Obama Has Slight Edge In National Poll, Strong Lead For This Weekend

Barack Obama has a statistically insignificant lead in the latest Newsweek Poll:

On the Democratic side, Obama is the first choice of 42 percent of Democratic voters and those who lean toward the Democrats, while 41 percent support Clinton. A statistically significant number, 17 percent, still remain undecided. This may translate into good news for Obama, who carried Democratic-leaning independent voters 49 percent to 31 percent in the poll. Clinton performed better among registered Democrats; 45 percent prefer her, compared with 40 percent for Obama. Supporters of both candidates feel strongly about their choice. The survey found that 62 percent of Clinton supporters and 60 percent of Obama supporters feel strongly about their candidate.

Obama’s support is strongest among African-Americans (68 percent), college graduates (49 percent) and men (47 percent). Clinton enjoys more support among those with a high-school education or less (48 percent), whites (44 percent), women (44 percent) and voters 60 and older (44 percent).

Among all Democratic voters, Obama is seen as the more inspiring and exciting candidate (63 percent to 25 percent) and more able to bring the country together than his opponent (50 percent to 34 percent). But he enjoys only a small advantage when it comes to which candidate is seen as mostly likely to bring about change (44 percent to 38 percent), a major theme of both campaigns. Clinton, on the other hand is more apt to be seen as the candidate with the right experience for the job (62 percent to 22 percent) and ability to get things done (50 percent to 31 percent).

Supporters of both Obama and Clinton are equally likely to put the economy first (48 percent to 47 percent), while Obama supporters are more likely to consider the war in Iraq–which the Illinois senator has objected to from the outset–the more important factor (20 percent to 12 percent). Democratic voters across the board consider the economy and jobs the most important issue (46 percent), followed by health care (21 percent) and then Iraq (17 percent).

The Gallup Daily Tracking polls showed Obama with momentum in the days before Super Tuesday with Clinton suddenly moving back in the lead. The last few days following the Super Tuesday results have shown a trend back towards Obama.

In polls of this weekends events, Rasmussen has Obama with a large lead in Maryland (leading 57% to 31%) and Virginia (leading 55% to 37%). Survey USA has Obama leading 52% to 33% in Maryland and 59% to 39% in Virginia. The Insider Advantage Poll has Obama leading 52% to 37% in Virginia.

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