4.20.2008

Clinton adds a superdelegate and strong polls... but is even 10% enough?

Now in the final days of the Pennsylvania campaign, Hillary Clinton got the support of a superdelegate today, Ohio Representative Tom Ryan. This is her second endorsement from Ohio in as many days, as Rep. Betty Sutton endorsed her yesterday afternoon. This is quite an unexpected double-get considering how slowly Clinton has been amassing superdelegates since February 5th, especially when we add to this the 2 superdelegates she obtained on Thursday when the New Jersey Democratic Party settled on three of its add-ons/PLEOs.

However, Barack Obama also received some good superdelegate news lately when Maryland Governor O'Malley announced (contrary to most people's expectations) that he would schedule a special election in the vacant MD-04 district. The incumbent Democrat (an Obama endorsee) had announced he would resign after losing to Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary; it appeared that the seat would be left vacant for the rest of the year and that Obama would lose a convention vote. But O'Malley decided a special election would be held after all on June 17th, with the winner automatically becoming a superdelegate. Donna Edwards, the overwhelming favorite to win on June 17th, has already endorsed Obama.

Meanwhile, 3 new Pennsylvania polls released this afternoon bring good news to Hillary Clinton and confirm that a double-digit victory is within her reach on Tuesday. Notice, however, that her trendline is mostly negative:

  • The fifth installment of Zogby's tracking poll finds the New York Senator leading 48% to 42%. Zogby adds that, in Sunday's polling sample alone, Clinton leads 53% to 38% and that this is due to more than a one-day anomaly, as undecideds are breaking towards her.
  • You might remember that we discussed this morning Clinton's biggest potential to improve her numbers as her own base looks to be wavering more than Obama's, suggesting that she has more room to grow in the final 48 hours.
  • The final ARG poll, meanwhile, shows Clinton leading by a solid 54% to 41%. The previous poll released last week showed her leading by 20% -- in a poll that was widely described as an outlier; their previous survey (the week before) showed a tie at 45%, so ARG has shown some pretty wild swings.
  • ARG's internals show Obama trailing 2:1 among white voters and by 23% voters among voters with no college degree; if those numbers hold on Tuesday, except a new round of criticism as to Obama's electability problems.
  • Strategic Vision, finally, finds a 47% to 40% Clinton lead, here again a slight tightening as she was ahead 49% to 40% in the previous poll.
  • In the general election, Strategic Vision once again finds McCain beating both Democrats, 46% to 42% against Clinton and 48% to 40% against Obama.
  • [I had included the final SUSA poll here, but it looks like that was a very old poll I somehow linked too. I apologize for that, this is what happens after this many primaries in this little time. We will probably get SUSA's final poll tomorrow.]
With less than 36 hours before the polls open in Pennsylvania, these are among the final polls we will be seeing and they suggest that we are in for a wild race to the finish and for Election Day suspense. Clinton has managed to remain favored to win and she has consistently led throughout the 6-week campaign -- something she had not managed to do in Ohio and Texas. This is an impressive feat in and of itself considering how close her opponent is to capturing the nomination. That Hillary is capable of maintaining her coalition under such conditions is remarkable.

The problem she faces on Tuesday, of course, is that she needs not only a win but a comfortable one. And on that point the polls are in disagreement and they are simply too many undecideds to really know what will happen. One thing that is certain, however, is that the "good result" that Clinton is aiming for is a double-digit victory. While there is no question that that would be a strong result, it is important to keep in mind that the Pennsylvania primary started with the presumption that Clinton would need a much bigger victory to keep herself relevant. After all, given her precarious position in the race, this is no longer a question of beating subjective expectations but of (1) achieving the very objective result of moving pledge delegate totals and (2) changing the fundamentals of the race.

Clinton's victories on March 4th were strong enough to keep her in the race but they fulfilled neither of these latter two conditions. A 10% victory in Pennsylvania would do just about the same thing; it would allow Clinton to pass a threshold of survival but without putting Obama's dominance seriously in danger.

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38 Comments:

  • That SUSA poll is NOT their final one. Their last poll will come out tomorrow. The one you are referring to is an old poll. Also, the poll conducted by Strategic Vision says 11 percent are undecided which means if, as always, the majority of them break for Hillary she might go well beyond the threshold of 10.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 01:31  

  • Strategic Vision is 48 to 41 and not 47 to 40, but the margin is the same.

    However, of the 11 polls between 04/14 and 04/20, 9 of them show Clinton in single digit leads, only two of them show her in double digits (ARG / SUSA), and consistently since 04/03, all other pollsters have kept her in single digits, except for SUSA and ARG.

    When you analyse the poll margin changes per pollster over the last week and over the last two weeks:

    5 pollsters with negative margin change:

    Rasmussen -6 between 4/15 and 4/18
    PPP -6 between 4/09 and 4/16
    SUSA -4 between 4/08 and 4/15
    Strategic Vision -2 between 4/15 and 4/20
    ARG -7 between 4/14 and 4/20


    1 pollster showing no change:
    Quinnipiac - +/- 0 between 4/08 and 4/15

    Polls over longer time intervals:

    Morning Call: -3 between 2/18 and 4/03
    Franklin and Marshall: -10 between 3/17 and 4/16


    One pollster shows a gain:

    Insider Advantage: +7 between 4/03 and 4/09. I suspect that when the new IA poll comes out today, at the latest tomorrow, and how much do you want to bet that it will show a negative margin change?

    Zogby: all over the place, but dealing with moving within a small margin (maximum of 6 points, an average of 4 points) to begin with:

    Over ten days from 4/11 to 4/21:
    -4, +4, -2, +3: average: +1. Yup, that's it: +1

    There are just too many polls keeping her in single digits, and since three weeks without stop. There have been not enough polls showing her over 48% but also keeping Obama at around 42% - and this is without a third candidate in the mix!!!, so even if the undecideds break wildly for her, Obama will still undoubtedly pick up 3 to 4 of those 12 points (25%), so the best she can hope for is 55-45, and I think it looks more like 54-46 at best. If the polls continue to narrow, then 53-47.

    Facit: Too little, too late. Too much Obamaification over 6 weeks. And incredibly high negatives for the former first lady over too long a time span.

    You can see the continuing number analysis at my blog.

    Also, when you check out the PA voter registration statistics, 317,000 new registered DEMS since Nov. 2007, but only 60,000 less GOP voters than Nov. 2000. So, it's not as if 400,000 GOP voters are going to swing the state wildly for Clinton. This is a myth. The data tells me that this will not be so.

    And finally, Obama is pulling up very fast in Harrisburg, which should have been Clinton turf.

    By Blogger Mark, At 21 April, 2008 05:05  

  • It will all come down to turnout. That is something the polls cannot really take into account well. So either candidate can do well if their supporters turnout more.

    Clinton needs 15% or so for a really great result. She has had 6 weeks, it is a closed primary and demographically more favorable than Ohio (just).

    By Anonymous Guy, At 21 April, 2008 06:59  

  • Is Obama a Muslim?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 07:27  

  • I see the Clinton camp is still running the whispering campaign about Obama's faith.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 07:35  

  • if Obama was a Muslim, so what? And to answer is 10% enough for Hillary? No, she needs a least 15%.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 07:50  

  • Hillary just needs to stay in the race and move the popular vote numbers up. The actual voters carry more weight than the delegate counts. Which lever you pull matters more than what you tell a pollster over the phone. Obama has a miniscule lead that he cannot tout. Hillary will pull ahead in actual votes and will prove she's more electable.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 08:02  

  • The number of pledged delegates takes into account the voting population size in each state. Democratic states are actually overwiehgted. For example California has 11 times the number of delegates of Utah but only 8 times the population. So pledged delegates are a fair measure and everyone agreed to them up front.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 21 April, 2008 08:24  

  • If pledged delegates were a fair measure,which they're not, we wouldn't have superdelegates to override them. Your statement doesn't take into account the facts that all states aren't counted equally(open primaries,caucuses) and that "everyone" does not include the most important people,the voters. The purpose of the superdelegates is to use their own consciences to carry out the will of the party. The majority of Democrats support Hillary over Barack and no amount of gaming of the delegate system is going to change that. You can count on unethical supers to defy the party but it's a bad strategy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 08:32  

  • ARG's internals show Obama trailing 2:1 among white voters and by 23% voters among voters with no college degree; if those numbers hold on Tuesday, except a new round of criticism as to Obama's electability problems.

    Well, people can raise the criticism, but that doesn't mean it's valid. Yes, a group of voters may prefer Clinton to Obama, but that doesn't say much about how they would choose given either of them against a completely different candidate: McCain.

    And aside from the fallacy of using primary results to predict general election results, I'm frustrated by the "so-and-so has problems with this-or-that" group argument. Candidates with weaknesses with some groups have strengths with others. Wouldn't national head-to-head polls against McCain take into account strengths and weaknesses among all groups, and isn't that the key to "electability"?

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 08:42  

  • If pledged delegates were a fair measure,which they're not, we wouldn't have superdelegates to override them.

    They're a fair measure in that they're the objective of every state contest. Would any reasonable candidate spend resources getting votes that don't lead to another pledged delegate? If not, then it's unfair to judge candidates by a metric that was never really the point of the candidates' campaign.

    The purpose of the superdelegates is to use their own consciences to carry out the will of the party.

    Then why have primaries at all?

    It's interesting how different people view the role of superdelegates. I thought their role was not to enforce the will of "the party" (whomever or whatever that is is never really defined), but to prevent a group of party activists (who are usually the ones who participate in primaries and caucuses) from nominating someone who would be a clear disaster in the general election. Looking at national polls, either Democratic candidate would be viable against McCain.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 08:47  

  • Dsimon your blatantly opportunistic view makes your points worthless. I give you credit for effort, but no good will come from such biased perspective. The "party" FYI consists of those voters registered as Democrats. The majority of which support Hillary.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 09:02  

  • your blatantly opportunistic view makes your points worthless. I give you credit for effort, but no good will come from such biased perspective.

    People with biased perspectives are sometimes right. Even your biased perspective may be right. That's why one needs to back up one's views with facts or logic, not speculation and name-calling.

    I will only note that once again, you did not provide any specific response to any of my points. If you have them, I'd be glad to take them into account to to a better job in the future. If you don't, then I'm not going to bother responding anymore because it won't get anybody anywhere.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 10:08  

  • Again you fail to understand the answers so you claim you didn't get them. What name calling? Is your intellect really that weak? Don't bother trying to answer my observations. You simply lack the brainpower. You're out of your league. Stick to regurgitating other people's ideas and leave the heavy thinking to the rest of us.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 10:56  

  • Dsimon-don't feel bad, it's not a fair debate. The odds are 1/10,000 that you could keep up with me. Rest assured that if your guy manages to get nominated, that he'll enjoy my support if he keeps his ears open. All of the weaknesses that are playing against him now that you and your fellow Obamans have exposed, will be ones that I will be called on to defend.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 12:25  

  • Anon:09:02-"The "party" FYI consists of those voters registered as Democrats. The majority of which support Hillary."
    On what facts do you base this opinion?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 12:26  

  • Drudge is out with internal Clinton polls showing her with an 11% lead in PA. If true it would be very good news for her but it does set the double diget expectation bar in concrete. If she wins by 5%-9% it will be hard to spin as a big win.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 12:32  

  • Anon of 9:02 - the party needs more than just registered Democrats to win a GE. There are no enough people registered Democrat as a percentage of the voting population to win. If 51% of the voting population were registered Dems then fine but they are not - nearer 40%. So the Dems candidate has to win independents/unaffiliated voters.

    By Anonymous Tom, At 21 April, 2008 12:33  

  • Out of interest NC started voting last Thursday hence why Obama went there instead of PA. NC is quite progressive in that until early May voters can go to a "one stop shop" and register and vote in one visit.

    By Anonymous Guy, At 21 April, 2008 12:35  

  • I believe that the NJ and Ohio Super Ds have all been previously identified as Clinton supporters. They just hadn't formally taken a position as yet. The more important endorsements are from Super Ds who hadn't previously been identified with either candidate.

    By Anonymous zoot, At 21 April, 2008 12:55  

  • 12:26 The fact that Obama's lead in popular votes doesn't allow for both a significant amount of support from ind/reps and a lead among Democrats. It's either or, not both. Only rarely in this primary has Obama carried the Democrats in exit polling.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 13:15  

  • Tom-I agree with you there and the argument that Obama has a measurable lead in those voters defies the assertion that he leads among Democrats. It is interesting that more Obama supporters will vote for Hillary than her supporters will vote for Obama. The point being is that the conscience of the supers is weighted towards Hillary. Voting against the will of their party's majority is like saying they know better what's good for them. Very elitist and impossible to defend. I feel confident that Obama has significant support from outside the party, and by such a minority of Democrats.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 13:23  

  • Anon 10:56 -- Is your intellect really that weak? Don't bother trying to answer my observations. You simply lack the brainpower. You're out of your league. Stick to regurgitating other people's ideas and leave the heavy thinking to the rest of us.

    Anon 12:15 -- Dsimon-don't feel bad, it's not a fair debate. The odds are 1/10,000 that you could keep up with me. Rest assured that if your guy manages to get nominated, that he'll enjoy my support if he keeps his ears open. All of the weaknesses that are playing against him now that you and your fellow Obamans have exposed, will be ones that I will be called on to defend.

    Wow, talk about elitist arrogant liberals...I certainly don't want to defend you guys either

    By Blogger Jason, At 21 April, 2008 13:45  

  • I believe that the NJ and Ohio Super Ds have all been previously identified as Clinton supporters. They just hadn't formally taken a position as yet.

    DemConWatch has a list of all committed and uncommitted superdelegates. DemConWatch requires an official endorsement by the superdelegate to make the list for a candidate.

    NJ has 13 announced Clinton superdelegate supporters and 4 for Obama, with 3 uncommitted; Ohio has 5 for Clinton and 5 for Obama (the last 5 are all DNC members, not elected representatives), with 9 uncommitted. (Hm, I thought OH had 21 superdelegates, but it gives an idea. Maybe there are two add-ons to come.)

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 13:55  

  • Jason being genetically and thus intellectually superior is something you're born with. You're confusing elite with elitism. Elitists will never be the elite. I don't think you'd ever need to defend me. PS I guess you missed the revelation that the conservative/liberal scale mirrors IQ directly. I'll take your "liberal" comment as an acknowledgement of your inferiority.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 13:59  

  • Take it outside, please gentlemen......

    By Anonymous zoot, At 21 April, 2008 15:18  

  • Anon 13:19 -- too bad my vote counts the same as yours, right?

    By Blogger Jason, At 21 April, 2008 15:55  

  • Anon 13:59, you have my pity and that's all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 17:00  

  • Anon 13:59, you have my pity and that's all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 17:00  

  • Jason- if you meant to say 13:59 and typed 13:19, then no your vote doesn't count. Stay away from butterfly ballots or your vote will go to Pat Buchanan. 17:00-Keep your pity, it's worthless. Carrying the burden of 10,000 of you morons doesn't get any lighter with it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 18:47  

  • Jason: my advice is to ignore the trolls and they'll gradually go away.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 20:42  

  • Ok this Blog has become idiotic. Who cares who would like to call themselves better than the other; I feel that I'm the best. However, I know that is not the case there is always someone better out there. When this all boils down your feelings should be this.
    1) Who do you personally feel a great deal of passion for?
    2) Who gets you "crazy" about politics again?
    3) Are you happy about the last 8 years?
    4) who do you think deserves your vote?

    I will tell you know I support Obama.

    BUT! If Hillaray was to win the nomination don't think for a second I would vote for McCain because thats idiotic. If your a "Life-long" Dem and you say if Hillary gets the nomination you will vote for McCain; your not a Dem your what we call a swing voter so quit calling yourself a Dem. I dont care if Mickey/Miney mouse was on the ballot if he/she was the Democratic Nom. I would vote for him/her; vice/versa for the Hillary supporters. If you still dont get it and will vote for the other if your "guy/gal" doesnt get the Nom, then your not a true Democrat and we dont want you. For all of you on here stroking each others ego give it a break. It's getting old and we need to start thinking about our nation as a whole and how were going to deal with the economy in shambles.

    Ohh on another note Crude closed at another record high today 117.48 a barrel! Yaa! No my gas will be $3.90 or higher. Can you recall when a friend would ask you to take them somewhere far for 10 dollars and you would jump on the chance because that was a full tank of gas? Well look at it now thats not even a quarter of a tank for me.

    By Anonymous Ashley/Mo, At 21 April, 2008 21:03  

  • on another note Crude closed at another record high today 117.48 a barrel! Yaa! No my gas will be $3.90 or higher.

    Well, we've been making choices for the past 30 years, haven't we? We could have moved toward more fuel-efficient vehicles. We decided to stay with our gas guzzlers. And now we're paying the price.

    No one would pay more to drive around when the price of gas goes up 30% if they get vehicles that are 30% more fuel-efficient. And the Europeans have been doing so for years. Now we're paying the price for our own shortsightedness. The sooner we take responsibility for our choices, the sooner we'll start making better ones.

    Unfortunately, most politicians are pandering about lowering the price of gas instead of talking about how to get us into cars that use less of it.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 21:27  

  • I thought this blog is all about frank analyses of daily events in the presidential campaign, as the name Campaign Diaries implies? I ee several readers bickering as if they learned to bicker from the candidates, nothing else like analyses to help and inform voters. Keep the good work "Taniel" and you guys who provided such valuable insight into this campaign cycle with helpful facts.
    Please, enough of the bickering. Nobody is above anbody in intellect or anything. If you disagree with your fellow Americans, say so politely. Help create a compassionate, cvil United States of American. Vote for the candidates on qulities (i.e. integrity, honesty, charisma, dedication to the community, etc.) you find appealing, and reject ignorance, hhypocrisy and propaganda.
    I don't blame any of you guys who bicker and name-call, because I recognize how passionate you must be about the candidate of your choice. But please refrain from insulting others' views and ALWAYS back up your points with facts, not passionate opinions in order to sway vulnerable minds.
    Thanks!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 22:09  

  • I think the problem with politicians vandering to voters on gas is because they are probably afraid of powerful lobbyists for the car makers. I am confident that either Hillary or Obama will recognize the seriousness of this situation and take concrete action to lessen our motor dependence or our dependence on foreign oil and gas. California tried to regulate the mileage in vehicles to help reduce gas consumption, but I don't know how that will help.
    I don't like to vote for the candidates on the basis of partisanship (partisan politics is very divisive), but McCain's idea of a "gas holiday" sounds much more like a ploy to get votes thn a real commitent. Lets give Obama the chance to do something for this country, because the Clintons already had 8 years to themselves to achieve much of what they are tell voters they will do if elected. A new face to Washington is probably the best we can hope to reform our economy, and Obama brings that newness.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 22:20  

  • I am confident that either Hillary or Obama will recognize the seriousness of this situation and take concrete action to lessen our motor dependence or our dependence on foreign oil and gas.

    I'm not so confident. And it's because it's not up to Clinton or Obama; it's up to us.

    If we keep hoping that our problems will be solved just by putting the right people in office, we're going to be continually disappointed. But when a majority of us are willing to act ourselves on the issues we say are important, that creates the political will necessary to get things done.

    I'm tired of politicians telling us what they're going to do. They should instead be asking us what we're willing to to do. When we make that fundamental shift and take responsibility for our government, then maybe we'll have a politics that works again.

    And if we don't make that shift, we'll continue to have the pandering that doesn't solve anything.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 23:37  

  • dsimon-you are "name-calling" again. Resorting to name calling seems to be rampant among Obamans that can't justify their arguments.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 22 April, 2008 09:47  

  • Just...what? There was nothing in that post that could be construed as name-calling. He didn't call anyone anything.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 22 April, 2008 10:17  

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