Obama Leads In North Carolina Democratic Parimary Polling By 10 Percent: Public Policy Polling

We ran this post earlier giving you a wide sampling of pollling on a day before the important Indiana and North Carolina Democratic Presidential primaries. Now a new Public Policy Polling poll of North Carolina shows Obama has held onto a double digit lead against his rival Senator Hillary Clinton.

Raleigh, N.C. – Barack Obama still leads by ten points in North Carolina, according to Public Policy Polling’s final survey of the state.

He has a 53-43 lead, the smallest he has shown in a PPP poll over the last six weeks but also larger than many other opinion polls that have been released in the last seven days. Obama will win based largely on the black vote, as the poll shows an electorate polarized along racial lines. Obama leads 84-11 with black voters but trails Hillary Clinton 60-34 with white voters.

“It appears Barack Obama will weather the storm in North Carolina,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Hillary Clinton has certainly been able to make in roads as she has contested the state hard, but North Carolina’s demographics make thi almost an impossible state to win for her.”

Earlier, PPP’s Tom Jensen noted that new factors had to be weighted in coming up with the tally:

Our final North Carolina poll will be released within the next few hours. A big decision for pollsters on this one is how to weight for race. 28% of the Democratic primary electorate in 2000 was black, and in 2004 it was 32%. But over 40% of early voters were.

Obviously how you choose to nail down that figure can have a pretty significant effect on your Presidential numbers when the electorate is so polarized along racial lines.

We settled on 35%. We asked folks who were polled if they had voted early. Taking all of the respondents in our poll, if 40% of those who voted early were black then 35% of the population as a whole was.

I don’t know if that’s the best or most perfect way to do it but it is at least a rational decision based on the data we have.

Pollster.com’s Mark Blumental looks at the various polls and adds:

The fact that nearly 400,000 early votes have been cast so far is remarkable given past primary turnout in North Carolina. The state held a caucus in 2004 (due to a redistricting battle that delayed the primary), but 544,922 Democrats voted in the largely uncontested primary in May 2000, and 691,875 voted in May 1992 (statistics I gathered for a column noting that pollster PPP has been sampling from a total universe of 874,222). The record was 961,000 in 1984, according to the Charlotte Observer, which cites “long time N.C. political observers” guessing that “as many as 1.5 million” may vote this year. So this early vote will be a significant portion of the total votes cast, but as McDonald points out, no one knows exactly how big.

It is also worth pointing out that the Obama campaign has made early voting drives a focus of their field organizing, so it is certainly possible that the ranks of early voters are disproportionately swollen with Obama voters. Last week’s poll from SurveyUSA showed Obama leading by a 18 points (57% to 39%) among early voters, but that subgroup was just 2% of their total sample. Thus, one key result to watch in the final poll releases today — among those far sighted enough to track and report it — will be the size and preference of the early voters.

Already you can see on weblogs different spins on what the early voting means (depending on what candidate the blog supports).

For more blog reaction on the poll GO HERE.

  

3 Comments

  1. Given the abysmal performance of pollsters over the last decade, the only poll I'm going to buy is the one taken at the ballot box.

  2. I predict… Obama takes NC by 10, plus or minus 1 or 2, net gain of 15 – 16 delegates. Clinton edges in IN by a couple and they split the delegates, with Clinton picking up maybe one or two more than Obama. For the day, Obama wins the popular vote as well as delegate count overall, and Sen. Clinton's “path to victory” remains the pipe dream it has been for a month.

    Hey, I've been at least as accurate as Zogby this year!

    That's my wishful thinking numbers, though. The reality is more likely that Clinton takes IN by a fair amount more, and the overall popular and delegate totals will be close, maybe even a small net gain for Clinton. But even that result still leaves her path to victory a pipe dream.

  3. The “Bradley Effect” might be in play where white voters tell pollsters that they're not bigots or prejudiced and then vote for the white candidate.

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