05/30/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Polls: Registered Dems Still Prefer Clinton

A lot of presidential polls to digest today, as SUSA, Rasmussen and two other polling groups released new match-ups for a total of 8 states with some surprises and some expected results. The most interesting come from the pair of Southern states that the Obama campaign believes it can put in play:
  • In North Carolina, SUSA finds surprising results: Hillary Clinton is leading McCain 49% to 43%, while Obama is trailing 51% to 43%. As usual, Clinton's advantage is derived from women (she leads McCain by 19% while Obama trails by 1%) and by registered Democrat, among whom her lead is 20% superior to Obama's.
  • In Virginia, a VCU Commonwealth poll shows that McCain is leading both Democrats, 44% to 36% against Obama and 47% to 38% against Clinton. One puzzling internal is that Obama only gets a 41% to 36% in Northern Virginia, a region he will have to win by a much bigger margin to make the state competitive.
With all the talk of Obama putting the Carolinas and Virginia (some even add other Southern states to the list) in play, it is easy to forget that until February Clinton polled systematically better than Obama in the South and in non-Western red states. This was true in Kentucky, surely, but also in states like Virginia. It is still surprising to see Clinton poll that much better than her rival in North Carolina, a state in which Obama trounced Hillary and a state which his campaign is prompt to put on the competitive list. There is no question that a race in single-digit is already a victory for Democrats, since they had difficulty reaching that point in 2004 even with that Edwards on the ticket; the same is true in Virginia. But to prevail in one or both of these states Obama will have to improve his showing among registered Democrats: They should be his base, but he often has trouble solidifying it.

Another important poll that was just released is Rasmussen's latest from Florida:

  • McCain leads Obama handily, 50% to 40% (this is actually a 5% improvement for Obama). But he trails Clinton 47% to 41%.
Rasmussen's poll from Ohio found a very similar set of results a few days ago, prompting me to write early musings on Obama's electoral map and the fact that he appears constantly weak in Ohio and Florida polls. Whatever the reason -- McCain looks to be stronger than most Republicans among elderly, Hispanics and possibly Jewish voters while Obama has possible weaknesses among these groups -- Florida does look like one of the states where Clinton could have fared better, as Rasmussen's poll suggest and as the latest Quinnipiac poll confirmed (Clinton beat McCain by 8% while Obama trailed by 1%). This means that Obama will rely on an alternative electoral map, one based on states in which he appears stronger than Clinton, for instance Colorado:
  • The latest Rasmussen poll from Colorado finds Obama besting McCain 48% to 42% while McCain beats Clinton 47% to 44%.
Colorado's 9 electoral votes are even more within reach considering that the Democratic convention will be held in Denver. Kerry got surprisingly close in 2004, and Obama strongly appeals to the Western independents whose support is key to changing the state's allegiance. If Democrats carry the state this year, Colorado will have gone through a very rapid switch from reliably red to blue state within 3 election cycles. And in other polling news:
  • Missouri is another red state that will be very hotly contested in the coming months, certainly more than Kerry went for it in 2004. SUSA finds Clinton faring a bit better, besting McCain 48% to 46% while Obama narrowly trails 48% to 45%.
  • The differential between the two Democrats is mainly due to the registered Democrats vote, as Clinton gets 82% to Obama's 72%.
  • In the day's least interesting poll, Deseret confirms that McCain has no reason to worry about Utah's electoral votes. He leads 65% to 20% against Clinton and 62% to 27% against Obama.
Finally, SUSA released two polls from blue states testing potential veepstakes. I am not particularly interested in the VP match-ups in that most of the names have very low name recognition and the test is mostly a measure of that. There seems to be little question that John Edwards and Mike Huckabee help their party's nominees the most, but that is also a reflection on the other tested names not being very well known. So I am here only providing the hard matchup numbers:
  • In Pennsylvania, Obama is ahead of McCain 48% to 40%. View more VP match-ups here, as I will only say that it is interesting that the inclusion of Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell does not help the Democratic ticket at all.
  • In California, Obama leads McCain 49% to 41%. View the numbers with VP match-ups here.
The first margin is strong for Obama, though there is no question that he would rather lead by a larger percentage in California to ensure that he will not have to spend a single minute or a single dime defending the country's largest state, and one without which no Democrat can reach the White House. Finally, Democracy Corps released a national poll that shows both Democrats leading McCain by 2 percent.

Read more at Daniel Nichanian's blog, Campaign Diaries.