Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Survey USA: Hillary leading Obama 56%-37%

Finally some good news for Hillary coming from here in Ohio. One of the most reputable polling firms in the country, SurveyUSA, has her beating Barack Obama by a very healthy margin, 56%-37%.

It's no doubt great news. Especially since the media has been portraying (and the Hillary campaign has freely admitted) that she must win both Texas and Ohio on March 4 to remain in the hunt against Obama.

I'm sticking with my prediction of a Hillary win in Ohio by 51%-47%. But while she may win the battle in Ohio, I think she's destined to lose the war. Obama has racked up huge margins of victory in various states up until now and he looks poised to win Wisconsin and Hawai'i next Tuesday. And with the Democrat's system of awarding delegates proportionately to the candidate's share of the vote, Hillary will not be able to gain any clear advantage in the delegate count. With that reality setting in after March, it looks likely that Hillary's superdelegate advantage will begin to erode as Congressmen and Governors look to jump off Hillary's sinking ship.

Hillary's last asset was her strong support among Latinos but now even that advantage is questionable. Obama actually won the Latino vote in Virginia this week (though lost it 55%-45% in MD to Clinton).

As for SurveyUSA's poll, I have no reason to doubt it but March 4 is still a long time from now in political terms. Assuming Obama amasses even more victories in Wisconsin and Hawai'i, Ohioans will switch to Obama in larger numbers. Plus, the more time Obama has had to campaign in primary states and let this message be heard--he was on over the Democratic voters and won the primary. Again, I think he'll come up short in Ohio, but just barely. And that alone could be interpreted as an Obama victory.

That said, Obama is not in the same territory as McCain. It is now mathematically impossible for Huckabee to catch up to McCain. It cannot happen, ever. Hillary and Obama, on the other hand, are neck and neck (as any evening news program will tell you). The Obama campaign is trying to go after McCain and ignore Hillary in the process, but they do that at their own peril. The "aura of inevitability" it was got Hillary in trouble in the first place.


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