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Posted by on Feb 19, 2008 in Politics | 3 comments

Gallup Poll: Obama Gains Among Hispanics, Women And Middle-Aged

A new Gallup Poll reports that Senator Barack Obama is gaining “momentum” overall nationwide –and is making key gains in groups long thought to be pillars of support for his chief rival for the 2008 Democratic nomination Senator Hillary Clinton:

The momentum in the Democratic nomination race has clearly swung toward Barack Obama. Not only has he won all of the post-Super Tuesday contests, but he has steadily gained in Gallup Poll Daily tracking to the point where he has overtaken Clinton as the national leader for the first time, holding a statistically significant lead in each of the last three tracking poll results.

These findings are based on a comparison of Democratic voters’ nomination preferences in Feb. 5-9 polling with those in Feb. 13-17 polling. Each of these five-day tracking periods consists of interviews with roughly 2,000 Democratic voters nationwide. Overall, in the Feb. 5-9 data, Clinton led Obama by an average of 49% to 42%. In the most recent five days (Feb. 13-17), the candidates’ standings have basically flipped, with Obama leading Clinton by an average of 49% to 43%

Heres’ the Gallup Poll graph:
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More Gallup:

Obama’s standing has improved among most Democratic subgroups over the past several days. But one of the more substantial shifts has been the changing preferences of middle-aged Democratic voters, who have moved away from Clinton and toward Obama in the past week. Obama has also made gains among three other groups that have favored Clinton throughout much of the campaign — women, Hispanics, and self-identified Democrats. Obama and Clinton are now running even among these three key groups in the most recent Gallup tracking data.

Of course, a key test will come today in the Wisconsin primary.

Writes Dick Polman:

If Hillary Clinton wins tonight (defying most of the polls, as in New Hampshire), she would slow Barack Obama’s momentum ahead of the Texas and Ohio showdowns on March 4, and calm the nerves of fans who have been laboring to come up with rationales for why she should be awarded the nomination in the absence of voter approval. If she loses narrowly and essentially splits the 74 Wisconsin delegates with Obama, she can always try to spin it as a comeback and insist that she always knew Wisconsin would be a tough state, that she nearly won even though Obama vastly outspent her, and that she is pleased with where she is in the race.

If Obama wins tonight in cheesehead territory (along with a victory in his native Hawaii), he heads toward Texas and Ohio with a 10-game victory streak and the aura of a winner – which matters in politics, because voters torn between two candidates often are tempted to go with a perceived winner. And if he wins big tonight – in a state, after all, where the demographics would seem to be friendly to Hillary – then he can spin it as further evidence (coupled with Virginia and Maryland last week) that he is steadily broadening his appeal to the greater Democratic electorate.

At the end of his must-read post he adds:

The Clinton campaign has been working hard to lower expectations in Wisconsin, but I think that Jeff Greenfield, the seasoned political commentator, put it best the other day: “If Clinton cannot rally the beer-drinking Democrats in the state that gave us Pabst, Schlitz, and Miller, where can she?”

And if some of the new poll numbers are to be believed (a BIG IF this year), this might be another bad night for the Clinton campaign. And some even say by the time it’s over all the speculation about superdelegates could be moot.

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