THE BLOG

Bittergate-Wake Pennsylvania Polls Trickling In

04/23/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

With 3 new polls of the Pennsylvania primary out today, it is very difficult to conclude what effect -- if any -- Obama's "bitter" remarks have had on the race. This is especially so because the Quinnipiac poll, which will be the most cited today because it has one of the best reputations out there, was conducted from April 9th to April 13th, so a very large portion of its interviews were conducted before the controversy erupted:

  • In the Quinnipiac poll, Clinton leads 50% to 44%. This is exactly the same margin as last week.

  • Quinnipiac provides the numbers for the group it calls "Reagan Democrats," among which Clinton leads 55% to 40%. This is obviously the group that Clinton wants to seduce to demonstrate Obama's general election weakness.
  • The big worry for Obama: Only 50% of Clinton supporters say they will vote for Obama in the general, versus 26% who say they will vote for McCain. Among union households, it falls to 47-32. Clinton fares better among Obama voters, 70% of whom would vote for her, including 74% of Obama supporting union households.

  • The Rasmussen survey, meanwhile, finds Clinton picking up some ground. She now leads 50% to 41% -- up from a five percent lead last week.

  • The poll was conducted entirely Monday. 75% of Pennsylvanians say they heard about the remarks, and only 35% said they agreed -- but 59% of Obama supporters.
  • Finally, Survey USA released its weekly poll, finding Hillary Clinton up 54% to 40%. This is actually a slight decline from last week's poll for Clinton; in that survey that became widely discussed, criticized as an outlier or as the start of a trend, Clinton led by 18%.
The abundance of polls released since late next week confirms, at least, that the race is no longer tightening like it did for much of the end of March and early April. At one point, it only seemed like a matter of time before Barack would overtake Hillary but the New York Senator rebounded in most polls since -- starting before bittergate.

This makes it especially difficult to assess whether any trend discovered in these polls has anything to do with the coverage of Obama's remarks. Even polls showing a Clinton improvement are inscribing themselves in the continuity of last week's polls, rather than showing a drastically new trend.

Clinton is doing her best to ensure that there is a new trend and as dramatic as possible an acceleration of the movement towards her. She is now running an attack ad against Obama for his "cling to" remarks. And today, she is assembling a team of 100 Pennsylvania Mayors for a collective endorsement; an event is being organized in Harrisburg at which many of them will appear, and some "small town" mayors will hit Obama over his comments about small town voters. It does look, however, like many of these mayors already support Clinton. This is clearly not meant to announce new endorsements as much as adding hype to bitter-gate, making sure the media covers such as a large event and reaching more voters.

Read more at Daniel Nichanian's blog: Campaign Diaries