Poll Update: Obama Closing the Gap in PA

ImageAccording to a new Quinnipiac University poll, Hillary Clinton has seen her lead drop by three more points in Pennsylvania. The margin is now 50%-41% in favor of Clinton. A little more than two weeks ago the same poll had Clinton up 53%-41%.

Notice that Obama’s support has remained stable, but Clinton has lost ground. This is a trend that has been visible in other states throughout the Democratic primary campaign. It would appear that the more of Hillary Clinton voters actually see on the campaign trail, the more underwhelming she is.

The contest in the state is still strongly split along racial lines. Clinton leads among white voters 59%-34%, while Obama leads among African Americans 73%-11%.Clinton still dominates Obama among women 54%-37%, and both candidates are tied among men at 46%.Clinton and Obama rank the same in terms of favorability. Obama has a 49% favorable rating compared to Clinton’s 48%.

Clinton’s strength in the state is with older voters, female voters, and Reagan Democrats. The economy is far and away the most important issue to PA voters (46%). The war in Iraq (23%), and healthcare (14%) were the second and third most important issue. Clinton still leads Obama among all age groups in every region of the state except Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania voters believe by a 60%-36% margin that she is the Democrat that can win in November. Evidence of Clinton’s underwhelming work on the campaign trail can be seen in the fact that voters see Obama as the candidate who can inspire by an 80%-11% margin. Clinton has lost an 18 point lead since Valentine’s Day, but she still isn’t in any danger of losing the state, yet.

I have seen a lot written about a Public Policy Polling (PPP) poll that has Obama with the lead in the state. PPP polls have had problems with reliability and methodology in the past. Please keep mind that, of the ten or so major polls taken in the state, this is the only one that has Obama trailing by less than nine, but what makes me question the results even more is that it has Obama in the lead. Now either every other major poll in the state is wrong, or the PPP poll is flawed.

My guess is that the result is so out of line because of an issue in the sample used. I looked at the PPP statement on the poll and there was no description of methodology. This makes me think that they know there is a problem in the poll.

Realistically, Obama won’t win PA. The main reason being that the state’s demographics are against him, Pennsylvania is 85% white, and contains fewer than average young people and college grads. Women and older voters will come out strong for Clinton.

If she stays tied with him among men, this will be more than enough to carry her to victory. Clinton should blow out Obama here, and if she doesn’t this should tell you more about her weakness than Obama’s strength, because so far Obama has failed to connect with the older voters whose support is vital to victory in the Keystone State.

Full Poll Results:


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