Polls and superdelegates: Some good news for everybody

Perhaps this is a sign that superdelegates are looking to make their decisions known soon: Three high-profile superdelegates (and four total) have rallied to a candidate since Monday morning. I already mentioned that New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman had endorsed Obama yesterday. Today, Obama got another superdelegate, Rep. Chandler of Kentucky; that means both of Kentucky's Democratic representatives have endorsed Obama which is somewhat surprising considering KY might be one of Obama's worst states. The latest poll from SUSA shows Clinton crushing her opponent 62% to 26%! And Obama obtained a third endorsement by Richard Machacek, a DNC member and a superdelegate from Iowa. Considering that Clinton needs to win a large majority of remaining uncommitted superdelegates, this is certainly not good news for her.

Between Bingaman and Chandler, however, Clinton snatched a superdelegate of her own -- and a very important one at that: North Carolina Governor Mike Easley. The North Carolina Democratic establishment is almost entirely backing Obama, so this is a good get for Clinton. Easley is leaving office in a few months and he no longer has the kind of machine that would make this that meaningful an endorsement; but he remains popular and high-profile, ensuring that his decision will be covered by the local media. Clinton is looking for any positive movement in the state to force the race in single-digits, and this is as good news as any.

The latest polls from the state confirm that Clinton has been able to tighten the state -- though not yet enough. Yesterday, PPP found that Obama's lead in North Carolina had been cut by more than half in one week, though the Illinois Senator was still ahead by double-digits. Today, Rasmussen confirms that there is some movement in Clinton's favor:

  • Obama leads Clinton 51% to 37% -- a margin that is more than enough for him to have a good night on May 6th. In the previous survey by Rasmussen, however, Obama led 56% to 33% -- a 9% tightening. The poll's internals hold no surprises.
North Carolina looks to be a rare state in which Clinton is picking up ground as the campaign progresses; the most common trend, of course, has been for Obama to rise though often not enough to overtake Clinton's initial lead. How much can Clinton move upward in this state? Even a low double-digit loss would be disastrous symbolically, not to mention that Obama would get a big pledged delegate boost.

Finally, two general election polls bring some good news with everybody, with Clinton more competitive in an AP national poll, Obama in Wisconsin, while McCain can be content that WI will be competitive in the fall no matter what happens until then:

  • The Univ. of Wisconsin's Badger Poll finds Obama narrowly leading McCain 47% to 43%. McCain, meanwhile, leads Clinton 47% to 41%.
  • Meanwhile, the AP/Ipsos national poll shows Clinton opening up a meaningful lead against McCain, 50% to 41%; Obama is up within the margin of error, 46% to 44%.
I already made note of this poll yesterday afternoon, but it was in a long post about Wright, electability and MS-01 so I wanted to also include it in a poll rundown. The AP/Ipsos poll, after all, is a respected survey that often features prominently in discussions among pundits; and we know why intra-establishment chatter is very important in the coming months.

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