maybe someone should remind the voters of that. And then maybe we can start getting people to look at the issues that are so important for this election instead of the inane stuff we're talking about now.

    Enough already.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 15 April, 2008 00:07  

  • Obama and McCain suporters! You can't stand the heat! You say Hillary acts like a Dictator and that she does not know sh.. about politics, the American People and their needs. What you don't want to see is that she is the only one of the 3 that has the "balls" to take America to another level and get the country moving and economically going with enough vision to get it out of the crap hole we're stuck in! As a matter in fact, you do know, but can´t stand it and bear it! So back off and be inteligent and smart to shut your crap! Hillary for President!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 00:37  

  • I'd say a woman's reproductive freedom is an important issue. Only Hillary stands for that. Barack made it clear he gives creedence to the "moral" cause against that freedom. Healthcare for every citizen is another one. Only Hillary wants that. Barack and John want to keep the private insurance companies in business. We're not going for a militant religious leader like Barack.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 07:30  

  • Excuse me Anon 7:30 - Obama is even more "pro choice" than CLinton. Look at his votes in Illinois. He was against parental notification and he was against banning partial birth abortions. Now people may disagree with him on those issues (I do) but he is more pro-choice than Clinton. Let's deal with facts and not mis-characterisations.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 15 April, 2008 08:10  

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