Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of New York leads party rival Barack Obama of Illinois by a narrow margin in the all-important Pennsylvania primary heading into the final stretch before Democrats there head to the polls April 22, a fresh Newsmax/Zogby telephone poll shows.
Clinton wins 47 percent support to Obama’s 43 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, the survey shows. Another 2 percent are still holding out for someone else, while 8 percent said they are yet undecided.
Clinton enjoys strength in western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh, and central Pennsylvania, including Harrisburg, both regions of which are heavily populated by conservative Democrats. Obama enjoys an edge in the eastern part of the state, including Philadelphia.
Obama leads among younger Democratic Party voters, while Clinton leads among older voters. The age break point appears to be age 35. Among those likely voters under age 35, Obama leads by a 61 percent to 32 percent margin, while Clinton leads among those over age 35 by a 50 percent to 39 percent margin.
It is important to note that Pennsylvania’s pool of likely voters over age 35 is much larger than the pool of voters younger than age 35.
The Newsmax/Zogby survey was conducted April 9-10, 2008, and includes 1,002 likely Democratic primary voters using live telephone operators calling from Zogby’s in-house call center in Upstate New York. The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2 percentage points.
Among men, Obama leads Clinton by a 48 percent to 40 percent margin, while Clinton leads among women, 53 percent to 39 percent. Among men, 9 percent are undecided, while 7 percent of women have yet to make up their minds.
Race is playing a big factor in the contest here. Obama leads among African-American voters, 77 percent to 21 percent for Clinton. But among whites, Clinton leads by a 53 percent to 36 percent margin. Among Catholic voters, Clinton wins 62 percent support, compared to 29 percent support for Obama. But among Protestants, Obama leads Clinton, 50 percent to 40 percent.
The Newsmax/Zogby survey shows two issues dominate in the minds of Pennsylvania Democrats: First and foremost the economy, and to a lesser degree, the war in Iraq. More than half, 53 percent, said the economy was their top concern in making a choice for the nomination, while 32 percent said the war was their top concern. This was the case in every region of the state and among every age group in the state.
On the question of which candidate is most likely to help the respondent’s personal financial situation, Clinton held a small edge over Obama, 41 percent to 36 percent. She held a slight edge among men on the question, and a slightly larger single-digit advantage among women. Asked which of the candidates would do the most for the middle class, Clinton held a statistically insignificant 44 percent to 42 percent advantage.
By a small margin, these Democratic voters said they think free trade is bad for Pennsylvania. While 40 percent said it was bad for the state, 37 percent said they thought was good. Another 24 percent said they were not sure.
In the March 4 primary contest in Ohio, Clinton and Obama fought bitterly over the pros and cons of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the subject became a central issue in that election. Clinton easily won the state of Ohio, whose demographic make-up is similar to that of Pennsylvania.
Just 7 percent of likely Democratic voters said they felt the nation is headed in the right direction — a fairly typical result based on other Zogby polling.
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