A new Quinnipiac University poll of Pennsylvania Democratic primary voters found that Barack Obama’s bitter comments seem to have no impact on the state of the primary race, as Hillary Clinton maintained the same lead that she had last week 50%-44%.
As if it was possible, the contest has become even more polarized along racial lines. Clinton gained a point among white voters to lead 57%-37%, and Obama gained 11 points among black voters to lead 86%-8%. The problem for Obama is that the state is 85% white. The margin stayed almost the same among women, as Clinton now leads 54%-40% compared to last week’s 54%-41%.
Obama did widen his lead with men by four more points, 51%-43%. Voters under 45 support Obama 55%-39%, and older voters support Clinton 55%-40%. What the whole “bitter” flap seems to have done was grind Obama’s momentum to a halt in the state.
Obama still has a 30 point lead in Philadelphia, but he has virtually lost the 11 point lead that he had built in the city’s suburbs. In that part of the state, Clinton has cut his lead to 2 points. Clinton still leads in every other part of the state. 55% of PA Democrats believe that Obama will be the nominee.
A gigantic shift looms in the state if Obama does become the Democratic standard bearer in the fall. Hillary Clinton leads among the so called Reagan Democrats 55%-40%.
One quarter of all Clinton supporters and 33% of all male voters said that they would vote for John McCain in the fall if Barack Obama was the Democratic nominee. The problem with the Quinnipiac poll is that it started on April 9, which is two days before Obama’s remarks hit the news. We really won’t know the full impact of these comments until primary day.
As I wrote yesterday, Obama definitely has a Pennsylvania problem, and his campaign better get it together and address it now, or else John McCain could carry this state in the fall. There is no way that any Democrat can win in November without Pennsylvania. What is contradictory though, is that Democrats in the state list the economy and the Iraq war as their primary concerns. Democrats are solidly against the war, so it makes little sense that so many of them would support McCain.
The only logical conclusion is that a sizable number of the state’s Democratic voters don’t like Obama. His change message has not connected with a state which is mostly old and white. I don’t think it would be a surprise if Clinton won by double digits next week, but not by the 20 points that yesterday’s American Research Group poll has her leading by.
Full Quinnipiac Results: