The Skunk and Tiger

"Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge."-Horace Mann

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Latest PA & NC Polls Show Shifts To Obama

Posted by Ashish at 411mania
Did his race speech turn things around? Two new polls seem to indicate so...

Two new polls of Pennsylvania and North Carolina, the two biggest remaining states left, were released today and show momentum towards Barack Obama.

- First, Rasmussen now has Clinton up 49% to 39% in Pennsylvania. Last week, she led 51% to 38% and the week before she led 52% to 37%. This data is important for a few reasons. First of all, polls last week seemed to show Clinton expanding her lead in PA, probably due to the Wright controversy. Obviously that has now stopped, at least according to this poll, and Obama is now gaining, even if its only a slight gain. It should be noted that Obama has yet to even start major campaigning in the state. What kind of effect that has remains to be seen. It's also important because the media expectation that is building is that Clinton needs to blow Obama out of PA by 15-20 points. Last week it looked like she could do that. We'll see how the other polls look later this week. The other interesting thing to look at is the poll's favorability survey. Last week, 76% viewed Clinton favorably. This week, that number is down to 68%. Could the Bosnia lie be to blame? The poll was taken yesterday, so it's possible. Meanwhile, Obama's favorability was 72% last week and 71% this week. Considering all the hoopla around how Wright was going to wreck Obama's campaign, you'd think his favorability rating would have dropped more than 1% following a week of near non-stop coverage about Wright. Guess the media got it wrong...again.

- Second, Public Policy Polling now has Obama with a massive lead in North Carolina, 55% to 34%. Normally I wouldn't list a PPP poll since they aren't the most reliable in the world, but the reason I am is because just last week, they released a poll that had the race at 44% to 43% for Obama. That is obviously a HUGE shift towards Obama in just a week. According to the poll internals, the main reason for the shift is white voters. Last week, Clinton led among whites 56% to 30%. This week, that lead is down to 47% to 40%. The most obvious reason for this shift is Obama's praised race speech. Regardless of what she says from now until then, Clinton will have a near impossible time convincing anybody that she still has any sort of shot if she loses NC by more than ten points.

Now, the narrative has already been set that Clinton should win PA and Obama should win NC, but margins matter. Obama has stated that if he finishes within single digits of Clinton in PA, he'd view that as a victory, and the media may buy that. He seems to be in good shape to do that if the Rasmussen poll is accurate.

As for NC, much of the media is now stating that Clinton will have to win PA, Indiana, AND NC to stay in the race. This idea formed largely due to polls last week showing Clinton close in the state. But if this PPP poll is right and she is roughly 20 points behind, a loss that large in a state like NC would crush whatever momentum or hope she may have, or thinks she has. May 6th will be the last chance Obama will have to end this race early. If he wins NC and IN, it will be enough to get the media to stop giving Clinton a chance and will also force the party to consolidate behind him, especially after the Wright controversy. The media and the super delegates are likely to agree that if Clinton can't gain momentum after that (and winning PA won't be viewed as momentum at this point), she likely never will. Even a huge Obama win in NC may be enough to do that. Indiana will be the state to watch as it looks like a total toss up at this point.

The other point to note is that, as I've been saying in my previous columns, the Wright controversy has had no long term effect. It hurt Obama slightly last week, but he has now completely bounced back from it. An argument could even be made that the controversy may have HELPED Obama in religious states like North Carolina where many still feared that he was a Muslim. This controversy has killed off that rumor and also showed people his loyalty to his preacher, something people in religious states take very seriously.


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