How Obama Should Do In NC On Tuesday

While the RCP 8-poll average shows the North Carolina primary within single digits, Public Policy Polling blog cautions poll watchers not to forget the lesson we learned from the primary results in NC's surrounding states of South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

In all three cases Obama won by double digits more than the average preelection poll suggested, and no one got within seven points of the correct margin in any of the states.

I've recreated PPP's handy chart below:

StateFinal RCP Ave.Actual TallyClosest Poll
South CarolinaObama +12Obama +28Obama +20 (PPP)
VirginiaObama +18Obama +29Obama +22 (SUSA)
GeorgiaObama +18Obama +36Obama +22 (Strategic Vision)

The reason these trends should be instructive in predicting Tuesday's result is that, as PPP (a North Carolina outfit) puts it, NC is "relatively similar demographically to them - a large black population, plenty of college educated liberals, etc." Now certainly the landscape has shifted toward Hillary Clinton in recent weeks and pollsters are now far more likely to be familiar with the turnout tendencies of certain demographics than they were 2 months ago, but personally I'm not so sure we won't see a similar overperformance by Obama on Tuesday. Of course, if we don't and Hillary is able to keep him to single digits as the polls suggest, it should not be forgotten what a remarkable underperformance (of 20+ points) that would represent for Obama compared to how he did among similar electorates just 2 months before.

There's more...

Clinton Closing The Gap In NC

Post-Pennsylvania, it looks like it's Hillary Clinton's turn to be the one to close the gap, this time in North Carolina. Both PPP's poll yesterday and the new Rasmussen out today show Hillary Clinton significantly tightening the race with Barack Obama although he's still ahead by double digits.

CandidateRasmussen 4/28 (4/3)PPP 4/26-27 (4/19-20)RCP 5-poll Ave.
Obama51 (56)51 (57)50
Clinton37 (33)39 (32)37.4

Add to this the new SurveyUSA, which has Obama up by just 5 points (h/t PPP blog), a net improvement for Clinton of 4 points over last week's poll (no link yet) and it's clear where the momentum is.

From PPP:

The primary movement in the last week has been among white voters. Our last survey showed Clinton leading by only five points in the state with that group but now her margin is up to 56-35. Per usual Obama's overall lead comes from dominating the black vote, which he leads 83-9.

One piece of good news for Obama in the poll is that he has a lot more votes in the bank than Clinton. 14% of those surveyed said they had done early voting already, and with those folks Obama has a 63-31 advantage.

Rasmussen's analysis:

The demographic results in North Carolina are similar to the dynamics seen nationally and in most primaries--Clinton leads by fifteen points among White voters while Obama leads 80% to 11% among African-Americans. Clinton does well among White Women and older voters while Obama leads among those under 65.

Rasmussen has those who've already voted split 68-22 Obama over Clinton.

The benchmark for Clinton's May 6th success right now looks like she needs to win Indiana and keep Obama to 10 points in North Carolina. Considering the 2 most recent polls out of Indiana show her 9 and 8 points up respectively, Clinton looks well on her way to achieving the former; if she can continue this upward momentum in North Carolina, she may very well pull off both.

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Clinton Scores Endorsement of North Carolina Governor Easley

The Associated Press has the story:

Hillary Rodham Clinton has won the endorsement of North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, a surprise boost to her candidacy in a state where Barack Obama is heavily favored to win the Democratic primary.

Easley was expected to announce the endorsement Tuesday morning in Raleigh, the state capital, one week before North Carolina's primary on May 6, according to people close to the governor and to Clinton. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity because the formal announcement was pending.


Clinton has benefited from the support of other governors in key primary states, including Ohio's Ted Strickland and Pennsylvania's Ed Rendell. Political observers say Easley, while relatively popular, does not sit atop a massive political operation in North Carolina.

Easley is scheduled to leave office next year after serving two terms as governor. Both Democratic candidates vying for the nomination to replace him have endorsed Obama.

As noted in the AP article above, the Easley endorsement isn't everything; the two candidates running to replace him, Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore, have not only endorsed Barack Obama but even competed to prove to voters which one more strongly supports Obama. What's more, with just a week to go before election day, there isn't necessarily a whole lot that the political machine of an outgoing governor could do to tip the scales.

That said, Easley's endorsement is easily the biggest in the state at this point, and the biggest possible endorsement in the state, outside of that of John Edwards (and perhaps Elizabeth Edwards). While the endorsement will not necessarily put Clinton in the running to take the state -- recent polling puts her behind Obama by a solid double-digit margin (see both and Real Clear Politics) -- tomorrow should likely be a day of positive coverage for Clinton throughout North Carolina. And because we're getting so close to election day, who wins each news cycle does matter. So no doubt, this is a big pick up for Clinton.

There's more...

Edwards endorsing Clinton?

Howard Fineman has reported on MSNBC in the past hour the Elizabeth Edwards will be making several campaign stops in coming days with Hillary Clinton in John Edwards' home state.

General sentiment in NC is that Elizabeth is better-liked there than her husband.

While it's been widely reported throughout the press that John Edwards would remain neutral in the Primary, it's also been widely reported that one of the main reasons he was remaining neutral was due to the differences in opinion within his own camp, starting with his wife's support of Obama. Clearly, the tide has turned in the Edwards' household, and this is about as close to an Edwards' endorsement as anyone's going to get, IMHO. Go, Hillary!

There's more...

Obama Up 18, 20 Points in New North Carolina Polling

Today brings news of two new polls out of North Carolina ahead of the state's March May 6 Democratic presidential primary (when I'm going too quickly my fingers sometimes confuse those two months), one from Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling (.pdf) and one from The Civitas Institute. I've included them below, along with the latest trend estimate (which includes the PPP poll but not the Civitas poll) and the Real Clear Politics average (which includes neither recent poll).


For reference, the PPP poll was in the field over the weekend while the Civitas poll, which was conducted by TelOpinion Research was in the field a little earlier, Wednesday and Thursday. Both surveys seem to generally be in line with other polling showing Barack Obama up and up big over Hillary Clinton in North Carolina, with the PPP poll, in particular, suggesting that Obama did not take a significant initial hit in the Tarheel state resulting from the coverage of his admittedly poorly worded comments. For now, Clinton is going to have to do some serious legwork in the state if she hopes to limit the potential damage there, both in terms of delegates (which actually matter) and popular vote (which matters to perception more than anything else but which the Clinton campaign is talking a lot about these days).


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