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Most Recent Numbers
Posted by: Dale Franks on Saturday, March 01, 2008

Here's the current polling averages from RCP:

REAL CLEAR POLITICS ELECTION 2008
DemocratsObamaClinton
Total Delegates13841279
Pledged Delegates11931038
Popular Vote10,305,4039,379,822
Popular Vote (w/FL)10,881,61710,250,808
Popular Vote (w/FL & MI)10,921,69910,601,049
National RCP Average48.5%41.3%
Ohio42.3%47.3%
Texas47.4%45.4%
Pennsylvania37.0%46.0%
RepublicansMcCainHuckabee
Total Delegates1019254
National RCP Average56.8%27.0%
Texas54.0%32.0%
General ElectionDemocratsRepublicans
Obama vs. McCainObama 47.6McCain 43.3
Clinton vs. McCainClinton 45.5McCain 46.3


Actually, the averages make things look better for Hillary Clinton than they actually are, because they include polls from a couple of weeks ago, i.e., before Wisconsin. The most recent polling numbers show the same sort of slide towards Obama that we've seen time and time again over the last ten primaries.

The two most recent polls for Ohio, which ended on 2/28/08, show Clinton with a 2-point lead, i.e. within the margin of error. Rasmussen has Clinton ahead of Obama 47-45, and Reuters/C-Span/Zogby has her ahead 44-42. A 20-point Clinton lead in Ohio has dropped to just 2 points within the last three weeks.

Her 16-point lead in Texas two weeks ago has turned into a 6-point deficit according to Reuters/C-Span/Zogby, with Obama ahead 48-42. Rasmussen has Obama ahead by 4 points at 48-44.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Clinton had a 14-point lead two weeks ago. But the most recent polls show her ahead by only 4 points in Rassmussen's polling at 46-42, and 6 points ahead in a Quinnipiac poll, at 49-43.

Time and time again, when you graph the poll numbers on a line graph over time, the line charts keep looking like an elongated X, as Clinton's numbers fall and Obama's rise.

This is not to say that she has no hope in Texas and Ohio—or, at least in Ohio, because of an interesting phenomenon that Jay Cost noted a few days ago. Clinton closes well. Among undecided voters, they tend to break for Obama, right up until election day, or a day or two prior. After that, they tend to break for Clinton.

Essentially, he theorizes that Hillary Clinton, having been nationally known for two decades, is the default candidate. Among those who simply can't make up their minds, the tendency seems to be to simply choose the default candidate on election day. In a neck-and-neck race like Ohio is turning out to be—and even in Texas, although that's less likely—that might be just enough to grant her the margin of victory.

It's about the only silver lining in an otherwise cloudy sky for her campaign. But, on average, 13% of the electorate are "day of election" deciders, and Clinton gets about 8% more votes than Obama does among them. Unfortunately, that translates into an increase of about 1% for the electorate as a whole, so for those "day of election" deciders to turn the election her way, it has to be close. Like, Florida 2000 close.

But, it's better than nothing, and, at this stage of the nomination race, she needs every percentage point she can get.

Note: Bruce and I will be podcasting the election results live via BlogTalkRadio on Tuesday, instead of doing our regular Sunday podcast.
 
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