4.15.2008

Pennsylvania polls trickling in

With 3 new polls of the Pennsylvania primary out today, it is very difficult to conclude what effect -- if any -- Obama's "bitter" remarks have had on the race. This is especially so because the Quinnipiac poll, which will be the most cited today because it has one of the best reputations out there, was conducted from April 9th to April 13th, so a very large portion of its interviews were conducted before the controversy erupted:

  • In the Quinnipiac poll, Clinton leads 50% to 44%. This is exactly the same margin as last week.
  • Quinnipiac provides the numbers for the group it calls "Reagan Democrats," among which Clinton leads 55% to 40%. This is obviously the group that Clinton wants to seduce to demonstrate Obama's general election weakness.
  • The big worry for Obama: Only 50% of Clinton supporters say they will vote for Obama in the general, versus 26% who say they will vote for McCain. Among union households, it falls to 47-32. Clinton fares better among Obama voters, 70% of whom would vote for her, including 74% of Obama supporting union households.
  • The Rasmussen survey, meanwhile, finds Clinton picking up some ground. She now leads 50% to 41% -- up from a five percent lead last week.
  • The poll was conducted entirely Monday. 75% of Pennsylvanians say they heard about the remarks, and only 35% said they agreed -- but 59% of Obama supporters.
  • Finally, Survey USA released its weekly poll, finding Hillary Clinton up 54% to 40%. This is actually a slight decline from last week's poll for Clinton; in that survey that became widely discussed, criticized as an outlier or as the start of a trend, Clinton led by 18%.
The abundance of polls released since late next week confirms, at least, that the race is no longer tightening like it did for much of the end of March and early April. At one point, it only seemed like a matter of time before Barack would overtake Hillary but the New York Senator rebounded in most polls since -- starting before bittergate.

This makes it especially difficult to assess whether any trend discovered in these polls has anything to do with the coverage of Obama's remarks. Even polls showing a Clinton improvement are inscribing themselves in the continuity of last week's polls, rather than showing a drastically new trend.

Clinton is doing her best to ensure that there is a new trend and as dramatic as possible an acceleration of the movement towards her. She is now running an attack ad against Obama for his "cling to" remarks. And today, she is assembling a team of 100 Pennsylvania Mayors for a collective endorsement; an event is being organized in Harrisburg at which many of them will appear, and some "small town" mayors will hit Obama over his comments about small town voters. It does look, however, like many of these mayors already support Clinton. This is clearly not meant to announce new endorsements as much as adding hype to bitter-gate, making sure the media covers such as a large event and reaching more voters.

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23 Comments:

  • Yesterday I told you I won't buy ARG. This new SUSA is much closer to what i think will happen although I have to see the internals. Given the fact the Hillary almost every time outperforms Obama in the debates, her numbers will even get better after the tomorrow night debate.

    14 in PA
    16 in IN

    Go Hillary!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 12:16  

  • Anon,

    Clinton did have some debate successes, that is true (in NH and in the run-up to 03/04 especially). But the South Carolina debate in mid-January was one major factor for Obama running up the margin there. Which is what makes tomorrow's debate very interesting.

    By Blogger Taniel, At 15 April, 2008 12:22  

  • Very disturbing numbers for Obama's support among Clinton supporters. If he can't muster broader support, he will remain unelectable. His campaign has sustained serious damage from the divisive and nasty demeanor of his followers. Obamabots; play nice or suffer the consequences of your poor sportsmanship.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 12:36  

  • It seems that "bittergate" has merely ensured that the PA polls won't tighten. We probably want to see what polls say at the end of the week, in full effects of Obama gaffe is seen, but it seems like we are just returning to the status quo of Hillary getting a low double digit win in PA.

    And for Hillary supporters, you are right that Obama is very weak with working class white Dems, but Hillary is equally as weak with independents. I also think that her strengh among Obama supporters compared with Obama's weakness's with Clinton's supporters should be taken with a grain of salt. Obama has to weaken so considerbly that not only will pratically none of Hillary supporters wouuld vote for him, but that his own supporters (blacks, youth, upper middle class whites) would start to doubt him. Bittergate has not destroyed him to this extend, and unless something in the future comes that does destroy him politicallly, a Hillary nominatino would lead to most African Americans refusing to vote, youth staying at home, and proably the upper class whites voting for either McCain or Nader. In those circumstances, Hillary would defintely lose the GE because Obama supporters would feel that she stole the democratic nomination.

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

  • Interesting article.

    1. I would note that a 55-40 lead amongst "Reagan Democrats" in the Quinnipiac poll for Hillary is not exactly startling or overwhelming considering this is her base of supports (as well as women - who obvioulsy are amongst the group called Reagan Democrats).

    2. I would also remind people that demographically Clinton should win by 12% or so if Ohio was completely accurate and most polls show her leading by less than this. I disagree that Obama was ever going to tie or overtake Clinton. Him getting closer and tightening the race is a regular occurence. Remember that in OH and TX Clinton had 20%+ leads 4 weeks out and then barely won TX (4%) and OH by 10% - both much less than the 20% leads she was posting.

    3. Increasing from 5 to 9% in the Rasmussen polls can be down to margin of error changes. Clinton was leading by 8% in Rasmussen 2 weeks ago so we could conclude that according to Rasmussen nothing has really changed in the past 2 weeks (8 to 5 to 9% over that time).

    By Anonymous Mike, At 15 April, 2008 14:30  

  • One interesting point with this bitter comment issue is that if Clinton wins by less than 10%, which is the commonly held bar for assessing if she has done enought to stay in etc., then she will be weakened further because the expectation is that she was waiting for a gaffe or some other issue to weaken Obama. If Obama can withstand 10 days out this issue and still lose by <10% then he has done well. This will help him with the expectation game.

    By Anonymous Guy, At 15 April, 2008 14:43  

  • Taniel,

    thanks for your reponse to my comment. You are right about SC debate. But that was Obama's friendly turf. What really helped Obama there was exactly what happened Clinton in NH: Two candidates piling on the one they feel is weaker.

    But except for that Clinton has doen great in all other debates. The pre-super Tuesday debate saved her in CA and her two last debates saved her in Ohio and Texas. That's why I believe if she doesn't sound overbearing tomorrow night or overplay her hand, she will secure a double digit victory next week.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 14:46  

  • Very disturbing numbers for Obama's support among Clinton supporters. If he can't muster broader support, he will remain unelectable.

    I have a hard time believing so many Democrats won't vote for whomever is the eventual nominee. Do we really think that when faced with the choice of McCain on Iraq, the economy, health care, and tax cuts for the wealthy, so many will decide to defect or stay home? If they do, I suppose the nation will get what it deserves, but I doubt it will come to that.

    His campaign has sustained serious damage from the divisive and nasty demeanor of his followers.

    There we go again, taking the comments of the few who are most likely to speak out and attributing it to everyone. Let's not get blinded by discussion forums and realize that most people are reasonable and have arguable points both for and against both candidates.

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

  • I agree with dsimon that equating comments on a message board to equate to the entitey of a candidates support is foolish. As tech heavy of an age this is, I don't think most people bother to post topics.

    With Obama's weakness with Clinton supporters, alot of this is exbacerated because of the strongly protracted nomination. McCain at a glance probably isn't very attractive to these "Reagan Democrats" but his so called "moderate" profile makes it easy for them to turn to him with bloody dem primary. If McCain was truly strong among reagan democrats then he should consistently getting double digit leads over Obama in the polls, yet most of them either have them statisticallly tied or McCain with a slight single digit edge.

    However, I have no doubt that if Clinton wants to she can ensure that a big chunk of her supporters not support Obama if he is the dem nominee but I think that she would want to forever tarnish the Clinton name by doing that... as loyal as a democrat I am, if it seems like she rather have Obama lose in 2008 so she could run in 2012 I would not support her under any circumstances that year (I will vote for her in 2008 if she is the dem nominee).

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 15 April, 2008 15:36  

  • One recent poll (forget the company) had both Obama and Clinton beating McCain by 7-9% in PA in the GE. Of course this is early but it is interesting that both Dems beat McCain by pretty much the same result. This would indicate a) Obama has no weakness with the PA electorate and b) Clinton supporting Dems who say they will vote elsewhere probably will not in reality

    I would also add that Dem primary voters are being asked who they prefer, that does not mean if that candidate is not the nominee they will not vote. Clinton seems to make this argument a lot that she won CA or NY so only she can carry that state. Rubbish - Clinton would win IL and CT but she lost the primaries. People can like both candidates but have to choose one in the primary. This is especially true since on policy they are very close.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 15 April, 2008 15:50  

  • As of the "compassion" event, Obama is no longer pro-choice. His followers are just as nasty and abusive in media outlets and on the street as they have been on the web. This militant cultism is widespread and becoming dangerous. McCain has no choice but to co-opt the anti-war issue to be viable. Once that happens, it's over for Obama. The writing is on the wall.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 15:57  

  • As of the "compassion" event, Obama is no longer pro-choice.

    Here's what Obama said: "We're not going to completely resolve it. I mean, there -- you know, at some point, there may just be an irreconcilable difference. And those who are opposed to abortion, I think, should continue to be able to lawfully object and try to change the laws. Those of us, like myself, who believe that in this difficult situation it is a woman's responsibility and choice to make in consultation with her doctor and her pastor and her family." How is that not pro-choice? He did acknowledge that there are arguments on the other side. So do I. It doesn't diminish one's position to say that other people have a different opinion.

    McCain has no choice but to co-opt the anti-war issue to be viable.

    And people think Kerry tanked because he was portrayed as a flip-flopper. Not going to happen; it's a key issue that is highly identified with him. "We're succeeding. I don't care what anybody says. I've seen the facts on the ground." Really think he can take that back?

    Once you've take a side, it's still OK say that other people can have a point and we just disagree. Then we go ahead and vote; that's what elections are for. No need for vitriol.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 15 April, 2008 16:40  

  • To state that a moral stance based on a religious belief which is a result of a neurological disorder is a valid basis for a legal challenge is certainly no longer pro-choice. McCain will advocate for the withdrawal of troops. Yes he will flip. When has a republican ever suffered from flipping? It's a regular double standard they employ. He already flipped from being a Democrat to being a Republican.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 17:48  

  • dsimon- You're a good advocate for your guy. I've both defended and criticized him and you've kept your demeanor. I'm forced by my ethics to defend and criticize both sides often. Right now your guy is getting the brunt of the abuse. I appreciate your sincerety.

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

  • To state that a moral stance based on a religious belief which is a result of a neurological disorder is a valid basis for a legal challenge is certainly no longer pro-choice.

    You could say that anyone who disagrees with you suffers from some kind of neurological disorder. (Who gets to decide what is a "disorder" anyway? You? If a majority has it, how can it be a "disorder"?)

    "Pro-choice" is the position that abortion decisions should generally be made by the woman. Period. Consequently, Obama is pro-choice. And that also goes for those of us who happen to think Roe v. Wade is bad constitutional law but still think government should not be banning abortions.

    I think any notion that McCain will suddenly advocate serious troop reductions is simply a fantasy. And the idea that he would not suffer from flipping on one of his signature issues seems seriously out of touch with political reality as it would undermine his biggest alleged strength as a straight-shooter. You may disagree, in which case it's just not worth engaging in further discussion.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 15 April, 2008 18:26  

  • The disorder is a malfunctioning neural pathway between the amygdala and the temporal lobes. An MRI detects the disorder. The presence of this condition renders the victim unable to use ethical judgement. They actually defer to religion for guidance out of their own lack thereof. No one with a IQ over 140 suffers from it. And McCain has no choice but to give in to what 80% of the electorate wants.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 15 April, 2008 19:08  

  • The disorder is a malfunctioning neural pathway between the amygdala and the temporal lobes.

    And who defines what is a "malfunction"?

    And McCain has no choice but to give in to what 80% of the electorate wants.

    No way to know until November, but he's doing a pretty good job of not giving in so far. Plus giving in would destroy his credibility.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 15 April, 2008 23:49  

  • Who defines what is a malfunction? It's not a "who" or science would just be conjecture. Most people thought the earth was flat too. The Catholics just acknowledged it in 1999 despite the fact that agriculture was based on the discovery 12,000 years ago. When McCain said recently that the war would be over "soon" he was tipping his hand. Better prepare.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 16 April, 2008 07:44  

  • Who defines what is a malfunction? It's not a "who" or science would just be conjecture.

    Science tells us what neurons fire when. It does not tell us what is a "malfunction," just as it does not tell us what is "life" or a "weed." Those are human judgments and constructs.

    Most people thought the earth was flat too. The Catholics just acknowledged it in 1999 despite the fact that agriculture was based on the discovery 12,000 years ago.

    Do you really think most Catholics in 1998 thought the earth was flat? When people in the Middle Ages knew it was round? Even after Magellan made the circuit? Let's not confuse rusty doctrine with what most people think at the time.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 16 April, 2008 09:52  

  • Your perspective is very,very,narrow. The common knowledge of the earth being round is very recent. As for your missing of the last ten years of neurological discovery in the operation of the brain,it has been kept very quiet to prevent the violent uprisings that have historically accompanied such findings. The wide range of voters that need to be mollified is apparently too wide for Obama to handle.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 16 April, 2008 10:49  

  • The common knowledge of the earth being round is very recent.

    Yeah, it's so recent that the circumference of the earth was first calculated within 10% back in 240 B.C. Check the "spherical earth" "and flat earth" entries in Wikipedia, for starters. From the latter: "Still, the dominant textbooks of the Early Middle Ages supported the sphericity of the Earth." "Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), the most important and widely taught theologian of the Middle Ages, believed in a spherical Earth; and he even took for granted his readers also knew the Earth is round." The idea that people really thought the earth was flat seems to be a myth

    And again, do you really think Catholics thought the world was flat until 1999?

    Really, it's not worth discussing if you're going to make up your own facts or answer questions.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 16 April, 2008 13:03  

  • And exactly how many people could read in the middle ages? Silly argument.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 16 April, 2008 15:39  

  • And exactly how many people could read in the middle ages?

    First, why don't you do some research? Second, people who don't read talk to people who do. Third, you've produced no evidence that most people thought the world was flat (Columbus and his backers certainly thought they were sailing around to India, and the matter was certainly settled by Magellan). Fourth, you still haven't stated whether you really think Catholics thought he world was flat until 1999.

    Again, from Wikipedia: "Jeffrey Russell states that the modern view that people of the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat is said to have entered the popular imagination in the 19th century, thanks largely to the publication of Washington Irving's fantasy The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus in 1828."

    I'm done with this one. No more feeding the trolls!

    By Blogger dsimon, At 16 April, 2008 16:35  

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