Obama Showing Momentum In Several States, Leads in California Zogby Poll and Erasing Gender Gap

I’ve had a series of posts following Gallup’s national three day tracking polls since Super Tuesday comes closest to being a national event. These polls have shown that the results of Super Tuesday are too close to call as Obama has erased Clinton’s previous huge lead in the national polls. Looking at the state polls also shows momentum for Obama with the two candidates now being very close.

California was once considered a safe state for Clinton, but the latest Zogby poll now shows Obama moving into the lead. Nobody expects Clinton to lose New York, but she can no longer count on support from neighboring states with the two tied in New Jersey. Obama leads in many southern states, and they are tied in Missouri. A Field Poll out of California shows Clinton and Obama virtually tied in California.

With the polls this close it is also difficult to predict who will pick up the most delegates as in many states they are awarded based upon winning Congressional districts. Regardless of who picks up the most, it certainly doesn’t look like either candidate will be able to pick up enough delegates to clinch the nomination. Those states which have resisted the temptation to move up their primaries might wind up becoming the more important battle ground states for the nomination.

One reason that the races are getting tighter might be that Clinton’s gender gap is no longer as great as it was. Gallup found:

Comparing the three-day average of polls conducted Jan. 18-20 to the three-day average of polls conducted Jan. 28-30 shows that while Clinton’s level of support among men has essentially stayed the same, she has lost 8 points among women. At the same time, Obama has gained 6 points among men, but has gained even more — 13 points — among women…

Whereas there was a 13-point difference between female and male support for Clinton in the Jan. 18-20 interviewing, there is now just a 6-point gap. And whereas Obama was operating with a 10-point deficit among women compared to his support among men roughly 10 days ago, that gender gap in support for Obama is now just 3 points. In general, the patterns of support for the two candidates by gender are much closer to one another than they were just 10 days ago. Gender now appears to make less of a difference.

The compressed campaign was once believed to work to Clinton’s advantage, and the Clinton campaign believed they could clinch the nomination on Super Tuesday. They have backed off from that belief, and the calendar now favors Obama if he can remain close on Super Tuesday. With only a narrow difference in the polls, and with a proportional division of the delegates, Obama has an excellent chance of remaining close behind Clinton even should Clinton still manage to win the majority of the states on Super Tuesday.

Obama does best when voters in a state can actually see him and hear his views. After Super Tuesday there are less states at play each week, allowing Obama a chance to return to retail politics in many states. Many of the upcoming states are also ones which are expected to be more likely to vote for Obama than Clinton. There are more caucus states ahead, where Obama has a better ground game than Clinton. If Obama stays close on Super Tuesday he has an excellent chance to ultimately win. If his momentum is strong enough to actually pull ahead in the next few days he has the opportunity to take control of the race and place Clinton in a difficult position to recover from.

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1 Comment

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    John says:

    I hope things keep moving in Obama’s direction, but I’m very worried about the early voting. Obama would have won Florida if it hadn’t been for that. I read somewhere that close to 50% of California’s votes will be early ones. And the cruelest aspect of all is that early voting began the day after the Clintons won NH. Just saying. Let’s not let our hopes get too high.

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