Thursday polls: First numbers from Puerto Rico!

Two important primaries polls were released this morning -- including the very first ever from the potentially decisive contest in Puerto Rico. First, however, comes Pennsylvania and its April 22nd primary. It's become increasingly difficult to figure out where things stand in the Keystone state, with SUSA and Insider Advantage (and, to a lesser degree, PPP) showing Clinton on the rebound while other pollsters still find her lead declining:

  • Today, TIME magazine released its own poll, finding Clinton ahead 44% to 38%, 49% to 41% once leaners are included.
  • The poll's internals are expected: Clinton has a big lead among white voters (51%-30%) and particularly among white women; Obama is ahead among blacks 80% to 8% -- and he still has room to grow here, considering he was routinely reaching 90% of the African-American vote in late February and early March. Also, 26% of Clinton voters say they would be "more likely" to vote for McCain is Obama is the nominee.
Both campaigns are now battling in a ferocious game of expectations; the Clinton campaign claims it is a miracle she is even ahead given how massively she is being outspent, an argument they already used in the run-up to Ohio and Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, Obama's camp laughs that off and explains that a single-digit loss would be a great victory. Unfortunately for Hillary, Obama is right to say that this is too late in the game for "just a victory" to help Clinton much. She needs to both get a meaningful pledged delegate lead out of the state and trounce Obama by enough of a margin to instill doubts about his candidacy. The good news for the Clinton campaign is that polls suggest she has room to grow back to the kind of lead she needs (just like in Ohio) -- and the seemingly constant stream of bad Pennsylvania polls has been interrupted.

Meanwhile, the first poll from Puerto Rico was released today! The primary is being held on June 1st and will award a large number of delegates that could be decisive if Clinton is hoping to cut Obama's lead. More importantly, Puerto Rico will almost close voting season (there will be two small votes on June 3rd) and the result could very well determine which campaign heads into the "off-season" with the most momentum:

  • This new poll shows Hillary ahead 50% to 37% against Obama. The conventional wisdom is that this is Clinton's contest to lose and this margin might even look a bit underwhelming.
Puerto Rico could become an organization battle -- if the race goes that late. Bill Clinton already visited Puerto Rico this past month, and the state's establishment is mostly backing Clinton. In fact, Obama's main support in the state was Governor Acevedo Villa who was indicted last month of 19 counts of campaign finance violations, limiting the influence he could have had on the vote.

And you can bet the exhausted campaign and the media would love to spend a few weeks in Puerto covering the primary.

Update, in response to a comment by Jason: The "seemingly constant stream of bad PA polls" being interrupted has nothing to do with weekend polling versus weekday polling. Practically every poll over more than a week showed Obama rising and a number of institutes no longer see such a trend this week: SUSA, Insider Advantage and PPP all had Obama catching up last week and show the reverse movement this week. Also, most polling institutes go on the field week-to-week (say Monday to Wednesday; or Friday to Sunday) and they use the same turnout model. This is why so much is made of trends between the two last polls of one institute. The study you refer (I had mentioned it here) was only applicable to the Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls which are in the field every single day, leading to comparison problems if one candidate polls better on a weekend.

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  • Assuming Clinton won Peurto Rico how could she spin it as important since Peurto Rico does not vote inthe GE - she doesn`t like caucuses or red states but somehow a territory that has no votes is important. Not a huge number of pledged delegates but could have a bog impact on the popular vote although they do not count in the GE!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10 April, 2008 14:34  

  • Isn't the "seemingly constant stream of bad Pennsylvania polls" just another stream of weekend polls that always tend to favor Obama according to someone you quoted in a previous post (how can you search for them? or can we not search for them?!)?

    By Blogger Jason, At 10 April, 2008 16:12  

  • I am researching PR.

    Although the DEM rules say proportional delegate division, PR may deliver them EN BLOC for the winner, btw...

    This would be to Clinton's advantage, I suspect.

    By Blogger Mark, At 10 April, 2008 16:16  

  • Being a "frontrunner" is a big drag on a campaign. Hillary has consistently pushed off that yoke and for good reason. I suspect Barack is dreading every day of his frontrunner status. Smart people always put the expendable out in front.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10 April, 2008 18:25  

  • Mark - if you are right and PR deliver their delegates en-bloc to Hillary then they will be discounted because people will rightly ask how can a territory that does not vote in the GE have such an impact on the primary selection.

    Anyway we are assuming it goes out to June.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 10 April, 2008 18:39  

  • So people have a right to discount Puerto Rico (~60) when they follow DNC rules but they're totally fine with discounting nearly 300 pledged delegates from Michigan and Florida combined ???

    And speaking of impact on the general election, there's nothing more swing than MI and FL.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 02:15  

  • No my point is MI and FL are way more important than PR. PR should be excluded and MI and FL included.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 08:09  

  • Mi and Fl will be included, and their votes as cast will stand. Barack's pipedream of winning by exclusion is futile.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 09:54  

  • It is not Obama's dream of winning without MI and FL. The DNC said what would happen and the states went ahead anyway. Hillary Clinton said before the votes that they would not count. Guess what she nows says they do - not particularly consistent of her.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 10:38  

  • The DNC decision is subject to the convention ruling this summer. They will not be turned away and Barack will not be the nominee. It doesn't matter how you try to spin it, he loses. Barack has consistently parsed his words so pointing to any inconsistencies of Hillary's really undercuts your position. Every move you people make is counterproductive to your cause.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 11:16  

  • It's simply unwise to accuse your opponent of something you're guilty of yourself. It would be best if you Obamatrons would stop undermining your own guy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 11:26  

  • How is anyone undermining Obama? You answer the factually correct charge at Clinton by asking a question rather than answering the original question. There is a term for the "Clintonian" - (what's the definition of "is"!!)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 13:15  

  • I didn't ask any questions. Misdirection seems to be rampant among Obamatrons. That's a good example of the tactics that lose Democratic support for Barack. Every time I read an Obama supporter I have to wonder if it's really a McCain surrogate posing to destroy Barack. It is also factually correct that Barack lied at a nationally televised debate about his business partner. Is that the kind of response that helps your guy? Seems that bringing up truthfulness isn't a good idea for a true Barack supporter. Helps McCain a lot more.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 15:48  

  • Now gee, why would a genius like Bill bring up that pesky Bosnia flap? If you Obamans can't figure that one out you're doomed. The Clintons are going to play you for fools and then dance on your graves. Don't say you weren't warned!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 17:09  

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