New Polls Show Clinton Obama Texas Ohio Primary Showdowns Are Nail Biters

March 1st, 2008 by JOE GANDELMAN
Tuesday’s nail-biting Democratic Presidential primaries in Texas and Ohio have become even more dramatic with the release of polls showing Senator Hillary Clinton is starting to regain her Texas base and narrow the lead on Senator Barack Obama — and clings to an increasingly slim lead in Ohio.
In essence, if you look at a variety of polls, the bottom line is that they’re all within the margin of error — which means as of this moment the two races are essentially tied. Neither camp can take anything for granted.
What this likely means: in the end, what happens on Tuesday may come down to which candidate has a better “ground game” of getting supporters to the polls. The polls paint a picture of an increasingly fluid primary electorate with good chunks of undecided voters who can tilt the high-stakes scales.

In Texas, the Zogby Poll shows it Obama 45% and Clinton 43% — indicating in the past few days Obama has lost some support and Clinton has regained some. Zogby writes:
Hillary Clinton may be making a connection with Democratic voters in Texas, especially among those in key demographic groups that have supported her all year. Among those age 65 and older, she has made strong gains in the last 24 hours of polling. She also retains a big lead among Hispanic voters in Texas, and has made small gains among white voters.

“However, it is important to note that Barack Obama continues to hold big leads among voters in Dallas and in Houston, where there is a heavy concentration of congressional districts and, therefore, delegates to the Democratic National Convention. By most accounts, Clinton needs to win big in both Texas and Ohio to make significant inroads in Obama’s delegate lead, and our polling shows that is going to be difficult for her to accomplish.
Zogby has not been acutely accurate in polling predictions this year. And go to THIS PAGE at Pollster.com and you’ll see a list of polls, which may show Clinton or Obama ahead — but all are within the margin of error (you can also see a cool graph).
In Ohio, Zogby sees a dead heat (45%) between the two battling Democrats.

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Unlike in Texas, polls in Ohio show Clinton ahead and some by wide margins. Here’s the list the paper offers:
Zogby: Tied

• Rasmussen: Clinton 47%, Obama 45%

• SurveyUSA: Clinton 50%, Obama 44%

• Fox News: Clinton 46%, Obama 38%

• University of Cincinnati: Clinton 47%, Obama, 39%

• Real Clear Politics — head to head: McCain 464%, Clinton, 44.9%; Obama, 47.1%, NcCain 43.6%
This means if Clinton loses Ohio, it’ll be a big news story. If she holds on, even if it’s hard for her to win the nomination…she can hold on. If Obama wins big, it’ll be a big story.
And the campaigns? This is Frenzy Weekend as both campaigns are going full blast. Here’s look what’s going on:


–Hillary Clinton continues to hammer Obama on experience and has sharpened her attack:
“My opponent says it’s fear mongering to talk about national security and the fact that we’re at war,” Clinton told a crowd at the historic stockyards in Fort Worth. “Well, I don’t think people in Texas scare all that easily.”

Clinton sought to belittle Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois, as inexperienced compared to herself and McCain.

“He (McCain) will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Sen. Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002,” she told reporters aboard her plane.

….“His entire campaign is based on one speech he gave at an anti-war rally in 2002,” Clinton said of an Obama speech opposing the war in Iraq. “And I give him credit for making the speech, but the speech was not followed up with action, which is part of the pattern we have seen repeatedly—a lot of talk, little action.”

–Obama is reporting making a massive push in vote-producing organization and TV media buys in the two states:
The intensity of Mr. Obama’s drive is especially apparent on television, where he has outspent Mrs. Clinton by nearly two to one in the two states. That is helping him eat deeply into double-digit leads she held in polls just weeks ago.

But after a month in which she raised $32 million — a remarkable amount, but still less than the $50 million or more brought in by Mr. Obama — Mrs. Clinton is fighting back.

Their expenditures, combined with a travel schedule that sent the two Democratic presidential candidates and their surrogates from border to border in Texas and Ohio, reflect the expectation that the voting this week may be climactic. Mrs. Clinton’s advisers have suggested that she will bow out of the race if she falters in either state, after 11 straight losses.

–The Clinton campaign continues to try to change expectations about what would constitute a big Clinton win and a big Obama loss:
Analysts and even supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have said she needs to win two big states next week to keep her presidential campaign afloat. But her advisers are seeking to put the burden on front-runner Sen. Barack Obama, saying if he doesn’t sweep all four states Tuesday, it would show Democrats are having second thoughts about him.

Obama’s string of 11 victories since the Feb. 5 “Super Tuesday” contests has raised questions about the viability of Clinton’s candidacy. As recently as Feb. 20, even former president Bill Clinton pinned his wife’s hopes on Ohio, in the Midwest, and Texas, in the South.

“If she wins in Texas and Ohio, I think she’ll be the nominee,” the former president told a Beaumont, Texas, audience. “If you don’t deliver for her, I don’t think she can be.”

But in an e-mail and conference call to reporters Friday, Clinton’s campaign laid the groundwork to keep her campaign alive if the results are disappointing Tuesday in the four states, which also include Rhode Island and Vermont.

Obama has been leading the former first lady in the popular vote, committed delegates and fundraising. In Friday’s conference call, senior Clinton strategist Howard Wolfson seized on those facts to reshape expectations about the Democratic contest. New Polls Show Clinton Obama Texas Ohio Primary Showdowns Are Nail Biters