A new poll done over the weekend suggests that Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters may already be punishing Barack Obama for his “bitter” comments. An American Research Group poll released today finds that Clinton now leads Obama 57%-37% in the Keystone State.
The previous poll taken one week ago had the candidates tied at 45%. Clinton now leads Obama among men 48%-44%. She also has a commanding lead among women, 64%-31%. Whites will make up a large majority of primary voters, and Clinton leads them by a commanding 64%-29% margin. Obama leads 79%-18% among African American voters.
Clinton continues to lead among all age groups in the state. She leads with voters aged 18-49, 52%-43%, and she dominates voters over age 50, 62%-31%.
A couple of interesting findings were that 10% of all likely voters said that they would never vote for Clinton in the primary, while 24% said that they would never vote for Obama next Tuesday. Almost one quarter of the likely primary voters (23%) said that excessive exposure to Obama’s television advertising is driving them to support Clinton.
I think a word of caution needs to be delivered here. The American Research Group poll was out of line with other polls when it had the race tied last week. Most other polls had Clinton leading by an average of around six points, so it is possible that the two other polls coming out on Tuesday won’t show such a dramatic swing towards Clinton, but I suspect that this story will have a big impact on them too.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Clinton’s lead be in the neighborhood of 15%, meaning that this mess could cost Obama ten or more points with voters in the state.
Hillary Clinton needs a big win in Pennsylvania. A large win here lends viability to her campaign. As I have been saying all along, this state is Clinton country. She should be blowing out Obama here. The fact that she wasn’t was giving Obama momentum. North Carolina, with its large African American population, should be an easy win for Obama, so we will find out if this story extends beyond PA in Indiana.
What is clear though is that Obama definitely has a Pennsylvania problem now, and he needs to do more than send out his surrogates, and say he chose his words poorly, to address it. If he is the nominee, this is a state that he must have in the fall. He needs to put this to bed, now.