by Todd Beeton, Tue Apr 22, 2008 at 11:36:49 AM EDT
I should have noticed earlier that the Suffolk U poll released today was actually a bellwether poll of 402 LVs from a "randomly selected list of 5,000 residents of Allegheny County" so not truly a follow-up poll to the one released yesterday.
From Political Intelligence:
[Hillary Clinton] led Barack Obama 52 percent to 40 percent in polling conducted Sunday and Monday in Allegheny County around Pittsburgh in a Suffolk University survey released today, a slightly larger margin than the statewide Suffolk poll done over the weekend.
Suffolk pollsters say they used similar bellwether counties to correctly predict results in prior Democratic primaries in New Hampshire, California, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Ohio. They picked Allegheny County because its election results mirrored the statewide results in the 1988 and 2000 Democratic and Republican primaries.
This is particularly interesting considering a similar, although slightly older, poll of another bellwether region of Pennsylvania, The Lehigh Valley near the border of New Jersey and on the cusp of the Philadelphia media market. Here the result portends a much closer race statewide today (h/t Smintheus):
Clinton holds a 47 percent to 46 percent lead in the phone poll of 322 likely voters.
The poll was conducted between April 10 and Thursday, a time that saw the two candidates exchange jabs over Obama's observations on the tribulations of small-town Pennsylvania voters. [...]
"It's as tight a race as it can be in the Valley, a key bellwether region of the state," said Christopher Borick, the director of Muhlenberg's Institute of Public Opinion in Allentown, which conducted the poll.
The valley's bellwether bonafides are impressive:
Since 1952, Lehigh Valley voters have diverged from the nation's choice of president only four times. That includes the 2000 race, when voters in the two counties picked popular-vote winner Al Gore.
And only once in that same period have Valley voters not mirrored the choice of their fellow Pennsylvanians, Borick said. In 1960, Valley voters picked Richard Nixon. The state went to winner John F. Kennedy.
There is reason to believe that region may go for Obama by a larger margin than the state as a whole today though, since it is partially in the Philly media market where Obama is advertising heavily; not to mention Hillary Clinton was slow to reach the region. Look for how the results in these regions track with these polls tonight. And as The Politico notes, they're likely to be reported relatively early in the evening:
The cities and suburbs usually report their returns first, which gives the candidate favored in those areas a quick - and sometimes fleeting - lead.
But be warned:
The conservative-leaning small towns through the center of the state usually filter in much later in the evening. [...]
So Obama could show a lead in the early results, but it might be short-lived. If Clinton is ahead at the start, she may never lose it.