SUSA Polls on Electability

SUSA had three polls out yesterday:

If there were an election for President of the United States today, and the only two names on the ballot were Republican John McCain and Democrat Hillary Clinton, who would you vote for?

Clinton leads McCain, 50% to 44%

What if it was John McCain against Democrat Barack Obama?

McCain leads Obama, 50% to 43%

McCain leads Hillary, 48% to 46%
McCain leads Obama, 53% to 39%.

McCain leads Hillary, 53% to 43%
McCain leads Obama, 64% to 28%

The AP reports that Gallup daily tracking polls shows Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama 49% to 42% on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Will Obama's race speech turn the tide for him?

The New York Times says Hillary has to win Pennsylvania and lead in the popular vote (which doesn't include caucuses ) by the time the primaries end in June. [More...]

And Mrs. Clinton is looking for some development to shake confidence in Mr. Obama so that superdelegates, Democratic Party leaders and elected officials who are free to decide which candidate to support overturn his lead among the pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses.

It's daunting but it's still possible:

Tad Devine, a Democratic consultant who is not supporting a candidate, said Mrs. Clinton faced a challenge that although hardly insurmountable was growing tougher almost by the day. Mr. Devine said it was critical for her to come out ahead in popular votes, cut into Mr. Obama’s lead and raise questions about Mr. Obama’s electability to win over superdelegates.

The race is certainly not over. With 10 contests remaining, Mrs. Clinton trails Mr. Obama by about 150 delegates out of the 2,025 needed to secure the nomination.

Hillary strategist Mark Penn lays out the goal:

Her chief strategist, Mark Penn, said the campaign believed that when the primary voting was done, Mrs. Clinton would have a lead in the overall popular vote, that Mr. Obama’s lead in delegates would be relatively narrow and that polls would show her in a stronger position than Mr. Obama.

Where does she look to now?

Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Puerto Rico and, perhaps, Oregon and Indiana.

And don't forget the superdelegates:

“The superdelegates are not going to really decide until June,” Mr. Penn said. “He’s just going through a vetting and testing process that didn’t happen a year ago and is now happening. The whole vetting and testing process will make a big difference.”

Even without the MI and FL votes counting or delegates being seated, everyone knows she won the states:

She received 300,000 more votes than Mr. Obama in Florida in January. In Michigan, where none of her major opponents were on the ballot, she drew 62,220 more votes than the rest of the opponents. Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said that absent some deal to seat the delegates from those states, the campaign would still argue that the popular vote in Michigan and Florida be counted.

“The popular vote is the popular vote for all to see,” said Harold Ickes, a senior adviser to Mrs. Clinton. “For people to claim that because the delegates weren’t seated you can’t count the popular vote seems somewhat goofy.”

As for how to reach those superdelegates:

But the audience now is as much the Democratic superdelegates, who are especially attuned to politics and questions of electability in the fall, as it is rank-and-file voters.

Mrs. Clinton’s advisers said they had spent recent days making the case to wavering superdelegates that Mr. Obama’s association with Mr. Wright would doom their party in the general election.

Shorter version: If Hillary wins the popular vote (counting FL and MI, regardless of if the delegates are seated), if McCain keeps trouncing Obama in the polls, if Republicans show they intend to attack him over Rev. Wright, she may convince them she's the most electable. That's an appropriate consideration for the superdelegates, whose goal is to see the Dems win in November.

This race is far from over. On to Pennsylvania and the other states. Everyone's vote should count.

< Endorsing The Tweety Solution For MI/FL | Obama's Speech: Did It Save Him? >
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  • Display: Sort:
    i guess the fat lady hasn't sung yet. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by hellothere on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 01:39:28 AM EST

    An interesting datapoint from Gallup's tracking (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Dawn Davenport on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 01:52:09 AM EST

    Obama delivered a major speech on race Tuesday to try to move beyond the controversy. The initial indications are that the speech has not halted Clinton's gaining momentum, as she led by a similar margin in Tuesday night's polling as compared to Monday night's polling.

    I do agree, though, with oculus that the Clinton campaign has to be careful in how its electability argument is framed.

    I think another argument towards her electability (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by nycstray on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 02:16:33 AM EST
    is Obama not being able to overtake her in Texas and Ohio with plenty of time and a lot more money. Along with his inability to make large inroads in her demographics, which i can see many going to McCain. If he can't pull away, I think it makes him shaky in the GE along with some of his other negatives. Also wondering if he has damaged his 'trust' value with some voters on the Wright issue. I just caught a sound bite of his Iraq speech where he was asking who do you trust . . .

    If Obama (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by facta non verba on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 03:03:20 AM EST
    is the nominee, then I suspect on November 7, 2008 the pundits will be asking where did it all go wrong for the Democrats? Could it been averted?

    The answer yes it can be averted by ensuring that Hillary is the nominee. That is the goal to save the Democratic Party from a disaster in November.

    Every poll, the SUSA polls, the Rasmussen Polls, the Gallup Polls and the PPP poll points to a crumbling of support for Obama.

    Obesa cantavit.

    Same Question regardless (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by pluege on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 03:18:57 AM EST
    if the Democrats lose in November the same question is asked no matter who is the candidate. If they win, the same congratulations on what a great process the primaries were. Opinions will be outcome based.

    The correct (none / 0) (#22)
    by PlayInPeoria on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:34:22 AM EST
    question to ask is.....


    If we cannot get a nominee through our primary process that can be elected to the WH, then it needs to be changed.


    Clinton over Obama (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by pluege on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 03:39:57 AM EST
    If Clinton wins Pa., she will have won all the necessary-for-Dems-to-win electoral college states.

    in spite of what BTD thinks, Clinton has a far better media position than Obama (which is starting to emerge): Clinton's potential is all up, she has been smeared relentlessly and fought back successfully - people have no insterest in hearing more; Obama's is all down, he has only now started to be smeared - all new grist for the mill.

    Women are a larger voting group (even if less cohesive) than blacks, giving Clinton more inherent constituency over mccain than Obama.

    The tanking US economy will highlight in voters minds the good ole economic days of the Bill Clinton years - has no real reflection on HRC, but perceptions and associations are more important than reality. Obama has no counterpoint.

    Obama irrational exuberance has peaked. Obama's narrative is only backsliding from here. Clinton has been steady grind-it-out narrative all along garnering her a fighter's rep.

    Clinton is more Dem insider than Obama. Given the less than decisive primary process, the SDs will pick Clinton.

    I Think It Will Be Enough (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by bob h on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 06:15:02 AM EST
    that she wins PA pretty big, along with a pronounced slowing in Barack's momentum in other states as the Wright race thing takes an obvious toll.  The superdelegates will bail on Barack, and he may concede himself that the best thing for the Party is the #2 spot.

    Effect on Down Ballot Races (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by reality based on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 06:42:16 AM EST
    Superdelegate politicians should be concerned about these poll numbers and the Wright flap because of the implications for down ballot races.  It's been my experience that politicians are often more concerned about their own races than the Presidential race.  The danger now is that many Democrats will stay home rather than make the uncomfortable choice between Obama and McCain.  What should be a landslide election for Democrats may be much less than that as a result.  This affair is toxic to our overall prospects in November.  28% in Kentucky and 39% in Missouri, extrapolated to the rest of the country, could be devastating not just to our Presidential hopes but to hundreds of other Congressional, state, and local contests as well. Those Blue Dog Democrats who earlier endorsed Obama must be a little uneasy right now.  I wonder if we will not start hearing soon from these types about a deadlocked convention turning to a compromise candidate.

    Your ending statement (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by independent voter on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 07:09:31 AM EST
    is "everyone's vote should count."
    Please help me understand how that position (which I agree with) is in harmony with the statement "lead in the popular vote (which doesn't include caucuses)" Do you mean everyone, other than people who caucused, should have their votes counted?

    Thank you, I had the same question (none / 0) (#28)
    by fuzzyone on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 07:24:03 PM EST
    Its too bad you won't get an answer.

    It has given pause (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by BarnBabe on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:14:07 AM EST
    As I am sure Hillary has Pennsylvania, it will show she can take all the big blue states which are an absolute necessity. When you make that statement, Obama's folks point to Missouri. The SUSA poll seems to point out that opinions have changed and he would not win it in a GE. I believe that the best qualified, experienced person should be President. I have heard people talk about change and hope. You can say you will change things in DC, but if that was the case we would be out of Iraq as promised in '06. Maybe you can even hope to change things. Maybe you can hope to win in the GE. Everytime we change Presidents we hope that all will work out. Even in 2000, when I finally accepted I could not change the outcome of the election, I said to my friends. Well, maybe it will be all right and he won't do too much damage. He has Chenney who has experience at least. Whoa, we know how that turned out. I truely believe that Hillary will make a better President and one who will make us proud. I believe that the media will always be against her but only in the US. The world media will be more accurate, responsive, and welcoming. I don't want a repeat of the last 8 years. Having said all this, I hope that the Superdelegates will really examine the primary results in open primary states. That is the tell. How many Republicans were Dems for a day? Half of those need to be removed from results as we know there was a concerted effort to manipulate our candidate outcome. And finally, Hillary served her first full term as she promised, is just as eloquent a speaker as BHO, and can enjoy a beer with the gals and guys. I think she would make a strong President and hope that we can change BTD's mind.

    ...to be fair... (none / 0) (#21)
    by smott on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:31:29 AM EST
    ...HRC has shown she can beat BO in swings.
    Not that she can beat McCain.

    It's a stretch to say that because she beats a Dem, she beats a Repub. I think she can top McCain in PA/possibly OH if it's not stolen, and hopefully MI.  FL is doubtful.


    Florida might not be so doubtful (none / 0) (#25)
    by BarnBabe on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:51:17 AM EST
    if the DNC would just say, 'For the sake of the Democratic Party and Unity, we will seat the delegates based upon the election results. No purpose will be served if we do not.' Then they lay low for 2 weeks and they will be given credit for this decision. The DNC can make this problem all go away.  

    The Super Delegates ... (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Robot Porter on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:19:23 AM EST
    won't vote in a block.

    Why doesn't anyone else see this?

    Every other group has been bitterly divided in this cycle.  The Supers will be no different.

    If it comes down to the Supers, we'll stop talking about "teh Supers" and start talking about specific Supers.

    When I read this article earlier (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 01:43:19 AM EST
    I was not pleased to see Penn stating the Clinton campaign was working the Obama/Wright connection.  

    Nagourney (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by standingup on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 02:05:35 AM EST
    could have written there are four breaks Clinton needs instead of three.  The fourth being no gaffes from Penn or surrogates that distract and take away her momentum.  Penn is too much of a liability when talking to the press.  

    aside from the fact that (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by TheRefugee on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 02:36:33 AM EST
    when you read Obama's speech it is filled with vague references to the Clinton campaign being race-baiters.  Several times he denounces Wright and several times he tells us why Wright isn't a bad guy and that we shouldn't dismiss him as "demagogue."  For the most part it was a typical Obama speech, well-spoken, excellent delivery and completely lacking on definitives.  The only time during this campaign that he has taken a stance is on NAFTA and that blew up on him.  Race is a problem, intolerance for religion is a problem, intolerance for sexual preference is a problem.  If people want to remotivate on equality then they should re-read, re-listen to "I Have A Dream" where gut and feeling guides the delivery, not a teleprompter and carefully scripted campaign mannerisms.  King not only believed his words, he lived them; not only did he bleed for his words, he died for them, not only did he see the possibility of success he worked everyday to achieve that success.  Not with calls to arms or veiled accusations but with the power of his words spoken with a conviction that convinced even some jaded Southern politicians to stand up and say, 'it's time for change.'

    The praise heaped on this speech as a "racial landmark" or "historic moment" is both shallow and false.  Those commentators need to actually read the words and breakdown the speech before giving it the stamp of 'historic'.  I have.  Every time I read or hear "I Have a Dream" I get bleary eyed and my pulse races.  Last night I spent eight hours comparing speeches by Fredrick Douglass, MLK Jr. and Obama's speech.  Obama's is a fine speech.  but it isn't a speech for equality.  It isn't a missive on how to accomplish any sort of change.  It is a speech aimed at turning the signal off of Obama's biggest negative thus far, Jeremiah Wright.

    This is what bothers me about Obama's handling of the situation:

    From Obama's blog post on HuffPo:
    The statements that Rev. Wright made that are the cause of this controversy were not statements I personally heard him preach while I sat in the pews of Trinity or heard him utter in private conversation.
    From Obama's "A More Perfect Union":
    Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely - just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

    You can't lie your way to the White House.  He told us he hadn't heard these type comments from Wright.  Now he has.  What other comments has he heard?  And not just during sermons but in private conversation.  Obama says "I've never heard him use derogatory terms to describe an ethnic..."(paraphrased)  So why then did Obama say that Wright thinks this: "Endemic white racism"?  Nothing from just the video clips would lead me to think that Wright is a racist--Obama telling me that Wright thinks that most Caucasians are racist tells me that Wright is racist.  For Obama to come to that conclusion means he has heard Wright speak clearly and often about how Wright perceives the majority of white people in this country.

    I don't think that continued questions of Wright and his sway over Obama is out of line.  The more questions that get asked...and answered...now, the less chance the GOP will be able to hammer him on them in the GE if Obama is the nominee.


    lie is such a harsh term (none / 0) (#9)
    by white n az on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 02:56:49 AM EST
    let's just call it prevaricate as that is more common with political discourse.

    Yes, initially he attempted to diminish the impact by less than candid admissions last Friday and by Monday came the full admission but surely we saw Bill Clinton do much the same thing at various times and McCain...well, McCain is a master prevaricator.

    What this does clarify is the notion that Obama does not transcend normal political discourse and we are left with the issues that we really don't know what he stands for or what kind of president he will be.

    The thing that ultimately strikes me is that his insistence that words matter but evidently he has a sliding scale for that because he is saying that his friend, Jeremiah Wright's words don't matter.

    And yes, it is going to get real ugly come the general election, regardless of which gets the democratic nomination and we know what the attacks are going to look like either way.


    The person I think most affected by (none / 0) (#24)
    by hairspray on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:41:06 AM EST
    Wright is probably Michelle Obama.  She sits in that pew right next to Barack every Sunday.  She undoubtedly has heard the rhetoric and obviously accepts most of it, otherwise, why would she say after Wisconsin, "this is the first time I have been proud of my country."

    OR seems tough for Hillary (none / 0) (#4)
    by badger on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 01:50:28 AM EST
    I'm not completely familiar with OR politics statewide, but my daughter has tickets to see Obama in Portland Friday AM.

    She got her tickets free, but says they're "sold out" and people are getting $100 each for them now.

    if jesus christ were (none / 0) (#15)
    by cpinva on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 06:49:18 AM EST
    the democratic nominee, he wouldn't win MS & KY.

    Holy Poll takers, Batman!!!! (none / 0) (#17)
    by athyrio on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:13:13 AM EST
    Top issue - The Economy (none / 0) (#19)
    by Fabian on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:18:08 AM EST
    The economy is the top voting issue for 51% of Likely Primary Voters. Overall, 53% say the focus should be on reducing the income gap between rich and poor. Thirty-nine percent (39%) say the focus should be on creating more economic growth.

    Fifty-eight percent (58%) say that Obama has received better media treatment than Clinton. Just 16% believe that Clinton has benefitted from media preference.

    Is Obama the Media Darling?  A lot of people think so.

    Next question:  What happens when the honeymoon is over?


    As the Economy (none / 0) (#23)
    by PlayInPeoria on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 08:40:56 AM EST
    tanks.. Sen Clinton will gain momentum.

    No saying that she is actually better qualified.... but it is perceived that she is better qualified. And that is all it takes.

    People remember to Ecomomics of Bill .... and the divisive atmosphere is much preferred over hungry stomachs.

    No matter what you might like (none / 0) (#26)
    by andgarden on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 09:02:49 AM EST
    the "divisive atmosphere" is now inextricably linked with Obama.

    Thank you for (none / 0) (#27)
    by PlayInPeoria on Thu Mar 20, 2008 at 09:10:28 AM EST
    disregarding my "likes".

    It will be in the eye of the beholder as to who has the "divisive atmosphere".

    Quite frankly, I don't care if Sen Clinton or Pres Clinton are seen as the divisive atmosphere... I just know I was much better off under the Clinton Administration.