Cleveland Plain Dealer Poll: NAFTA Not Defining Race
A Cleveland Plain Dealer poll conducted by Mason Dixon of registered Democratic voters who plan to vote in the primary, has Hillary Clinton ahead of Barack Obama, 47% to 43%, with 90% of voters decided on their choice. (Actual poll results are here (pdf.) The margin of error is 4%. There are some geographic and issues differences that may be worth noting.
Voters surveyed said they see little difference between the candidates' positions on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which many Democratic voters blame for the loss of jobs in Ohio and which has been a central theme of both campaigns.
On health care, those surveyed prefer Hillary's plan to Obama's, 33% to 18%. Then there's the geographic difference, which may be significant:
The Plain Dealer poll shows that Clinton's biggest lead is among voters in southeast Ohio, a poor region of the state whose voters supported Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. She leads Obama there, 55 percent to 32 percent; Obama's biggest lead is in the southwest, where he is up 52 percent to 36 percent.
It's not just that Bill Clinton won those areas in 1992 and 1996. It's that John Kerry and Al Gore didn't, and even though they blasted Bush in the northern parts of Ohio, they lost the state because of the southeastern rural vote. And, as Ohio goes, so tends to go the country in November: No Republican since Abe Lincoln has won the presidency without winning Ohio. On the Democratic side, in the last century, only FDR and JFK won the presidency without winning Ohio. (FDR lost Ohio most likely because the Republican VP candidate was from the state.)
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