Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama draws even with Clinton in Texas

By Michael J.W. Stickings

As you can see here, polls had Clinton up over Obama by 7 to 16 points in Texas as recently as just a few days ago. A new CNN poll, however, has Clinton up by just 2 points, a virtual tie given the margin of error.

And it could go either way. According to CNN polling director Keating Holland, about "a quarter of likely voters say they could change their minds in the next two weeks -- and not surprisingly, those people are splitting roughly equally between Clinton and Obama". Why? "Likely Democratic primary voters would be equally happy if either candidate won the nomination, and they don't see a lot of difference between them on several top issues."

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A poll conducted by the American Research Group, and reported by The Austin American-Statesman on Friday, has Obama up 48 to 42: "The new poll attributes Obama's surge to self-described independents and Republicans who said they plan to vote in the Democratic primary. Those voters amounted to 22 percent of respondents and went for Obama almost 3-to-1... Among Democrats, Clinton topped Obama 47 percent to 42 percent, the poll found."

As for the ethnic-demographic breakdown: "The poll also found Obama winning with white voters (51 percent to 40 percent) and African Americans (76 to 17). Clinton was the choice of Hispanics, but just barely, 44 percent to 42 percent."

(ARG may not be the most reliable pollster, however. It has gotten a lot wrong over the course of this campaign. I suspect that Clinton is ahead.)

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In other words, the race is amazingly close -- as the CNN poll reminds us. Obama is moving up, but Clinton is still strong.

And there are still over two weeks to go.

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