Texas Poll: Democratic Primary Tie As Clinton Obama Divide Electorate
A new poll two days away from what many analysts believe will be one of a pivotal election 2008 primary in Texas shows Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in a virtual tie — and underscores how each candidate is winning over different parts of the electorate.
The Star-Telegram/McClatchy/MSNBC poll of likely Democratic primary voters finds 46 percent for Obama and 45 percent for Clinton with 8 percent undecided. It also finds that Hispanic voters and women are among Clinton’s strongest blocs. And that voters who want experience pick Clinton 93-3 and those who want change pick Obama 76-18. ”
Here are some more details:
Hillary Clinton is favored by Hispanics, women and lower-income Anglos. Barack Obama has basically sewn up the black vote and does well among men and wealthy suburbanites.
The result: It’s a Texas nail-biter on the eve of the Tuesday elections, according to a Star-Telegram/McClatchy/MSNBC poll of likely Democratic primary voters. It’s 46 percent for Obama and 45 percent for Clinton with 8 percent undecided. In statistical terms, that means it’s a dead-even contest in the largest state left to vote.
“It’s a close race,” said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the survey for the newspaper. “If you look at Texas, where the vote comes from is probably going to be the deciding factor.” ….
The paper notes that the poll shows a “gaping geographical” divide in support for the two Democrats:
Obama is the clear favorite in the Houston area, beating Clinton 54-38. The Illinois senator has also opened up a lead, albeit smaller, in the Metroplex, where he’s ahead 52-42. But with a 2-to-1 lead among Latino voters, Clinton is the runaway favorite in predominantly Hispanic South Texas, where she leads Obama 53-36. And the former first lady is 9 points ahead in the more rural areas of West Texas.
The two major battlegrounds: East and Central Texas, where Obama leads Clinton by just 5 points.
“He gets that urban core, particularly with the black voters, and then he reaches out into the suburbs and the younger, higher income whites,” Coker said. “Her constituency tends to be working class whites and kind of blue collar suburbs. … The Hispanic vote is saving her in Texas.”
Indeed, while Obama has worked to cut into Clinton’s advantage among Latinos, the survey shows her leading him 62-30, with 7 percent undecided, in that crucial demographic group.
Clinton also leads among women:
Obama is the clear favorite among men, leading 54-37. But women, who tend to make up a larger share of the Democratic electorate, are breaking for Clinton 51-40.
For some Texas women, the choice has been excruciating.
“I’d almost like to shake them up in a bag and have a little bit of both of them,” said Keller teacher Melissa Stimson, who has already voted early for Obama.
Pollster.com has a comprehensive list of all the key polls from Texas — and they sometimes vary on who is ahead, but all seem within the margin of error. So the race remains very much up for grabs, despite reports that Obama is now transmitting a decided air of confidence.
Here’s the Pollster.com graph showing trends in polling in the Texas race (Clinton is dark blue and Obama is orange):
UPDATE: The Dallas Morning News reports that the Clinton campaign plans “tough tactics” for the evening Texas caucuses:
Hillary Clinton and her campaign is pushing for precinct captains for Texas’ 8,000 Democratic polling places. They need to train folks to lead the caucus sessions that will determine more than 60 delegates after the primary voting is over.
In training materials being handed out by the Clinton campaign, it is clear that they want to control those caucus sessions.
The materials say in part, “DO NOT allow the supporter of another candidate to serve in leadership roles.”
It goes on to say, “If our supporters are outnumbered, ask the Temporary Chair if one of our supporters can serves as the Secretary, in the interest of fairness.
“The control of the sign-in sheets and the announcement of the delegates allotted to each candidate are the critical functions of the Chair and Secretary. This is why it is so important that Hillary supporters hold these positions.”