Clinton Ahead in Pa., But Polls Differ Again on How Much

Posted April 20, 2008 at 2:47pm

Three polls are out today on the Pennsylvania race: one giving Hillary Clinton a 13 point lead, one a 5 point lead and the third a statistically insignificant 3 point edge.

Clinton has a 48 percent to 43 percent lead over Barack Obama with 8 percent undecided, in a McClatchy/MSNBC/Pittsburgh Post Gazette poll conducted April 17-18. The margin of error is 4 percent. The Gazette said, “The findings suggested that after six weeks of campaigning against a significantly better funded candidate, Mrs. Clinton retains the opportunity for a tactical victory.” A piece in the Boston Globe also underlined the importance of undecided voters, noting that in three Pennsylvania polls conducted last week, this group made up 9 percent to 13 percent, and the Globe observed: “Through 27 contests where exit polling on late deciders is available, Clinton has won those voters in 20.” However, among those voters who have made a choice, 92 percent of both Obama and Clinton supporters said they would stick to it.

NBC Political Director Check Todd also saw signs in the poll that undecideds could break for Clinton and said, “While the poll shows Clinton with a narrow lead (and arguably a narrowing lead), the clues inside the numbers indicate this is her race to lose and that her lead could expand.”

In the other two polls:

American Research Group says its April 17-19 survey shows Clinton ahead 54 percent to 41 percent with a 4 point margin of error.
Zogby reports its April 18-19 survey has Clinton ahead 46 percent to 43 percent, which is within its 4.1 percent margin of error.

In the McClatchy poll, Clinton’s beer-and-a-shot moment did not seem to do her much good. This was the first time we saw a poll that broke out beer drinkers as a demographic, but the survey says that Clinton and Obama were in a 44 percent each tie among the 28 percent of voters who identified themselves as beer drinkers. Her story about her gun-toting Pennsylvania childhood may have done her more good: among the 38 percent in the poll who said they were gun owners, Clinton led 53 percent to 28 percent. Clinton also led 56 percent to 31 percent among the 16 percent of voters who said they were hunters and 54 percent to 33 percent among the 24 percent of respondents who said they were bowlers. Is this the class divide that a Boston Globe article discusses today?