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Sunday, April 20, 2008

What Are the Polls Telling Us?

The political polls in this election year have been watched very closely by voters and the candidate campaign staff. The close race between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama for the democratic party nomination has added to this fascination of the polls.

One thing we know is that the poll numbers can vary dramatically by the pollster and the methodology used by them. We have seen the polls be off dramatically prior to the New Hampshire primary won by Senator Clinton. This led to the Clinton campaign using these poll numbers and her winning result to put out the spin she was the comeback kid. In reality, Clinton had been leading by double digits prior to the Obama win in Iowa. He did narrow the margin but he was never seriously expected to win a state Clinton had said was her firewall in the campaign.

Today's Daily Gallup Poll ( a national tracking poll) shows Clinton with a lead 46% to Obama with 45%. Gallup indicates this is the first time Clinton has led this poll since March 18-20. It is hard to say if this is a result of the hammering that Senator Obama has received or if people are paying a little more attention several days prior to the Pennsylvania primary. Obama currently leads Clinton in total delegates 1648 to 1508 with 2025 need to win the democratic party nomination.

Senator Clinton needs a solid win in Pennsylvania (10 points or more) to put to rest the growing whispers from her supporters that it is time for her to exit for the good of the democratic party. The Zogby poll dated 4-18 to 4-19 shows Clinton 46% and Obama 43%. The Obama campaign with a much larger campaign chest have outspent the Clinton campaign by a 3-1 to 4-1 margin in Pennsylvania. There is no doubt that a narrow win by Clinton would result in more pressure for her to drop out. A victory here by Obama would most certainly end the Clinton campaign so it is understandable that the Obama campaign is taking this approach in Pennsylvania.

It appears Clinton will win Pennsylvania, but by only a 52% to 48% margin with 60% of the 9-11% undecideds indicated in recent polls voting for Clinton.

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