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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Clinton’s Poll Edge Over Obama in Big States

The Clinton campaign has been making a case that she has done better than Obama in primaries and head-to-head vs. McCain polls in “swing states.” It’s a credible argument, as far as it goes, although “swing states” can be a pretty fluid designation. I was wondering if it might be worthwhile to take a look at a more permanent designation — the ten largest electoral vote states — to see which Dem does better vs. McCain, using the most recent Rasmussen Polls (conveniently-presented at Pollster.com). I won’t compare primary results here, since some are not so recent.
First, there is a three-way tie between GA, NJ and NC for 9th rank in e.v.’s, so we’ll look at recent poll averages among LV’s in “the big 11”, in order (electoral votes in parens):

CA (55) Clinton 54, McCain 35; Obama 52, McCain 38
TX (34) C 43, M 49; O 43, M 48
NY (31) C 60, M 31; O 52, M 35
FL (27) C 47, M 41; O 40, M 50
IL (21) No recent Rasmussen data, but Obama has an 18 point advantage over HRC in SurveyUSA’s Feb. poll.
PA (21) C 47, M 42; O 43, M 44
OH (20) C 50, M 43; O 44, M 45
MI (17) C 44, M 44; O 44, M 45
GA (15) C 37, M 48; O 39, M 53
NJ (15) C 42, M 45; O 45, M 46
NC (15) C 40, M 43; O 45, M 48

Clinton does better than Obama against McCain in 7 of the 11 states with the most electoral votes. Obama does better than Clinton against McCain in 3 of the top e.v. states, with no difference in the margin in one state (NC). McCain leads both Dems in 4 states, and beats Obama in 4 more, but loses to Clinton in those 4. The consolation for both Dems, and Obama in particular, is that the margins are often very small/within m.o.e. Both Dems, especially Clinton, have a big edge in the top five e.v. states. Obama does run strong in the mid-ranking and below e.v. states, and in a close election, even the smallest e.v. state could make the difference. Nonetheless, our candidate has to be competitive in the top 10 to win. There is every reason to expect that McCain’s leads will evaporate under the glare of the spotlight when the race narrows to the two nominees, given the stark weakness of his Iraq and economic policies.
It seems fair to infer, based solely on this limited and highly qualified poll data, that Clinton would be the stronger candidate v. McCain in the top e.v. ‘mega-states’, were the general election held today. I suspect that poll averaging would reveal something similar. However this does not take into account, like Clinton’s ‘electability’ argument, that voters may turn on her in decisive numbers if Obama is denied the nomination after complying with all of the rules fair and square and winning a majority of both the popular vote and the non-supers. Still, I can’t yet blame her for hanging in there and pumping up her creds, assuming she will campaign actively for Obama after the delegates vote and he clinches the nomination. There is also a counter-intuitive argument that her refusal to quit before the convention is actually a good thing for Obama in November because his chances of winning over her supporters are better if it’s clear that she had — and took — every opportunity.

2 comments on “Clinton’s Poll Edge Over Obama in Big States

  1. Cugel on

    Perhaps things have changed since this was posted. Look at the latest PA numbers in reverse order:
    Rassmussen 5/21 Obama +2
    Quinnipiac 5/17 Obama +6
    SurveyUSA 5/17 Obama +8
    Susquehanna 5/4 Obama +7
    Quinnipiac 4/26 Obama +9
    You have to go back to Rassmussen 4/23 to find a poll in PA where McCain is leading. He’s not going to be leading on election day either.
    In MI, Obama has led in 3 of the last 6 polls and McCain has barely led within the margin of error in the other three. Hillary hasn’t led at all. So, you’d have to say that Obama is stronger in MI too.
    In Ohio, certainly Hillary is probably stronger, for what little that’s worth (although the latest polling — 5/17 shows Obama either +9 or down -4 depending on whether you believe SurveyUSA or Quinnipiac respectively.
    The latest results look like the Democratic party is coming together to me, despite the bitter Hillary supporters on the internet who vow never to vote for Obama.

  2. MadamMijanou on

    No one but the Democratic Strategist and Bill Clinton are reporting on these polls. Saturday should be one of the most important dates in American History! The Special Super Delegates or whomever they may be, have this countries lifeblood in the palm of their hands.
    To me, the question is simple, do we choose a very articulate 1/2black 1/2white man with soaring rhetoric and the ability to change not only this country, but the world. A man that world leaders will look with reverance upon. Or do we choose a White Woman with first class experience as First Lady, also with rhetoric that can touch the heart of the world and with the plus and use of her husband, (who history will show for all his personal foibles,) was one of the best presidents this country ever produced. She’s strong, and if anything, no one doubts she is up to the task to be the first woman president of the United States.
    Once again, it’s not that difficult a choice for this democrat. The reason, “I’ve never met a man that didn’t disappoint me”….I’ll stick with Hillary thank you very much. Should she not be my parties nominee, I will have every right to write in my vote, and it will be for “Experience”.


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