Sunday, April 20, 2008

Zogby: Clinton 46, Obama 43

Two days before the Penn Primary. Rasmussen hasn't reported tracking info for Pennsylvania since Friday and I'm not sure if they'll make a prediction tomorrow (if they do I'll post and comment on it); but Zogby has an interesting find: Clinton, who had built up a one point lead over Obama from Wednesday's Diz-nee-bate to five yesterday, dropped back to three today (46 to 43), with Clinton losing a point and Obama gaining one. Margin of error is ±4.1% so the race remains deadlocked.

Zogby's methodology has gotten rather wonky as of late: He predicted a 14 point win for Obama in California and we know how that turned out -- Zogby only took into account those who actually voted on Super Tuesday. He didn't take into account the 1/3 of absentee voters who pulled overwhelmingly for Clinton. But he's been more often right than wrong, along with Scott Rasmussen, so those are the two polls I look at the most often.

The comments from John Zogby today about the tracking poll are rather interesting: Obama's strength is the area around Philadelphia and in the eastern and central regions; while Clinton is picking up around Pittsburgh. However, says Zogby:

[A] very close examination of these numbers over the five days we have been tracking shows that it is whites and Catholics who are undecided. They clearly do not like Clinton and are definitely not breaking for Obama. They compose a pretty big chunk of Democratic voters who say they will vote for McCain in the general election. If this small group of white/Catholic undecideds do not vote, Obama can win Pennsylvania if he is able to get out his base of young voters, African American voters, and very liberal voters. If those white / Catholics do vote, then they will probably vote for Clinton and she can conceivably meet the 10-point victory threshold that meets pundits' expectations. It looked like she was moving some of these voters after the debate, but today is a different story. Too soon to tell.

Clinton's lead with Catholics is huge: 58 to 26. Not very surprising given Catholicism and Methodism (to which Clinton belongs) have quite similar outlooks on many social welfare issues. But there's still 16% to fight over and I partly disagree with Mr. Zogby on this point: if undecided Catholics haven't made up their minds by now, I don't think they will vote at all on Tuesday; unless one candidate or the other manages to pull off a huge vote fixing scheme like Dick Daley Sr. did in Chicago back in 1960 with Kennedy vs Nixon (remember "vote early, vote often"?)

As for undecided white voters -- I'd look to those who have no religious affiliation at all, or have one but aren't serious about it. Slowly but surely they've pulled to Obama as they see the Clintons, both of them, as old school.

More importantly, Obama still has a huge donor base to build on, people who've donated only $50 or $100 a piece, well below the $4600 maximum allowed by law ($2300 for each of the primary and general seasons; and both nationwide). Clinton's donor base, on the other hand, Old Faithful if you will, has for many of her wealthy contributors hit that $4600 wall ages ago; and she doesn't have too many places left to raise money other than at MySpace and Facebook, something which Obama perfected early on.

The sit-at-homers are the Reagan Democrats who'd rather vote for McCain but won't bother at this time since he's got the GOP nom already. But I would have to agree with Mr. Zogby on the point that it's GOTV, GOTV, GOTV. And time and time again, Obama has made runaway states very close with a better overall turnout machine.

Tuesday will be a lot of fun, that will be for sure. Not just because I have a few acquaintances who were born in the Keystone State and / or live there. Barring an Eliot Spitzer type scandal breaking tomorrow, Obama should easily fall within a 10 point loss he said he needs to consider Pennsylvania a "win" for him. Right now, I'm going with a five point loss. Almost there, but didn't quite close the deal.

UPDATE (7:26 pm EDT, 2326 GMT): Mason-Dixon has Clinton up by five. Not sure about their methods, but there seems to be an across the board consensus that Clinton will win PA. The issue now is by how much.

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Steve V said...

There is a new Zogby out tonight, that shows Clinton's lead expanding, up a full 13 points in today's polling.


BlastFurnace said...

Thanks for the heads-up, Steve. I would note the rolling average only shows a 6 point lead for Clinton at this point, not 13. Also, as with some other previous states and after reading the commentary, I wonder if Zogby took into account absentee votes.

My guess is the volunteers for both camps have already cast their ballots -- and they might tell the real story come Tuesday.

S.K. said...

Actually her lead today was 15 points. 38-53 Zogby is calling a double digit win for Clinton.

John Zogby "A big one-day of polling for Clinton. If a 10-point victory is the
pundit-driven threshold she needs on Tuesday, it looks like she can do it. This does not look like a
one-day anomaly – undecideds dropped to only 5% in this latest single day of polling, and they are
breaking Clinton’s way. As I suggested yesterday, if white and Catholic voters, who still are the
biggest portion of undecideds, actually vote, Clinton will have her double-digit victory. Just today
alone, she polled 53% to Obama’s 38%."

Steve V said...

No problem, it was actually weird that he released today's results tonight, and not tomorrow. It's a six point lead, but it will grow tomorrow, once the last day falls off and today is fully impacted. Unless of course Obama has huge day tomorrow.

As far as absentee ballots, in the previous primaries they tended to break to who was leading early. If that is the case, you would think that favors Clinton, since she had a bigger lead a couple weeks ago.

Should be a fun night.