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Newsmax/Zogby Tracking: Hillary's Pa. Lead Growing

Friday, 18 Apr 2008 11:18 PM

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Inch by inch, New York’s Hillary Clinton is building a lead over rival Barack Obama of Illinois leading up to Tuesday’s presidential primary in Pennsylvania, a key late contest on the road to determine who will win the party’s nomination, the latest Newsmax/Zogby daily tracking poll shows.

She now leads with 47% support, compared to 42% for Obama, just four days before the polls open. The two-day tracking survey, which was conducted April 17-18, 2008, showed that 11% were either undecided or supported someone else. This is the first of the tracking polls to be conducted entirely after the fiery Clinton-Obama debate Wednesday night.

On Thursday, Clinton led 47% to 43%, and on Wednesday by 45% to 44%.

Pollster John Zogby: “Undecideds are down to 8% and they have slowly begun to break for Clinton. Obama slipped in the one-day sample to only 40%. His lead in the eastern part of the state is still in double-digits but slipping, and his huge advantage among young voters is narrowing a bit. Clinton has a 39-point lead among Catholics and a 19 point lead among whites. She continues to get higher marks on ‘understanding Pennsylvania’ and handling the economy.”

This latest Newsmax/Zogby two-day tracking poll shows Clinton had a good day in central Pennsylvania, where she has moved ahead of Obama by 20 points, a significant improvement over earlier polling. In western Pennsylvania, she continues to enjoy a solid lead, while Obama continues to enjoy a double-digit lead in eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia.

Clinton has also been able to minimize her disadvantage among men while maintaining a solid lead among women. And she has closed the gap among likely Democratic primary voters age 35 to 54 – a key demographic in this race. Voters younger than age 35 heavily favor Obama, while voters older than 54 strongly favor Clinton.

She leads among Catholics, 63% to 24%, while Obama leads among Protestants by a 54% to 38% margin. The two religious demographic groups are roughly the same size in Pennsylvania.

Among the very liberal Democratic Party voters, Obama leads by 19 points, but it is the only philosophical demographic group that gives him the edge. 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.

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