Pennsylvania Undecided Voters Likely To Break For Clinton Who Leads 3 To 5% In New Polls

You can now see a trend in some of the latest weekend Pennsylvania Democratic presidential primary polls and the analysis: Senator Hillary Clinton has regained the momentum in her battle against Senator Barack Obama, leads 3 to 5 percent — but analysts believe the undecided voters will likely break her way, which means her victory is likely to be far larger.

And then there are other variables: who will turn out in greater numbers? Older (Clinton voters) or younger voters (Obama)? Which campaign organization has more boots on the ground, carpools for voters, and voices on the phone banks? NBC Political Director Chuck Todd:

A new MSNBC/McClatchy/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette poll of Pennsylvania indicates things are staying fairly competitive in the Pennsylvania Dem primary.

The poll of 625 likely Dem primary voters was conducted Thursday and Friday and showed Clinton leading Obama 48-43%. Considering the 4% margin of error, it means Clinton’s lead is inside the margin.

So it’s highly likely Clinton will win.

Still, the poll is consistent with what the campaigns and other reputable polls have been showing and that is Clinton getting close to 50% and Obama struggling to climb over 45%.

So what happens on Tuesday? Well, let’s take a look at the undecided vote. Going inside the poll’s demographics, one finds the highest undec. totals in the more rural parts of the state; that’s not good news for Obama. In the so-called “T” region of the state (i.e., almost everything between Philly and Pittsburgh), Clinton leads 51-37 with 11% undecided; this is one of the few demographic groups sporting double-digit undecided.

Two other interesting cross-tabs with high undecideds also indicate the potential that undecided vote will break for Clinton. Among bowlers (24% of the electorate) and gun owners (38% of the electorate), Clinton leads big. She’s up 54-33 among bowlers and 53-28 among gun owners; There were 13% undec. among bowlers and 17% undec among gun owners.

Wouldn’t it be an irony if the voting is close, Obama loses, and it’s eventually blamed on his lousy bowling?

So while the poll shows Clinton with a narrow lead (and arguably a narrowing lead), the clues inside the numbers indicate this is her race to lose and that her lead could expand. Should this race end up as close as this poll indicates (i.e. 5 points or less), then this means many of these undec. potential Clinton voters decided to stay home; If the come to the polls, she could see her lead climb to over 5 points.

He concludes:

And that’s the game Tuesday, not if Clinton will win, but how big will her victory be. She’d like to net more than 200K in the popular vote which she would only get with both a large turnout (approx. 2 million total) and a 10 point victory.

Meanwhle, Zobgy sees the race nail-biting tight with a 3 percent Clinton lead:

New York’s Hillary Clinton remains barely ahead of rival Barack Obama of Illinois leading up to Tuesday’s presidential primary in Pennsylvania, a new Newsmax/Zogby daily tracking poll shows.

Her advantage is a statistically insignificant three points, 46% to 43%, over Obama, as support in the race ebbs and flows within a tight margin—she led by five points yesterday. The two-day tracking survey, which was conducted April 18-19, 2008, included 11% who were either undecided or supported someone else.

Some analysts the past few weeks have suggested Pennsylvania will be like the Ohio race, where polls won’t be accurate indicators because the undecideds will go lopsidedly for Clinton and give her a big margin. Clinton supporter New York Senator Chuck Schumer is predicting a “significant” Clinton win on Tuesday.

And just a look at the campaign this final weekend shows a host of factors that could impact the vote:

Young voters like Obama:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is attracting record numbers of young voters — but will a demographic known for low turnout vote in enough numbers to defeat Hillary Clinton in the graying state of Pennsylvania?

Attracted by opposition to the Iraq war, antipathy to President George W. Bush or Clinton — and Obama’s aura of “hope” — Pennsylvanians in the 18-29 age bracket are rallying, registering and switching parties like never before.

At the University of Pittsburgh, a “power rally” by Pitt Students for Obama got 2,000 students to register as Democrats in order to vote for the senator. The state does not allow independents to vote in primary contests.

–The effectiveness of last minute campaigning. Clinton and Obama are both criss-crossing the state. Who will prove to be more effective? Obama is now going door to door to seek votes. He has also been campaigning by whistle stop.

–Obama’s campaign is facing a “culture clash” in Philadelphia that could prove harmful.

  • Dave_Schuler

    Sen. Clinton needs a double digit win in Pennsylvania to wobble the knees of the superdelegates who’ll otherwise break for Obama. Anything lower than that will be claimed as a victory by the Obama campaign.

  • pyronite

    At this point, anything less than a home run for Obama can be construed as a victory for Clinton.

    I believe that if she wins by five points the line will be that she still “managed to pull it out” with lip service to Obama’s previous deficit in the state.