What Momentum Looks Like
by Todd Beeton, Wed Apr 30, 2008 at 12:33:11 PM EDT
With six days until next Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries, Hillary Clinton seems to have translated her win in Pennsylvania into a real shift in momentum, a somewhat surprising turn of events considering this race has been largely momentum-proof. It began with a shift in the media narrative following her win from "what is she still doing in this thing?" to "why can't Obama seal the deal?" and continued with what seemed like 4 uninterrupted days of Reverend Wright's sabotage tour, which went unanswered until Tuesday. It was perfect storm for Clinton who has seen a boost in several metrics.
- In North Carolina, Obama's 4-poll average lead pre-PA was 15%, today it's 10%.
- In Indiana , whereas Obama led in the 3 polls directly leading up to the Pennsylvania primary and the one immediately following it, Clinton has been ahead in three of the last 4 polls in the state.
- Nationally, the shift toward Clinton has been most dramatic in the Newsweek poll, which showed her closing Obama's 19 point lead pre-Pennsylvania to just a 7 point lead after it. As for the tracking polls, since April 22, Gallup's results have shifted from Obama up 8 to Clinton up 1 and Rasmussen now has Obama up 4 whereas he was up 8 on primary day.
- In another reversal, Clinton is now performing better against McCain than Obama is in both the Rasmussen and Gallup head to head match-up tracking polls.
- Public perception seems to have changed as well judging by InTrade, which showed Clinton's likelihood of winning the nomination go from 12% to 25% in a week (just about where the Rasmussen trading markets have her.)
All of which is to say that Hillary Clinton has had a very good week, but the true test of momentum will only come next Tuesday. Can Clinton sustain it in an environment that has seen upward shifts shift back in mere days? Barack Obama is doing what he can to stem this turning tide of course, first through his denouncement of Reverend Wright yesterday and then via the roll out of several endorsements yesterday and today to project strength and confidence to superdelegates. But what about actual voters?
Here's Gallup's take from last night's polling results:
Tuesday, Obama attempted to put the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy behind him by denouncing his former pastor's recent comments in the media. Tuesday night's interviews show no immediate impact of Obama's remarks on voter preferences.
It's too soon to tell the full impact of Obama's speech, of course, and it's too soon to know just how many superdelegate endorsements Obama will net this week, but there's certainly enough time for things to shift back. It's true, of course, that every other time Clinton has exhibited any sign of momentum it's been fleeting and Obama has been able to shift it back, but this looks and feels different.