It's all about turnout: Monday polls fail to set expectations

A wave of new polls released today should set the expectations for tomorrow's primary, but they instead confirm that the results will remain suspenseful to the end, as there is very little constitency across polls, neither in trendlines or in numbers:

  • SUSA's final poll, first, shows a tightening of the race, with Clinton's lead to a 50% to 44% margin. Last week, Clinton was leading by 14%.
  • The internal numbers show nothing surprising: Clinton is very strong among women (+23%), whites, and voters with no college degree (+15%).
  • Suffolk University released its first Pennsylvania poll and finds a 10% lead for Clinton, 52% to 42%.
  • An interesting internal number is that, of those who watched the ABC debate, 46% were more impressed by Clinton and 26% by Obama.
  • Quinnipiac's final poll has Clinton gaining a point from last week and leading 51% to 40%. Quinnipiac confirms SUSA's finding that the key battleground tomorrow will be Southeast Pennsylvania.
  • Rasmussen's final poll shows a tightening of the race, with Clinton leading 49% to 44% -- a 4% drop since the end of last week.
  • Insider Advantage confirms that a double-digit victory is within Clinton's grasp, showing her up 49% to 39% -- with 12% undecided.
  • Finally, PPP complicates things by finding Obama leading, 49% to 46%. This is the same margin that had been found last week.
  • PPP is the only institute to have ever found Obama ahead in Pennsylvania -- but they have done so three times now. Their turnout model clearly is one that projects a lower turnout among whites and blue-collar voters.
The situation is closer to the one in Iowa than perhaps any other election since January 3rd. In other words, Pennsylvania will be decided by which groups turn out. From Iowa onward, both candidates tried to make inroads in the other's core constituencies, with Obama courting women, blue-collar voters and Hispanics. But in most contests the candidates failed to make such inroads (with Obama for instance falling short among these three groups respecively in NH, OH and CA) and thus the demographic logic was respected.

In Pennsylvania, demography favors Hillary Clinton; yet Obama has a clear shot at upsetting that logic. Whether or not he is in a position to win, he certainly could keep Clinton's winning margin dangerously low. But he will not do so by winning over Clinton's core constituencies but in winning the turnout war, with signs that blue-collar and Catholic voters might stay at home. If a large number do, Clinton will clearly be in danger. Not to mention the problem that even a 10% victory is not likely to do that much for her in the long-term.

Democrats should worry, however, for it will be difficult for them to recapture the groups of voters who might stay at home tomorrow; the fact that they could lose their enthusiasm in Clinton but not migrate to Obama suggest they are prime pick-up targets for the McCain campaign.



  • Im ready for a reverse NH, Go Obama

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 16:47  

  • As usual, it comes down to :



    IN about 28 or 29 hours, we will all know.

    By Blogger Mark, At 21 April, 2008 16:49  

  • My final prediction:

    Clinton by 14.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 17:01  

  • Tip to Obamans; don't put a whiner on CNN to answer charges of whining! That congresswoman whined incessantly. Totally ineffective.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 17:28  

  • Both candidates lose PA to McCain according to current GE polls (normal caveats apply). This undercuts any electability or "only I can carry this state" rhetoric from Clinton. Look at real swing states that could go Democrat with the right candidate like Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, Oregon and Colorado.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 17:46  

  • It all comes down to turnout as stated. I expect Clinton will win by 10% for no other reason than this is the exact lead margin that is most debatable in impact! An the electorate has shown that it likes to make drawing conclusions difficult.

    If Clinton wins by say 8% then that is viewed as bad. If she wins by 15% thenthat is a great result. 12% is OK. 10% is just blah

    By Anonymous Tom, At 21 April, 2008 17:47  

  • Both Rasmussen and SUSA are reputable pollsters and they have Obama at 44% with 6% undecided. Assuming that undecideds split 2:1 for Clinton (has happened in the past) then Obama gets 46% and Clinton wins by 8%. Of course the big assumption here is equal turnout in all areas of the state. We will know in 28 hours!

    By Anonymous Guy, At 21 April, 2008 17:49  

  • Obama will not be the 44th President. Period. He's not electable.

    He'll lose all of the South, New Jersey, PA, Ohio, Connecticut, all the Rocky Mountain States, and Alaska. He will win probably 12-15 states. There are so many skeletons in his closet. Wait until the media tunes into his cocaine use from his younger years. Wait until his religion becomes a hot topic. Wait until he tells everyone that he doesn't know what he will do.

    The dems will be incredibly dumb to elect such a flawed candidate.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 17:50  

  • Obama is nothing more than a novelty. I wonder if Hillary will consider him as Secretary of State?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 18:02  

  • Actually there is an expectation that these polls set, which is that Hillary Clinton should win PA. If Obama pulls off an upset, then her campaign is basically over. Yeah she could point to how working class whites are staying at home rather than voting for Obama but it still wouldn't make a difference. In terms of margin of victory, it seems to me that the highest she could get would be by 15% if the undecides actually vote and break heavily for her.

    Taniel you are right that voters unethustiac enough to vote for Clinton but unwilling to vote for Obama could be a great oppurtunity for McCain. However, I believe that McCain is in his peak in the GE for now as conservatives are now generally comfortable with his candiancy yet the Dem primary moves independents and some conservative and moderate Democrats McCain's way. Once the nomination (probably Obama) is decided, the Dem nominee will probably get a boost in the GE polls and some weeks after and how long the Dem surge lasts will be telling into how the GE will eventually play out. The only scenario in which I envision McCain keeping is current lead in GE polls or even haveing it increase would be if there was a Brokered Convention. Having it go all the way to the convention would be damaging, but if Obama won on the first ballot the damage would only be moderate, while repeated ballots would basically destroy the Democratic party at least where the Presidential Election is concerned.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 21 April, 2008 18:21  

  • Obama refuses to wear a pin on his lapel. I don't know if this has much to do with leadership, but to me it shows that you believe in patriotism.

    Barack Obama will shell out a surrender policy in Iraq. It'll cost more money to leave Iraq than the war itself cost.

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

  • We were sold bill of goods on Obama. We wanted Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction" and J.J. from "Good Times" showed up. I hope if he survives that he can get medieval on McCain so he doesn't lose. So far he's been underwhelming.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 18:40  

  • 18:02-04-21- I see you have stock in the pharmaceuticals too huh? A defeat in the primary for Obama tomorrow is like money in the bank. Wait, it is money in the bank!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 18:50  

  • Democrats should worry, however, for it will be difficult for them to recapture the groups of voters who might stay at home tomorrow; the fact that they could lose their enthusiasm in Clinton but not migrate to Obama suggest they are prime pick-up targets for the McCain campaign.

    I don't know if that's the case. Just because one may not be able to decide between Obama and Clinton isn't necessarily indicative of an inclination to stay home when either candidate faces McCain (not to mention the other competitive congressional races that may be on the ballot). Once again, I think it's very difficult to imply general election prospects from primary results.

    I enjoy Taniel's information and analysis, so I hope people don't take my picking at the occasional line here and there as a critique of the blog generally. I enjoy the site.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 21 April, 2008 21:22  

  • I doubt that Obama's spending muscle will help him, and I doubt this is meant to shut Clinton out of the primary. Rather as an upstart candidate who mostly won past primaries with the help of independents and some Republicans, his spending power has to do more with the urgency to introdue himself to voters who know the Clintons very well. The Clintons do not need to spend as much as Obama do because they are firmly established Democratic politicians.
    Mitt Romney spent far more than his opponents, yet he failed to even come close to John McCain's delegate lead, despite his eforts to introduce himself.
    As more voters get to know the canddate (I would argue that Romney as governor of Mass. is better known than Obama when the primary season started), they will likely either reject him/her or support his/her candidacy. And for Obama to even pull close to Hillary's lead in PA is remarkable given that PA's primary is a closed one and the state has the largest number of traditionally pro-Hillary voters. Also don't forget the fact that Gov. Ed has campaigned vigorously on Hillary's behalf, while Bob Casey rallied behind Obama.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 22:32  

  • The Mitt Romney comparison is apples v. oranges. First, GOP had winner-take-all in most states, so once you lose a couple big ones, it's practically game over. Second, there were tons in the background playing spoiler - Huckabee (Iowa), Thompson (SC), Giuliani (Florida).

    The only spoiler in the entire Dem primary season was Edwards in Iowa.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 April, 2008 22:54  

  • By Blogger GIL BERT, At 01 July, 2017 05:32  

  • By Blogger GIL BERT, At 01 July, 2017 05:37  

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