Friday, April 18, 2008

Pre-Pennsylvania Primary Poll: Obama O-Belts it Out of the Park

In the latest Newsweek poll, released just before 4PM ET today, Barack Obama has a commanding lead nationally over Hillary Clinton among registered Democrats. This poll is remarkably different from a poll conducted by this same polling group in March, just after the Texas and Ohio primaries.

In March, Obama and Clinton were virtually in a dead heat in Democratic voters’ leanings, with a 45% to 44% split, a statistical tie. One short month later, however, Newsweek’s April poll illustrates a dramatic national shift toward Barack Obama, with new figures showing Barack Obama with a nearly 20 point lead over Hillary Clinton, with 54% of the voters opting for Obama, and 35% for Clinton.

Clearly Obama has gained the support of American Democrats, while at the same time Clinton has lost their support.

In Pennsylvania, with voters going to the primary polls in 4 days, recent polls show that the race is tightening, with a mere 5% difference between the two candidates; a far cry from the once-commanding lead that Hillary Clinton once enjoyed.

What actually plays out next week in Pennsylvania may be a moot point if these figures hold. Really, it’s probably impossible to know what is actually going to come out next Tuesday. Ten percent of the voters, according to the polls, have no opinion, a position that, quite frankly, defies all reason considering the fact that the news is filled with the actions and antics of both candidates each and every night.

Tack onto that the fact that the state has over 200,000 newly registered voters, most of them Democratic, and many of them new young voters. Voters whose personal habits do not include owning a “land line” to which pollsters are restricted in their calls. We don’t really know what these voters are going to do, do we?

Nuts and bolts. The poll was conducted over a two-day period from April 16th to April 17th, and recorded the answers of 1,209 registered Democrats. It has a 3% margin of error.

In a larger population, all voters were asked who they would opt for in November, with results showing effectively little difference in overall numbers, just that either Democrat would beat McCain by 4 or 5 points.

Really, at this point, who cares? McCain is running in this race unopposed right now. These numbers are fun to hear about, but that’s the extent of it.

What is more telling in this overall polling, is that Barack Obama polls over twice the number of independent voters than Clinton.

So what does all of this mean? All I can do is correlate it to what has happened over the past month, which is effectively nothing. Nothing other than things coming out in the news about each candidate and about how each candidate has reacted to that news.

Clearly the reaction has almost all been anti-Clinton.

Or pro-Obama. Or both.

Since there is no way for the elected delegate vote to tip the scales one way or another, how does a superdelegate take this news? Will a leak spring in the dike that is holding back the sea of uncommitted superdelegates? What is the trend over the past month? Consulting the premier site that keeps track of superdelegate endorsements, we find that since March 18th Obama has had a net gain of 18 superdelegates, and Clinton a net gain of 6 superdelegates.

My question is, is Obama’s 3 to 1 rate of gain in superdelegates indicative of anything?

Or is it indicative of everything?