Zogby delivers its first tracking polls, contradicts the newly developing CW

The past few days were bringing increasingly good polling news for Hillary Clinton. Not only was she building a comfortable lead in Indiana but a number of polls suggested she was benefiting from a lot of movement in her favor in North Carolina, with Insider Advantage going as far as coming out with her leading by 2% -- a result that would have the potential of truly rocking the primary! But Zogby's first wave of tracking polls from IN and NC finds the race to be exactly where Obama wants it to be:

  • In Indiana, Clinton and Obama are tied at 42%.
  • In North Carolina, Obama has a large lead, 50% to 34%. Clinton is found with only a 10% lead among white voters (47% to 37%), a significant difference with other polls we have seen this week.
  • Research 2000, meanwhile, finds the race to be closer in North Carolina, with Obama up in single-digits, 51% to 44%. This is the same margin Mason-Dixon came out with this afternoon.
Zogby's polls were conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, so they are the first surveys to potentially register the impact of Obama denouncing Wright; if so, it would bode well for Obama's hopes of putting the controversy behind him, at least until Tuesday. We will obviously need much more polling to confirm any such trend, and keep in mind that Zogby's track record has not been great over the past few months; though they nailed Pennsylvania, their tracking polls leading up to April 22nd had the state much tighter than other polls were suggesting. For now, let's take Zogby's polls as the Obama-end of the current polling spectrum, with Insider Advantage representing the Clinton-end; if the results do come in on the Obama-end and confirm Zogby's findings, Clinton would be in big trouble come Wednesday morning.

If Clinton does survive May 6th, she can look forward to West Virginia (on the 13th) and Kentucky (on the 20th); but she will also have to play a game "on the road" as Oregon, a state in which Obama is heavily favored, votes on the 20th as well. I have previously explained my sense that Clinton could keep Oregon much closer than people expect; it is a closed primary, after all, and people forget that Obama only won the Washington primary by about 5%. The only previous poll of the state, conducted by SUSA, showed Obama with a 10% lead. Three weeks later, SUSA strikes again and shows Clinton closing in on Obama:

  • Obama is now leading 50% to 44%; he maintains a big lead among men, while Clinton is barely ahead among women. Also consider that Oregon is a state in which the Asian community could play a role -- and actually register as a statically meaningful group in the exit polls (Obama leads by 12% here, but the subgroup is too small).
Clinton is likely to get a great result in Kentucky; if Obama does not get a perception-changer in Oregon that same evening, he could be in trouble as the conversation would concentrate on his problems with white blue-collar voters (KY) rather than Clinton's weakness in the West.

Finally, let's conclude this second polling thread of the day with two national general election polls, as Pew and CNN, two reputed pollsters, both find Democrats leading all match-ups:

  • CNN shows Obama leading McCain 49% to 45% while Clinton leads 49% to 44%.
  • Pew finds Obama leading McCain 50% to 44% and Clinton leading 49% to 45%.
  • Both polls have Obama edging out Clinton with a statistically insignificant lead (1% and 2% respectively) in a national primary match-up.
No electability comparison to be drawn by the numbers alone -- though the extent to which both Democrats get to similar final numbers by assembling very different voting coalitions is certainly remarkable (remember Gallup's finding that Clinton was losing among all educational groups with at least a college degree, while Obama losing all those without one... but they both ended up with the same results).

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  • Of course, it's hard to compare pollsters who have just started to poll a state with those who can show a trend with a number of polls.

    But we do know that polls tend to widen and tighten and often, it's just a matter of timing.

    It is entirely possible that the Insider Advantage poll, on that day, in the region that was called, was accurate, but this is the only poll of 33 polls since the primary season began to show Clinton in the lead.

    The Zogby is closer to the margins we were seeing before Wright No.2. The weekend will tell us which pollster is closer to the truth.

    By Blogger Mark, At 02 May, 2008 01:50  

  • Not sure what the relevance is of comparing OR and WA. They're two different states with different demographics. Proximity isn't destiny.

    Equally to the point, you fail to mention that the WA primary followed a caucus (bizarre system), and many caucus goers were either unaware of the primary or shrugged it off as irrelevant, which it was.

    By Anonymous zoot, At 02 May, 2008 03:31  

  • Zoot,

    I am fully aware that OR and WA are very different states. The reason I compare them is that I feel their proximity is one of the main reasons the state is being allocated to Obama so automatically by many people; also, general election polls in OR and WA show very similar patterns, as they are both among Clinton's worst states relatively to Obama suggesting that there is some commonality in the way people think about Clinton in the Northwest.

    As for the caucus/primary system, that is certainly true and I had discussed this at length on February 18th. But there is no reason to believe that Obama supporters would be more likely to shrug the primary off than Clinton supporters, not to mention that there is a similar discrepancy between primary and caucus results in Texas, confirming that it is not that crazy to take the WA primary results as a point of comparison of what an OR primary might do.

    By Blogger Taniel, At 02 May, 2008 03:57  

  • I'm sure that Zogby makes Barack feel better but he shouldn't let it go to his head. A cocky attitude can go a long way to ruining his chances.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 02 May, 2008 07:12  

  • Remember PA was a closed primary and Clinton only won by 9% when in OH she won by 10% and that was a not a closed primary and demographically slightly less favorable to her. Therefore her PA victory was not that great.

    If Obama keeps his IN loss to 5 or less and wins NC by double digits then that will be a great result and with even more SD's declaring the primaries will alsmot be over. WV and KT are GOP states and as Clinton said in February - who cares about winning red states in the primaries (especially small ones).

    By Anonymous Mike, At 02 May, 2008 07:47  

  • Ev's are like delegates - not always representative of the popular vote. Therefore he knows the game. Clinton is the one who messed up on pledged delegates and thought it would be over Feb 4th.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 02 May, 2008 09:55  

  • Zogby called me last night in NC. I told the researcher that I was voting for Hillary Clinton, and the caller said "Really? Are you sure?".

    I wouldn't put too much credence in this poll. It appears that I was being coached into saying certain things.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 02 May, 2008 13:39  

  • No the caller was just amazed that anybody could support her!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 02 May, 2008 14:38  

  • This damned, hypocritical nation needs to stop voting by emotions. Enough of the Hillary and Obama shifting polling results because they primarily reflect the candidates' association with individuals they have nothing to do, hence the guilt by association.
    If Wright is really an issue for voters, they must recognize that almost every president is associated with a certain individual or group that espouses ideals contrary to mainstream American values. We have to stop being "value voters" and be more compassionate and emphasize leadership of our nation by someone with the integrity, honesty, and sound judgement, not their association with individuals in the local community (almost all of the men Obama is accused of being associated with live in Chicago, while Hillary's associates do not live in the same ciy where she lives).
    We are livng a culture of increasing -- not decreasing -- prejudices as the world becomes more globalized. We are also living a culture of fear and ignorance by condoning the tactics and ideologies of our leaders. In doing so, we are learning to be hating of others, not compassionate as Bush said this week.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 02 May, 2008 15:03  

  • Zogby called me last night in NC. I told the researcher that I was voting for Hillary Clinton, and the caller said "Really? Are you sure?".

    I wouldn't put too much credence in this poll. It appears that I was being coached into saying certain things.

    I don't know about that; perhaps the caller had the same response for people who said they were voting for Obama!

    By Blogger dsimon, At 02 May, 2008 16:33  

  • It's true--Zogby has a bias for Obama.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 02 May, 2008 18:58  

  • Zogby threw its poll by asking leading questions? Of course, and what a lot of sniper fire there must have been in Bosnia. And the gas tax holiday is an adequate solution for the gas crisis.

    By Blogger Cindy, At 03 May, 2008 12:34  

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