Looking at Clinton’s Swing State Advantage

Posted May 28, 2008 at 10:35am

Hillary Clinton matches up more strongly against John McCain than does Barack Obama in swing states, according to a Gallup analysis of its data gathered May 12-25. The is a broader look than the one Quinnipiac University presented last week where it also noted that Obama faced big challenges in the swing states of Pennsylvania, Florida and Ohio. Swing states are defined as those where the presidential outcome in 2004 was five points or less. You can check out polls for specific states in CQ Politics’ State-by-State General Election Match-Ups.

While digesting this, you might check out the Boston Globe piece today on whether Obama can “re-do the map” in a set of traditionally Republican states where he plans to compete.

Here are some of Gallup’s findings in a nutshell:

– Overall, in the 20 states where Clinton has won the popular vote in primaries or caucuses, she leads McCain 50 percent to 43 percent with 7 percent undecided while McCain edges Obama 56 percent to 45 percent with 9 percent undecided. The margin of error is 1 percent. However, in the 28 states and caucuses (including the District of Columbia) won by Obama, he fares no better than Clinton against McCain.

– Clinton’s swing state victories include Ohio and Pennsylvania and, with those, her states represent more than 300 electoral votes to 224 votes for states that Obama won.

– In 8 swing states including Florida and Michigan won by Clinton, she leads McCain 49 percent to 43 percent with 6 percent undecided while McCain leads Obama 46 percent to 43 percent with 11 percent undecided. When Michigan and Florida are removed, Clinton leads McCain 51 percent to 41 percent with 8 percent undecided while his margin over Obama remains the same as when they are still counted.

– In 6 swing states where Obama was the victor, he leads McCain 49 percent to 41 percent with 9 percent undecided while Clinton runs about even with McCain.
– In the seven usually-Republican southern states, McCain leads Clinton by 4 points and Obama by 14 points in popular vote.

– Gallup’s conclusion? A kind of unclear verdict. Gallup says based on her edge over Obama in the 20 states she won during the primary season, “Clinton appears to have the stronger chance of capitalizing on her primary strengths in the general election. However, just focusing on the swing states in Clinton’s and Obama’s respective win columns, the two are fairly similar…removing Florida and Michigan from the equation, her purple states are about comparable to Obama’s in electoral vote size, and thus the two appear more evenly situated.”