Hillary Clinton | Video
New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is leading in polls – for now – in four of the six Democratic primary states that vote between now and the end of May, while Illinois Sen. Barack Obama holds a commanding lead in one.
The biggest of the prizes – Pennsylvania with its 188 delegates – votes April 22. Clinton has been leading there for weeks but new surveys out Tuesday suggest that lead may be eroding.
Two other new surveys – for Indiana, which votes May 6, and Kentucky, whose primary is May 20 – also show Clinton in the lead, and a survey last week had her ahead in West Virginia which votes May 13.
Obama’s biggest advantage is in the May 6 North Carolina primary where polls have shown him comfortably ahead. North Carolina has 134 delegates.
No recent poll was available for Oregon which votes May 20.
Taken together, these states account for 554 delegates. Clinton’s campaign faces the challenge of making a big delegate haul given that the latest Associated Press tally shows Obama ahead of her by 1,624-to-1499 delegates, with 2,024 needed to nominate.
By the Numbers
In the battle for Pennsylvania, Rasmussen Reports has Clinton’s lead over Obama down to 47 percent to 42 percent in a survey conducted March 31. The margin of error is 4 points. But SurveyUSA still has her ahead of Obama with a double-digit lead of 53 percent to 41 percent. This poll was conducted March 29-31.
Both pollsters agree that Clinton’s lead is shrinking since their last survey. Rasmussen’s March 24 poll had Clinton ahead 49 percent to 39 percent, and she had been leading in its March 12 poll by 51 percent to 38 percent. A Franklin & Marshall poll conducted March 11-16 had Clinton ahead 51 percent to 35 percent. The erosion of Clinton’s lead could be due in part to Obama’s decision to make a serious push in Pennsylvania in hopes of a knock-out blow despite the long advantage she has held there.
The Rasmussen poll says only 56 percent of Clinton supporters say they would vote for Obama over McCain if Obama wins the nomination compared with 40 percent who said they would not likely vote for him. If Clinton won, 69 percent of Obama supporters would vote for her compared with 29 percent who would not.
Fifty-four percent of voters named the economy as the top issue and, of those, Clinton has a 16-point lead over Obama, Rasmussen says. Among the 19 percent who named Iraq, Obama has a 17 point advantage.
SurveyUSA says the major factor in Clinton’s declining lead was a swing to Obama by men voters. The pollster also says Clinton is heavily favored by voters who are most concerned about the economy.
In North Carolina, two polls had Obama with a commanding lead.
An American Research Group poll released Monday showed a 13 percentage point lead for Obama among Democrats. He leads Clinton 51 percent to 38 percent, and has a solid margin among men, women and African-American voters. There is no appreciable difference in his lead among the 18-49 age group and the 50-and-older group, getting 51 percent of support with each cohort in the latest statewide poll.
Clinton still has an advantage among white voters, currently sitting at 49 percent support to Obama’s 37 percent. Twenty-two percent of respondents said that they would never vote for Obama in the state’s primary, and 30 percent of respondents said the same about Clinton. The poll was conducted March 29-30 and the margin of error is 4 percentage points.
In a Public Policy Polling survey conducted March 29-30, Obama leads 54 percent to 36 percent. PPP’s Dean Debnam noted that Obama runs strongly among voters who never have participated in a primary, leading among that group by 60 percent to 32 percent. The economy and jobs are cited as the most important issue by 48 percent of likely Democratic voters with Iraq second at 25 percent. Clinton has a 53 percent to 36 percent lead among white voters (57 percent of the sample) while Obama leads among black voters (36 percent of the sample) 81 percent to 11 percent.
Clinton has a 52 percent to 43 percent lead over Obama in Indiana whose primary is coming up on May 6, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted March 29-31. The margin of error is 4.3 percent. Obama has a big lead among voters under 34, but Clinton bests him in all other age groups by significant margins. Clinton leads among white voters (86 percent of the sample) by 58 percent to 37 percent while Obama leads among black voters (11 percent of the sample) by 79 percent to 21 percent, which is a better showing for Clinton among blacks than she has enjoyed in other states. The economy was named as the top issue by 44 percent of voters, with the majority of those favoring Clinton. Iraq was next at 18 percent and the two ran evenly among those voters. Health care was third at 15 percent and Clinton had the advantage there. Indiana has 72 delegates.
In Kentucky, Clinton has a 2-to-1 lead, SurveyUSA said based on a poll conducted March 28-30. Clinton has big leads in all age groups. She is ahead of Obama by 3-to-1 among white voters (89 percent of the sample) while Obama leads among black voters (8 percent of the sample) by 80 percent to 18 percent. Nearly half of the voters cite the economy as the top issue and they go for Clinton by a 3-to-1 tally. Clinton has double-digit leads over Obama on health care and Iraq, each cited by 14 percent of voters. Kentucky has 59 delegates.
A March 20 poll in West Virginia gave Clinton a big lead over Obama in West Virginia, according to Rasmussen Reports which conducted the survey March 13. She’s ahead 55 percent to 27 percent. West Virginia Democrats believe by a 48 percent to 31 percent margin that Clinton would be the stronger general election candidate. The top issue here, like everywhere else, is the economy, cited as the No. 1 concern by 51 percent of likely primary voters.