Tags: Newsmax | Zogby | Pa | race

Newsmax/Zogby Tracking: Pa. Race Suddenly Tightens

Saturday, 19 Apr 2008 09:37 PM

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UTICA, New York – New York’s Hillary Clinton remains barely ahead of rival Barack Obama of Illinois leading up to Tuesday’s presidential primary in Pennsylvania, a new Newsmax/Zogby daily tracking poll shows.

Her advantage is a statistically insignificant three points, 46% to 43%, over Obama, as support in the race ebbs and flows within a tight margin – she led by five points yesterday.

The two-day tracking survey, which was conducted April 18-19, 2008, included 11% who were either undecided or supported someone else.

The telephone survey, conducted using live operators working out of Zogby’s on-site call center in Upstate New York, included 607 likely Democratic primary voters in Pennsylvania. It carries a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points.

The daily tracking in the Keystone state will continue through Monday evening, with the final release issued early on Election Day.

Pollster John Zogby: “Okay, so let’s play Confound the Pollsters. Obama, who polled a mere 40% yesterday had a good today at 46% to Clinton’s 44%. We quadruple-checked our Saturday sample and it is solid. Perhaps the buzz from both his San Francisco statements and the ABC debate has subsided.

He picked up a few more points in Philadelphia and the east, where he has been leading, in the central state area, and up-ticked a bit with men.

Clinton seems to have added a few points in the Pittsburgh region. But a very close examination of these numbers over the five days we have been tracking shows that it is whites and Catholics who are undecided. They clearly do not like Clinton and are definitely not breaking for Obama.

They compose a pretty big chunk of Democratic voters who say they will vote for McCain in the general election. If this small group of white/Catholic undecideds do not vote, Obama can win Pennsylvania if he is able to get out his base of young voters, African American voters, and Very Liberal voters.

If those white/Catholics do vote, then they will probably vote for Clinton and she can conceivably meet the 10-point victory threshold that meets pundits’ expectations. It looked like she was moving some of these voters after the debate, but today is a different story. Too soon to tell.”

As Zogby mentions, this latest Newsmax/Zogby two-day tracking poll shows Obama had a good day in eastern Pennsylvania, where he campaigned at several stops. Meanwhile, Clinton retains a big lead in western Pennsylvania and a sturdy lead in central Pennsylvania, including the state capital of Harrisburg.

But in every demographic group, the race has become remarkably stable. Clinton leads by 11 points among women, while Obama leads by 7 points among men. Obama leads among those under age 54, while Clinton holds an edge among those age 55 and older.

She leads among Catholics, 58% to 26%, reflecting a small gain for Obama. But Clinton gained among Protestants yesterday and now trails Obama by 14 points. The two religious demographic groups are roughly the same size in Pennsylvania.

Among the very liberal Democratic Party voters, Obama leads by 19 points, up 7 points over yesterday. Clinton leads by a small margin among mainline liberals, and by larger margins among moderates and conservative Democratic primary voters.

The economy continues to be the most important issue to voters, and they continue to favor Clinton over Obama in terms of choosing a candidate who would both help their personal financial situation, and help the U.S. economy at large.

Clinton was also seen as the candidate who better understands Pennsylvania – 56% said as much, while just 29% said Obama better understands the state, this most recent polling showed. However, Obama made a small gain on this question in the last day’s polling.

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