Poll round-up: Both NC and IN tightening in last hours

In many latest post, I explained that tomorrow's results will be determined the class and racial breakdown of the electorate. As such, it is more important than ever to understand that the trend lines of these latest Democratic polls are more important than the raw numbers insofar as most (though not all) pollsters project a turnout model and weigh the results accordingly; they cannot help us determine what proportion of the electorate blue-collar voters or African-Americans will end up making.

That said, on to the polls -- and I will do my best to provide the sample's breakdown when it is available. First up, Indiana where Zogby remains the only pollster to show Obama ahead:

  • First, SUSA finds Clinton up double-digits, 54% to 42%. Last week, Clinton was ahead by 9%.
  • As always, Clinton's lead is much bigger among registered Democrats (69% of the sample): she is ahead by 19%. Women only make up 52% of this sample though they are sure to be a much stronger force tomorrow (women typically make up 57% to 59% of the electorate of a Democratic primary).
  • In Zogby's final tracking, Obama maintains a 2% lead for the third day in a row. The two candidates are tied among women -- a finding other polls disagree with.
  • Suffolk, meanwhile, finds Clinton up 6 percent, 49% to 43%. Only 61% of the electorate is made up of registered Democrat, a crucial difference with SUSA.
  • PPP finds a close race as well, with Clinton's lead diminishing to a 5 percent margin, 51% to 46%. That's a 3% improvement for Obama.
  • Insider Advantage shows a similar tightening, with Clinton's 7% lead last week down to 4%; she leads 48% to 44%.
North Carolina, meanwhile, stays strong for Obama though there is disagreement on the margin:

  • SUSA finds Obama to be leading 50% to 45%; this is the same margin as last week.
  • SUSA projects that 32% of the electorate will be African-American; among whites, Clinton gets an impressive 63%.
  • Zogby's final tracking shows Obama expanding his lead to a 51% to 37% margin.
  • Zogby also predicts that the black vote will make up 32% of the electorate; in more good news for Obama, he only gets 79% of the black vote in this poll, with Clinton at her usual 11%. The remaining undecided black voters are likely to almost all break towards Obama.
  • PPP's final poll shows Clinton tightening the race for the second week in a row but she still trails by 10%, 53% to 43%. She was trailing by 25% two weeks ago and by 12% last week.
  • PPP projects 35% of the electorate to be black; Clinton gets 60% among whites.
  • Insider Advantage, finally, finds the race much tighter than other institutes; it has Obama ahead by 3%. Its most recent poll had him leading by 5% -- but keep in mind that IA was hte only group to find Clinton narrowly ahead early last week.
  • IA shows Clinton with 58% of the white vote but also with 17% of the black vote. If that is at all confirmed tomorrow, it would be a huge gain for Clinton, and one that would surely lead her to a solid result overall.
There is the potential for both candidates to get what they need out of tomorrow: SUSA's poll have Clinton up double-digits in Indiana and trailing by low single-digits in North Carolina, exactly where she needs to be to score a credible victory. If Zogby's findings and turnout model is vindicated, however, it would be very difficult for Clinton to stay in the race. Other polls fall somewhere in between. All in all, the fact that both races are tightening is better news for Obama who is happy with the status-quo being maintained. He does not need to change the narrative of the race. (We will discuss all of this in more detail tomorrow.)

However, there is a risk to Obama failing to close the deal once again. If Clinton survives tomorrow's votes, she can look forward to a very good week in West Virginia:

  • Rasmussen's latest poll, released today, has Clinton up 56% to 27%. That's actually a 1% improvement from a poll taken in mid-March.
Clinton's margin is even stronger in Kentucky, which votes on May 20th. West Virginia and Kentucky are part of Obama's worst region in the country, the Appalachians. Clinton typically wins more than 2:1 in districts of that region and she can expect much more attention to be turned to her strength among these voters if she is alive after tomorrow.

Also today, other general election polls found interesting results:

  • The latest national AP/Ipsos poll shows Clinton opening up a 47% to 40% lead against Obama among Democratic voters. In the general election, both lead McCain. Clinton is ahead 47% to 42% while Obama leads 46% to 42%. This is the AP's second poll in a week -- quite unexpectedly.
  • The USA Today/Gallup poll also finds Clinton leading 51% to 44%; but in the general, McCain is ahead of both Republicans, 3% against Clinton and 1% against Obama, thus confirming that yesterday's NYT/CBS poll should not be taken to signify that Democrats have opened a big lead.
  • Finally, a general election poll from Texas finds a competitive race! Rasmussen finds Obama trailing McCain 48% to 43% and Clinton behind 49% to 43%. This actually confirms a SUSA poll from late February that had McCain stuck in single-digits against both Democrats.
  • As always, it is fascinating to see how both Democrats arrive at similar numbers by putting together two completely different coalitions. Clinton trails by 12% among men, Obama leads by 2%; Clinton leads by 1% among women, Obama trails by 12%. Among Democrats, Clinton gets 80% but Obama 69%, a poor showing he compensates with stronger numbers among registered Republicans.
Just as some polls suggest McCain has the potential to dealing a terrible blow to Democrats by keeping New York competitive, having to seriously contest Texas and pour resources and time here would be a horrifying development for the GOP. The biggest Republican state in the country, Texas has also been one of the most reliable in recent cycles. But with the share of Hispanic vote increasing, Democrats are hopeful they can tighten the partisan gap in the state -- though few people expect (expected?) Texas to tighten this year.

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  • It is interesting how Clinton supporters are always moving the bar. A few weeks ago (pre PA) the CW was that Hillary HAD to win both of todays contests or it was all over. Now a split is forecast and the CW is that will be enough for her to go on. The remaining uncommitted SD's; especially the large group in CA; are looking for any reason to end this and if Obama doesn't lose both it may be enough to break the log jam.

    I have said for some time that Texas was in play; at least in the Senate race. Cornyn is a weak candidate against a strong Democratic foe. His big advantage at the moment is his war chest & the CW that Texas is a sure win; but if the polls start to show Noriega gaining all that could change. If that happens McCain could be in trouble.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 May, 2008 06:20  

  • of course the MSM and Taniel have to pretend the race is still competitive, otherwise what would they talk about?

    By Anonymous mpd, At 06 May, 2008 06:56  

  • MPD- Don't get all upset now. Hillary could still get caught driving a pickup with a confederate flag on it dragging a black man. Obama isn't completely destroyed yet. I know it doesn't look too good for him, but if Hillary implodes this summer, most people will still vote for the platform. That's the beauty of having 800 wildcards.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 06 May, 2008 07:49  

  • Well for the TX general election poll, I'm going to want to see if there will be more polls from other companies comfirming that it is this tight, but if it is like this in the fall then it will be major trouble for McCain. The RNC does have much more money than the DNC but if the Democratic candiate can make up by raising money on their own, then there will be trouble. I think TX being competive is very important for Obama because he is so weak in Florida, so replacing FL with TX is a nice tradeoff.

    On the primaries, its very unlikely that Clinton will actually win NC thx to the black vote being nearly 1/3 of the electorate but she can keep it close if she keeps getting a high share of the white vote as she has in other contests. In Indiana Clinton is favored but I'm not sure it's to the point of a double digit victory. I do think that it's clear that after today, Clinton will comfortably win WV, Crush Obama in KY, and win PR by low double digits. Montana is the last swing state and South Dakota is the only state after today which strongly favors Obama. Of course after this the SD start to come into play..

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 06 May, 2008 09:42  

  • There is also Oregon to vote which compared to all the others left actually votes Democratic in GE's. Remember the Clinton refrain from a few months agao that red states didn`t matter in deciding the Democratic nominee, umm winning TX and IN changes her tune.

    By Anonymous Tom, At 06 May, 2008 11:14  

  • Yeah I forgot about Oregan. One of the more interesting states because it votes by mail. I believe the mail ins stop on May 20, same day Kentucky primary is. The few polls out now show Obama favored in Oregan, so a good win there could help soothe the painful sting he will get when Clinton gets 60%+ of the vote in Kentucky the same day.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 06 May, 2008 11:33  

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