With voting on the 4th of March, the latest (and probably the last) round of polls have come out. These will have been taken after the last debate, the attacks ads from Clinton, and the ‘Many Faces of Clinton’ performance over the weekend prior to the one just finished. So they will be more accurate than previous ones that were released through the week.
Starting with Texas, and last time I reported I was able to bring the news of Obama’s first poll lead in the Lone Star state. He had gained an 8% lead in 1 poll, and 4% in another. Through the week, a Reuters/Zogby poll put Obama at 48%, with Clinton behind by 6% at 42%. This was followed by a Fox News poll that had Obama up as well – 48% to 45%. A 3% lead there, but a lead nonetheless. Rasmussen found a 4% lead for Obama – 48% to 44%. And then, finally, American Research Group, which was the company that had the 8% lead for Obama a week ago, has Obama up by 7% now – 51% to 44%.
There were more, but they were all pointing towards another Obama victory. Then came the overnight polls, and they too indicated an Obama win. Reuters had a 4% lead 47% to 43%., up from the 2% lead they had him with on Saturday. Saturday actually had quite a few tight polls released – Obama by 2%, Clinton by 1% – which had shook up the blogs for a while, and certainly fed the news cycles that maybe the Clinton campaign isn’t dead just yet.
But that line of thought would have been blown out the water come the latest news cycle. Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson, a man whose endorsement as a superdelegate is being courted hard by both Obama and Clinton, came out and said:
I just think that D-Day is Tuesday.
And he went on to say that Clinton should pull out of the race if she doesn’t really impress on March 4. Richardson wasn’t the only one to say this either. John Kerry, who did endorse Obama, said the same sort of thing:
Hillary Clinton has to win a big victory in both Ohio and Texas. It’s not just winning a little bit. In order to close the gap on pledged delegates, she’s got to win a very significant victory.
And fellow endorser and superdelegate, not to mention an Illinois Senator himself, Dick Durbin, had a few things to say as well. Saying what a lot of us have been saying for some time, even if Clinton split the delegates, the rest of the calender puts her at a very bad place in terms of numbers and Obama’s advantage in the upcoming states. He went on to say:
If, in fact, there is no measurable change on Tuesday [she would need] extraordinary percentages in the remaining states. I hope ultimately she makes an honest appraisal of her chances. I hope after Tuesday her decision is made on the basis of the unity of the party.
Durbin had some numbers on hand as well. He said that if the two broke even in terms of pledged delegates won come the close of counting in Texas and Ohio she would need 62% of all the delegates yet to be decided to actually win the nomination. That might not sound that har, but rephrased: Obama only needs to win 38% of all the delegates yet to be decided. And considering the states coming up – Mississippi, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, South Dakota (all these Obama is expected to win) – then that 38% is going to shrink rapidly.
Turning to Ohio now, and what we have going on here (in terms of the polls) is identical to Texas, just lagging. Obama’s numbers in Ohio are where they were some 2 weeks ago in Texas. Clinton is leading, but only by single figures. I guess this (and Texas) proves the theory that the longer between states and the longer Obama can campaign in one place, the better his polling and votes become.
The best poll that came out in the past week for Clinton was a Fox News (so who knows how reliable it is) one that had her up by 8% – 46% to 38%. There is a huge uncommitted vote there that could turn things bad for Clinton though. More common though was a 5% lead or less. American Research Group had 50% to 45%, Clinton’s way, Rasmussen had 47% to 45%, Clinton’s way, and Reuters had 44% to 42%, Clinton’s way. The 2% leads are within the margin of error, so all these do is point towards a close contest.
I don’t think anyone is expecting Obama to turn around and win Ohio. Texas yes, but Ohio seems to have taken just a little longer to make in-roads. Maybe it’s the demographics there – very much suited to Clinton. Similarly, she had a massive lead there for a long period of time. While she had a big lead in Texas since last year, there was only ever one poll taken there, and that was the only way people positioned Texas as a Clinton ‘lock’. Public opinion could have swayed there some time ago, and we would have never known. But Ohio seems to have been consistently reporting as Clinton favourable. The race will be tight, but Clinton might just be able to net a few delegates more than Obama.
The way that Texas is structured though, there are scenarios where Clinton could win the popular vote, but still lose the delegate count to Obama. This, along with other crud that’s been happening in Texas, has led the Clinton campaign to threaten lawsuits against the Texas Democratic party to ensure that they don’t report on caucus results (that Obama always wins) for a few days later. This means that the news cycles won’t be nearly as negative as what they would be should Obama win Texas on delegate count.
And should that happen, the day will be a split. Vermont and Rhode Island haven’t changed, and Ohio and Texas will even each other out. With Bill Richardson’s statements, what we find is probably another subtle message from the Democratic party (like the Chris Dodd one) that she needs to win Ohio and Texas and by big margins in order to justify staying in the race. This won’t happen, and with superdelegates lining up behind Obama more frequently than Clinton (she has actually gained none and lost 6 through February, while Obama has gained 36), as well as some party ‘elders’, then surely she won’t be silly enough to stay in the race past March 5. I only say March 5 because it gives her a day to write the most effective concession speech.