It’s now with a learned suspicion that I report on the latest round of polls to be release concerning the next states up for grabs in the Democratic primaries. Two Virginia polls came out, and they both pointed to an easy Barack Obama win. The first, conducted by the Insider Advantage, has Obama leading Hillary Clinton by 15 points – 52% to 37%. All the data for that one was taken on the 7th, so a little less than 2 days after Super Tuesday. The second poll was taken by SurveyUSA, and that has Obama up by 20 points to Clinton – 59% to 39%.
It’s interesting to note that while the Insider Advantage poll has an 11% uncommitted report, the SurveyUSA poll has only 2% for their uncommitted. It’s a somewhat strange disparity. The percentage of the lead is, but not exactly notable. You see, you only have to gather polling data in 2 different suburbs and you’re going to get different data. Both of these polls had over 500 respondents, which are higher than a lot of other polls that get flaunted. So the data is going to be somewhat reliable. But the difference in the uncommitted vote is very strange. Especially considering the wide margins Obama is leading by. You would think that it would be one or the other, too, at this point in time.
The second state to get polled was Maryland. Back in January, from the 6th to the 9th, the Baltimore Sun conducted a poll which showed Obama leading Clinton by 13 points even then – 39% to 26%. The 35% that is unaccounted for there is split between John Edwards, who was still running at the time, and the genuine uncommitted vote. That data would have been gathered after Iowa, and may very well have been suffering from the New Hampshire effect (where the polls for that state went up ridiculously high, only to see Obama lose the state). More recently though, SurveyUSA has released a poll on Maryland with data gathered from the 7th to the 8th of February. So this too is in the wake of Super Tuesday, though allowing 3 some days for respondents to digest all the information from the 5th. This poll has Obama leading by 19 points – 52% to 33%. This means that there’s a 15% uncommitted here.
Again, I see that 15% as rather high, given the state and the state of the race. It could just be that the old Edwards supporters still haven’t found a home in Obama or Clinton, and combine that with the genuine uncommitted. If trends are anything to go by, Obama will eat up 55%-60% of the Edwards supporters, taking away as much as 8% or 9% of that 15%. This would push him to a 60%+ number, giving him three-fifths of the delegates, and Clinton just two-fifths. With 70 delegates up for grabs (the state has 99: 70 tied to the vote, and 29 superdelegates (quite a lot of superdelegates I think)), a wide margin is good. Going on the three-fifths/two-fifths calculation, 42 would go Obama’s way, 28 to Clinton. And, again, after the vote, there would be a further 29 superdelegates up for grabs (assuming none have endorsed anyone yet – a fact not likely). With a difference, the gap would be closed, between the two, to a 50-something delegate difference including superedelegates.
And that’s going on Maryland being the very next stat. It isn’t: Washington, Louisiana, Nebraska, and the U.S. Virgin Islands all come before it on the 9th – these results will be coming in tomorrow – with Maine on the 10th. Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. are all on the 12th. Maryland, then, could be the state that gives Obama the lead on Clinton. It’s a very real prospect.
And here’s a little factazoid for my readers: This is the first Saturday post I’ve written since the 22nd of December.
And here is something else for everyone: Tomorrow Andrew and I fly up to Queensland for a week. I’ll seek out an Internet connection to at least check the results of the primaries that are coming in. If it’s easily accessible (that is to say, free) then I’ll try and write a post about them. We touch back down in Sydney the evening of Sunday the 17th. But I won’t be totally absent from blogging to then. I really will endeavour to post something while I’m up there. So keep checking in!