Posted Feb. 15, 2008 – Yes, Barack Obama is on a serious roll. But for those who think it’s all over for Hillary Clinton, remember New Hampshire!
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Political pundits were drafting Clinton’s obituary with one hand and Obama’s coronation speech with the other. One near-teardrop later and Clinton was back on top of Democrat Mountain, and the senator from Illinois was looking for a way to get the Obama Express back on track.
Enter Club Kennedy, the Big O and a host of Hollywood A-listers, and once again it looked like Barack was heading for the home stretch with Hillary and Bill in the rearview mirror. But Hillary Clinton – despite an avalanche of negative press from gaffes by Billionaire Bob and her husband, coupled with inside-the-camp turmoil and an evaporating pool of dollar bills – rocked delegate-rich California and New York, in addition to a few others, and Obama knew that any gloating was premature.
Obama’s Confidence Grows
But, once again, following a thorough thrashing by Obama in disparate states like Washington, Alaska, Nebraska, Louisiana, Maine and Virginia, Clinton finds herself backed against a wall, facing what many observers agree looks like imminent defeat. Even Obama, who usually demurs on the issue of just how bad he’s kicking butt, has begun to walk and talk with a little more swagger. As he pointed out in a speech Wednesday in Madison, Wis., “We have now won East and West and North and South and across the heartland of this country we love.”
He’s also begun to shift the focus toward the issue of electability – just in case the Party favorites (known affectionately as “super delegates”) start tinkering around with the notion that Clinton’s experience is reason enough to grant her the nomination – highlighting such points as his never-wavering stand against the Iraq War and the way he stacks up as a 5- to 8-point favorite over Sen. John McCain in national polls. (Clinton’s high negatives show that she fluctuates between a dead tie and a 3-point underdog.)
Even by Clinton’s count, Obama is ahead by more than 100 delegates going into Texas and Ohio on March 4, and Pennsylvania on April 22.
Clinton Looks Strong in the Next Round
But the bigger story might be how powerfully Clinton is polling in all of those states, given that there are 228 delegates up for grabs in Texas, 141 in Ohio and 188 in Pennsylvania.
In Ohio, Clinton is outpacing Obama by a whopping 21 percentage points, 55 percent to 34 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University polled released Thursday. Specifically, in Ohio, Clinton’s base appears to have come back home after swooning for Obama in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. Among Ohio Dems, women are expressing nearly twofold support for Clinton, 56 percent to 30 percent. And, men are seeing Clinton as far more attractive than the brother from Chicago, leaning toward her 52 percent to 42 percent, the poll shows. If there’s any good news for Obama in these two states, it’s that Black folks are still in his corner – 64 percent to 17 percent – although they apparently aren’t as fervent as African Americans in other parts of the country, eight in 10 of whom flocked to polling stations with Obama on the brain.
Peter Brown, one of the pollsters with Quinnipiac University’s survey institute, said that Ohio is the perfect fit for Clinton. "It has blue-collar America, with a smaller percentage of both Democrats with college educations and African Americans than in many other states where Sen. Obama has carried the day," he said.
In Pennsylvania, Clinton is leading her Democratic rival 52 percent to 36 percent.
But, as Obama can surely attest, a 20-point lead in the polls does not an election guarantee. Remember New Hampshire!