POLITICS
03/28/2008 02:45 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Clinton's The Closer: Latest Of Late Deciders Still Breaking Her Way

Super Tuesday's results went a long way to reinforcing one distinct voting trend that emerged in the early-season primaries - while Barack Obama's message is having an impact on undecided voters 72 hours before an election, those who make up their minds on the day of the vote are coming home to Hillary Clinton. This hasn't escaped the attention of the Clinton campaign.

The trend lines are overwhelming. Among the fifteen states tracked by MSNBC with the needed polling data (three days out results were not available for Oklahoma and Utah), nine states followed this pattern. They included Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico and New York. Obama managed to "hold serve" in the state of Missouri, but just barely. Where Clinton did the same - New Jersey, Arkansas, and Arizona - she expanded her lead among late deciders on the last day. There's only one example in which this trend reversed itself: Tennessee, where Obama worked a 51-40 Clinton advantage down to a 47-47 tie.

So it's not for nothing that the Obama campaign retains a healthy respect for Clinton's name recognition and established campaign machinery. The data suggests that voters who only bring themselves to the brink of a decision at the last moment are picking Clinton as the "safe" candidate. That may sound cynical to some, but it has its foundations: Clinton remains the solid choice of voters who value experience, who view the Clinton years with fondness, and who place importance on who would make the best Commander-In-Chief. Additionally, while the media strives to paint this contest as a bitter fight between two well-drawn opposites, this hasn't taken root in the minds of voters. Voters tend to view both remaining Democrats very positively, and a significant portion still imagines, or hopes, that in the final outcome, there's a place on the Democratic ticket for both.

Nevertheless, if Obama's strategy going forward is to count on the candidate's ability to get up-close-and-personal with the voters in the remaining states, he'll have to reverse an established trend that suggests that time is, ultimately, on Clinton's side. Additionally, the Obama campaign would be well advised to discount polling. Using the California data sample as an example, Obama had a 52-44 advantage in "Last Three Days" voters, an advantage that was mirrored in many polls that suggested he might win the state. However, the last day trend was an almost mirror-reverse, with Clinton taking the "Just Today" voters by a 51-43 margin.

Data samples from MSNBC follow:

Arkansas:
Last Three Days: 57-40 Clinton
Just Today: 60-24 Clinton

California:
Last Three Days: 52-44 Obama
Just Today: 51-43 Clinton

Connecticut:
Last Three Days: 58-39 Obama
Just Today: 51-43 Clinton

Delaware:
Last Three Days: 58-34 Obama
Just Today: 55-45 Clinton

Georgia:
Last Three Days: 60-37 Obama
Just Today: 47-45 Clinton

Illinois:
Last Three Days: 62-38 Obama
Just Today: 50-42 Clinton

Massachusetts:
Last Three Days: 48-47 Obama
Just Today: 58-38 Clinton

Missouri:
Last Three Days: 53-45 Obama
Just Today: 49-47 Obama

New Jersey:
Last Three Days: 53-46 Clinton
Just Today: 53-40 Clinton

New Mexico:
Last Three Days: 51-49 Obama
Just Today: 58-38 Clinton

New York:
Last Three Days: 55-44 Obama
Just Today: 51-42 Clinton

Oklahoma:
Last Three Days: Unavailable
Just Today: 50-25 Clinton

Tennessee:
Last Three Days: 51-40 Clinton
Just Today: 47-47

Utah:
Last Three Days: Unavailable
Just Today: 62-26 Obama