THE BLOG

New Polls: Indiana Toss-Up

05/03/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We have seen remarkably few polls from Indiana so far but Research 2000 sought to correct that anomaly today by releasing a survey from the Hoosier state:

  • Obama edges out Clinton 48% to 47%, a slight improvement from the previous R2000 poll that had Clinton leading by 3%.
  • In the general election, McCain beats both Democrats but by margins that are narrower than those Bush enjoyed in 2000 and 2004. He leads Obama 51% to 43% and Clinton 52% to 41%.
  • Update: Selzer & Co (which is I believe the same pollster that conducts the Des Moines Register poll) released another Indiana survey tonight, also showing Obama up within the margin of error, 41% to 38%.
  • And in truly stunning general election numbers, Obama leads McCain 49% to 41% while Clinton and McCain are tied at 46%.

There have been few states in which there has been genuine uncertainty as to who would win rather than suspense about the margin. Texas was certainly the last state in which we went into Election Day with no favorite, but even there Clinton had gone into the campaign as a favorite. This is why the next two weeks promise to be so much fun: There will be an actual measure by which to judge candidates' performances rather than the always subjective metric of what losing margin constitutes a moral victory! That said, Clinton will need more than just a narrow victory, but these polls suggest she might have trouble getting there.

As for the general election, it would certainly be very impressive for the Democratic nominee to even put Indiana in play, as the state has not voted for a Democratic nominee since 1964. That said, the Selzer poll does look like an outlier; there have been other general election polls from Indiana and none suggests that McCain is in that much danger here. Not to mention that if McCain is in danger of losing Indiana come November, he probably will be in even worse shape in neighboring Midwestern states such as Iowa and Ohio -- not that the Obama campaign necessarily thinks it has a good chance of winning the latter. In a memo it distributed today to superdelegates and that the Washington Post obtained, the campaign lists what states Obama will concentrate on, classifying them as "big states," "traditional battlegrounds" and "new states" (CO and VA, but also TX, ND and MT). This was meant to be a memo about electability, which explains the inclusion of TX, ND and MT as there have been some polls lately in which Obama has been strong but not Clinton. But much more shocking is that Florida and Ohio have just been left out of the memo!

Two other general election surveys were released over the past two days by Rasmussen:

  • In Minnesota, Obama crushes McCain 52% to 37%. Clinton is ahead by a much narrower 47% to 42%. This is a significant improvement for both Democrats; a month ago, Obama lead McCain by 4 and Clinton trailed by 1.
  • In Nevada, however, another crucial swing state that is near the top of the Democrats' pick-up list, McCain is leading both Democrats, 48% to 43% against Obama and 48% to 38% against Clinton -- a rare case in which there the proportion of undecided voters is much higher in Hillary's match-up.
  • Last month, both Democrats led McCain -- Obama by 4%, which was already a decline from the month before when Obama led by 12%.
Both of these states will be very disputed all the way to November. Minnesota is one of the blue states the GOP is assured of contesting; not only did it only narrowly reject Bush in 2004, but the GOP convention will be held in St. Paul this year and MN Governor Pawlenty is at the top of McCain's vice-presidential list. As for Nevada, Democrats know they must make inroads in the West if they want to survive the census reallocation that will have kicked in by the next presidential election. They have room to grow in the region and the Obama campaign clearly believes that the West (starting with Colorado) is fertile ground for the Illinois Senator.

Finally, Rasmussen also released a Senate poll from Minnesota:

  • It shows Senator Norm Coleman leading Al Franken 50% to 43%. This is a second month in a row the Republican is improving his position since trailing 49-46 in February. Last month, Coleman was leading by 2%, 48-46.
This is the first time Coleman is reaching 50% in a Rasmussen poll, the vulnerability threshold no incumbent wants to fall under. Note that Franken's trajectory is going downward just as he looks to be securing the DFL's nomination. This race is probably the purest Senate toss-up along with Alaska's Senate race, as all other races more or less clearly lean towards the incumbent or challenging party. With Democrats unable to make much of a move right now in Maine and Oregon, Franken could benefit from more DSCC attention.

Read more at Daniel Nichanian's blog, Campaign Diaries