25 Jan 2008

Polls, Polls, Polls

PollingReport.com has a nice selection of national opinion polls on the Democratic race for the Presidential nomination. Most of them show Clinton over Obama, about 40% to 30%, with Edwards a distant third with ~10% and then minor candidates and ‘unsure’ making up the remainder.

Obama does seem to be closing the gap, though I’m not sure it’ll be enough to actually bring in a win. The AP shows him increasing his lead almost 10 points (from 23% on 12/5/07 to 33% on 1/17/08) over the holidays, within reach of the front-runner.

The really odd poll in the bunch is one conducted by “Financial Dynamics” on Jan 10-12, which showed Clinton at 38% and Obama at 35%; essentially equal when uncertainty is taken into account. While it’s hard to be sure, the difference between these results and the AP / USA Today polls seems to be that it didn’t allow ‘Unsure’ as a choice; it forced respondents to pick one or the other. I think Clinton benefits from name-recognition here, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into votes, since many ‘unsure’ voters may not bother to vote in the primary anyway.

If slick Flash applets are more your cup of tea, USA Today has a neat Presidential nomination poll tracker (requires JavaScript and Flash). Its ‘poll of polls’ puts Obama strongly in the lead in South Carolina, still behind in Florida, approaching parity in California, and still significantly behind in New Jersey and New York (but with an upwards trend).

There seems to be a lot of speculation going around that the current focus on the economy will hurt Obama and help Clinton, but so far the polls don’t seem to be reflecting that. If he wins in South Carolina, as seems likely, Clinton may find it very difficult to maintain her national lead going into the remaining primaries and Super Tuesday.

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