New survey data demonstrates in detail why Clinton's "big state" primary wins mean nothing when it comes to victory in the general election.
SurveyUSA has just released state-by-state results of a 30,000 respondent nation wide survey comparing Barack Obama's and Hillary Clinton's chances against John McCain.
Bottom line: this data shows that Obama has the best chance to defeat McCain. In the simulated match-ups he beats McCain 280 to 258 electoral votes nationwide, and is very close in several additional key states that could significantly boost his margin of victory.
Clinton beats McCain by 276 to 262 nationwide. But her margins in several key states are much thinner than Obama's and on balance, Obama substantially increases the number of states in play.
A couple of key results:
* Contrary to the "only Clinton can win big states" myth, Obama does exactly as well in Ohio against McCain as does Clinton. Each currently wins the state by 50% to 40%.
* Even though Obama lost the primary in California to Clinton, he polls 1% stronger in the general election survey than Clinton does against McCain.
* Obama wins nine states in the simulation that Hillary loses: Colorado, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Virginia, Iowa, North Dakota, New Hampshire. He also wins several electoral votes from Nebraska, which allocates delegates by congressional district.
* Hillary wins five states in the simulation that Obama loses: West Virginia, Arkansas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Florida. But three of these five are heavily in play. In New Jersey he loses to McCain by less than one point in the poll. And in Florida, Obama polls within the margin of error (of four percentage points), losing the simulation 47% to 45%. The simulation shows him losing to McCain in Pennsylvania by 42% to 47%. Hillary wins 47% to 46% for McCain. But remember that Hillary is very well known in Pennsylvania and Obama is just beginning to campaign there.
* Clinton actually loses the big state of Michigan in the simulation. Obama wins.
* Hillary's performance in many key states is much weaker than Obama's. In Colorado, Obama polls eight points stronger than Clinton. He polls nine points stronger in Iowa, five points stronger in New Hampshire, eight in Washington, six in Oregon, seven in Virginia, 12 in Nebraska, three in New Mexico.
* And, of course, the survey does not reflect either the fact that Obama does better as people get to know him, or that his inspirational style expands the electorate through the participation by brand new motivated voters.
* In fact, If Obama overcame small deficits in Florida and New Jersey he would clobber McCain 322 to 216 electoral votes.
If the Clinton campaign is going to convince "superdelegates" to swing her way, these survey results show that they're going to have to come up with rationale other than "electability."
Robert Creamer is a long time political organizer and strategist and author of the recent book: Stand Up Straight. How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com.