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Obama Dropping in Gallup Tracking Poll

gallup_update_20080419.JPGUPDATE Saturday morning April 19, 2008 - Clinton has moved ahead 46% - 45%, and should make a further move ahead with the release of the third day of this three day rolling tracking poll on Sunday.

Gallup Poll Daily tracking shows that Hillary Clinton now receives 46% of the support of Democrats nationally, compared to 45% for Barack Obama, marking the first time Obama has not led in Gallup's daily tracking since March 18-20.

These results are based on interviewing conducted April 16-18, including two days of interviewing after the contentious Wednesday night debate in Philadelphia and the media focus that followed. Support for Hillary Clinton has been significantly higher in both of these post-debate nights of interviewing than in recent weeks. The two Democratic candidates are now engaged in intensive campaigning leading up to Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary and are under a continual and hot media spotlight, increasing the chances for change in the views of Democrats in the days ahead.

In just two days, since the debate Wednesday night, Barack Obama has dropped a stunning 5 percentage points in this national poll and Clinton's moved up 5%, suggesting that Obama defectors are not moving into the undecided camp, but crossing straight across to Clinton.

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The movement in these daily tracking polls is usually incrementally small, a point here and there in a single day, so it's time to sit up and take notice when there is a major shift following a major news event.

Last Wednesday's debate revealed a pathetically unprepared Barack Obama. Today's Gallup daily tracking poll shows the beginnings of a resulting change in public opinion. This is a three-day tracking poll, so it'll take another two days to see the full effect, but Obama's seven point lead has dropped to three points, a big shift in just one day.

Over a four-day period, which included additional controversy over Obama's arrogant "clinging to guns" remark, we're seeing Obama's lead drop from eleven points to three. Obama's total has dropped to 47, the first time it's dropped below 49 points in quite some time.

[The graph below charts the poll results as of Friday, April 18, 2008.]


The initial indications are that Obama may have been hurt by the debate, which was noted for its negative tone and focus on the candidates' recent "gaffes" and Obama's associations with the controversial Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers (a former member of the radical Weather Underground group).

In Thursday night's interviewing, Clinton received a greater share of national Democratic support than Obama, the first time she has done so in an individual night's interviewing since April 3. That stronger showing for Clinton helped to snap Obama's streak of statistically significant leads in the three-day rolling averages Gallup reports each day. Until today, he had led Clinton by a statistically significant margin in each of the prior 11 Gallup releases.

The full impact of the debate -- and the ensuing media coverage of it -- will be apparent in the coming days, and it will soon be clear if the debate has produced a shift back to a more competitive race, or if Clinton may have received just a temporary boost in support.

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Comments (9)

I'm not sure if Gallup uses "likely voters" or a three day rolling average statistics methodology like Rasmussen does. But Rasmussen and Scott Elliot then to be far and away the best predictors of an actual election outcome. But at this point, it is clear that John McCain has only been helped by the continued Obama/Clinton infighting and the media news reporting on petty things. I think it's highly likely Clinton win narrowly win Pennsylvania(Rasmussen has her leading by three points today) but she could drop out after a loss in Indiana and the Democrats can start the healing process and try to organize the party to hold on to Congress and to defeat McCain.

The favorable numbers continue to drop for both Clinton and Obama whenever they engage each other in verbal warfare and ignore McCain, but seem to rebound somewhat when they offer their own visions for leadership. This two-person race is destructive to the party at this point and only benefits the Republicans despite Iraq, oil prices and the economy. If Democrats cannot win with these events, then they simply threw away a golden opportunity.

Clinton's campaign really needed to compete in every contest after Super Tuesday, but instead largely concentrated on a few large states. And the Clinton campaign failed to proves as good at fundraising as well. Clinton may be a good candidate in many ways, but her campaign made too many fatal errors and she is simply too far behind at point to win over 60% of the remaining delegates to overcome her 527 delegate deficit with Obama just 381 delegates from victory and only 888 delegates remaining. Obama only needs to win something over 40% of the remaining delegates to win, which is a far more likely statistical outcome, especially with Pennsylvania and Indiana numbers close, and highly likely Obama wins in North Carolina, Montana and Oregon. Certainly this makes the 40%+ wins needed by Obama to capture just 381 delegates of far higher statistical probability than Clinton capturing 60%+ wins and overcoming a 527 delegate margin among the remaining 888 delegates yet to be chosen.

I studied both accounting and statistics in college, and I find just too many statistical issues that make it clear that Clinton cannot mathematically overcome her delegate deficit despite her 11th hour efforts. Clinton is often at her best when her back is up against a wall, but at this point it's most likely a clear case of too little, too late.

In 1976, Reagan attempted a similiar bid to wrest the nomination from President Ford that failed, and Democrat Jimmy Carter won the election. In 1980, Ted Kennedy hoped to best Jimmy Carter, but Republican Ronald Regan won the election. Two things are nearly certain at this point, Clinton won't be able to overcome her delegate deficit and the Democratic Party faces an uphill battle to defeat John McCain. That's the cold honest truth.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

If the media had given Clinton a fair shake over the last three months I'd be a bit more inclined to say Obama's earned the nomination, but clearly that isn't the case, and clearly he has not.

He's avoided the issues in debates, and he's flat out lied to the American people. Even if he obtains the requisite number of delegates that remains true.

And then there's Michigan and Florida, which Obama effectively blocked from a do-over. That would have settled a great deal, but Obama decided to stop the efforts to have those two states participate.

All of the above adds up to a highly flawed process of which Obama has had the advantage, and taken the advantage (ie. FLorida and Michigan).

He hasn't earned the nomination, and if I were Clinton I wouldn't concede to him.

I also disagree it is doing any damage to the Democrats chances in November. The party will unite after the nominee is chosen, both candidates have pledged to make that happen.

Until then, ever onward.

I certainly understand your frustration at the process, Lee. Michigan and Florida certainly were not handled very well by striping them of delegates as a penalty for moving up their primaries, and I wish Howard Dean would have handled this with a far better solution. And probably the media was caught up in the same public excitement that Obama once generated in the early days of this campaign with his "rock star" charisma and surprising Iowa surge and win. Clinton was a well known quantity, and likely got far less favorable news coverage because the opinions were more established about the Clintons. As a fresh candidate, Obama no doubt benefited from the mass public excitement that even carried over to the press as well. People in the press are voters too.

There are however some critical areas where the Clinton campaign itself managed to fall behind this primary season. Clinton failed to compete in every primary and caucus atate, and instead concentrated on a few large states. Giuliani did the same mistake by concentration on Florida and look where it got him. Also, the Clinton campaign failed to organize fundraising as well as the Obama camp and ended up with many millions less to spend. And now that she's behind in delegates, and there are some calls for her to quit, many donors are wary to contribute money.

Clinton was certainly a good enough candidate to become an effective president, however too many missteps by her campaign after Super Tuesday really damaged any real shot at winning the nomination. And certainly both Florida and Michigan will remain as real problems for the Democratic Party to solve. Florida is probably lost to the Republicans in November anyway, but Michigan is vital to any Democratic win. Without Michigan a Democrat loses.

Many other decent candidates like John Edwards, Christopher Dodd and Joe Biden also fell far short this primary season because of problems with their campaigns. It has probably been the real strengths of Hillary Clinton as a politician that she is still around at this late point despite the worst efforts of her campaign managers.

Interestingly, if the Democrats used the same "winner take all" primary process the Republicans use, Clinton would be leading in delegates right now, although trailing by 700,000 in popular votes to Obama. Little doubt this primary season will inspire some real thought among the national party to problems like Florida and Michigan and other issues.

J. Diamond:

i don't consider Hillary to be 700,000 votes behind in popular vote. those elections in FL and MI were valid and legal elections. if the DNC wants to decline to seat their delegates, then they do so at their own risk, but as for those democrats who cast their votes, there are no if's and's or but's about it... those are popular votes... it's media and obama campaign spin that exclude those votes when citing the popular vote totals. in a democracy you cannot just wave a magic wand and make votes disappear no matter how inspirational the golden boy is... if this nomination is concluded without counting FL and MI, then Obama's candidacy will be tainted and he will lose in november.

Hillary's campaign, led by Mark Penn, made one huge mistake. They ASSUMED they would blow out Obama on Super Tuesday, and didn't bother with even a token effort at organizing the caucuses in the small "red" states which followed, figuring there was no realistic chance in the fall in those states, so why waste the resources?

With the proportional rules, even a token effort would have garnered a significant share of those delegates instead of being swamped. Obama's delegate lead is almost entirely based upon his edge in those uncontested caucus states, most of which are beyond reasonable reach in the general election.

Nearly all of his popular vote lead comes from his huge margin in Illinois, and most of that from his home county, Cook County, where they know how to count votes . . .

Normally, I would be laughing at Democrats giving their nomination to this empty suit, but the media is so far in the bag for him he won't even be criticized for dodging questions and debates, and he might actually win. With no relevant experience at all . . . a public record of serial lying . . . associations with known criminals, terrorists, racists, and radicals . . . it's downright scary.

Steve Crickmore:

Still playing the terrorists meme=Democrats, Jim. Don't you have any idea the destruction people like and your party the GOP have caused for the world with this insidious nonsense FOR FIVE YEARS AND COUNTING? I'm not sure who Lee suports anymore so strong is his miasma aginst Obama.

The war has been lost along time ago, that Iraq could ever resemble South Korea and Germany and even if McCain wins the election he will have a find a way to get out of Iraq that he is never promised to surrender. Don't you understand that as long as we stay there and don't give a firm timetable for leaving the Iraqis are never going to try and reconcile their problems as long as they can depend on Americvan gunpower and dollars.. And the so called terrorists are going to be emboldened because we are stuck in Iraq.. McCain in the last few years has is in the grip of neocons like Kristol. That is the downright scary part, despite what has gone on in the their desire to push the Bush Cheney Administration roll back the rogue states in the Middle East militarily by the US.. Iraq was to be the first of many and most necons still believe in the objective and US military efficacy for change in the region.

Lee Ward:

I'm short on time so I'm just going to address this one point and will try to get back to this thread later this weekend, but continuing my exchange with my pal Paul -- Paul wrote:

"Michigan and Florida certainly were not handled very well by striping them of delegates as a penalty for moving up their primaries, and I wish Howard Dean would have handled this with a far better solution."

My issue is with Obama. Dean could not move forward with the primary do-overs for Florida and Michigan without the consent and cooperation of both Obama and Clinton. If either Obama or Clinton refused to put their name on the ballot and/or refused to campaign in those states for the re-do then a re-do was pointless. A re-do was possible only if Obama and Clinton both wanted it.

Clinton did - and Obama didn't. Those two states -- both of which would have sung to Clinton's favor - were not allowed to participate in the candidate selection process because Barack Obama didn't allow it.

Those voters don't count, and that's Barack Obama's fault, not Howard Dean's. And Obama's current frontrunner status is owed in part - a significant part - to his blocking of the Florida and Michigan primary do-overs.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

See update at the top of this post. Clinton has now moved ahead 46%-45%. In just two days, since the debate Wednesday night, Barack Obama has dropped a stunning 5 percentage points in this national poll, with Clinton moving up 5%, suggesting that Obama defectors are not moving into the undecided camp, but crossing straight across to Clinton.

As I attempt, bleary eyed, to comprehend the vastness of the Lewis Caroll'esque quality of the Democratic Primary season, I am left farklempt. Nothing makes any sense whatsoever and I find my predilection for prediction wan.

As a self-appointed guru and psychologist, I am seeking a nomenclature for the strange symptomic patter and flat affect expressed by the walking dead Obamamites. Where are the pods, I ask myself, crisply wandering through the empty stalks and husks of what were once my friends. My Larry David peer attempting to see inside their long lost soul.

Some form of Stocklholm syndrome, no doubt. Perhaps a derivation of necromancer, or dare I use the caveat: Zombie?

My marching orders have yet to arrive from the front. I am placing the wooden planks over my windows knowing that they are out there, eating flesh and marrow as they wander silently towards Pennsylvania Avenue.

God help us.

May Hilary have mercy on our shoes.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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