From NBC's Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro
Super Bowl Sunday is all about odds and numbers so what better way to celebrate the Sunday before Super Tuesday with poll numbers... LOTS OF THEM: dig in!
*** Polls, Polls, Polls: Not surprisingly, the Sunday before Super Tuesday is like manna from heaven for poll junkies. The biggest crop comes from us: MSNBC/McClatchy/Mason-Dixon surveyed five states (Ariz., Calif., Ga., Mo. and N.J.). Here's the big picture on the Democratic side: Clinton has single digit leads in four of the five states, with her biggest lead being 9 points in California; her smallest lead is 2 points in Arizona. (Clinton's lead in Missouri is 6 points and 7 points in N.J.) Obama leads only in Georgia, 47-41. Nobody is over 50% in any of the polls meaning nothing seems done. Most importantly, because of the way the Democratic party distributes delegates, these results seem to indicate that the likelihood of a split delegate decision is very high. We've already done one estimate that had both Clinton and Obama securing 800+ delegates out of the 1600+ available. With just two candidates left making threshold, everything could be divided right in half.
*** Some Dem Details: Not surprisingly, there's a major gender gap in just about every state; For instance, in Missouri, Obama leads among men by 6 points; trails by double-digits among women. In Arizona, the gender gap is even MORE pronounced, with Obama leading men by 21 points and Clinton leading women by 10 points. California and New Jersey are similar stories: Obama with a small lead among men, Clinton with a big lead among women. Also of note, Obama does better among white voters in Arizona, New Jersey and California than he does in Georgia and Missouri. As many veterans of Missouri politics know, the state looks more Southern in this Dem primary than Midwestern. Clinton's winning Missourah; Obama's winning Missouri. Besides gender, there is also a generational gap, with Obama doing well with voters under 50 and Clinton doing well with voters over 50. As for the ethnic divides, all of the polls look like the exit polls (i.e. Obama winning blacks 4-1 and Clinton winning Hispanics 4-1) with one exception: Arizona. In that state, Obama leads among Hispanics. This is perhaps the most surprising result of all of our polls; Arizona, unlike many other states, have a lot of 3rd and 4th generation Hispanics that don't vote like Hispanics in other states. Still, to be leading among Hispanics in Arizona was a real surprise.
*** As for the Republicans: We surveyed four states (Calif., Ga., Mo. and N.J.). John McCain led in all of them, with Georgia being the most competitive. McCain's lead in Ga. was just 6 points over Romney, 33-27, with Huckabee at 18%. In Calif., McCain's lead was also single digits, 40% to Romney's 31% and Huckabee's 13%. In New Jersey, McCain's lead is 15 points in New Jersey, 46-31% with Huckabee at 5%. And then there's Missouri, the only state we polled that doesn't have Romney in second, but Huckabee. For what it's worth, McCain does not get over 50% in any state though he's close in New Jersey (which is clearly a base state for him).
*** Some GOP Details: Interestingly, in Missouri, despite the fact that Mike Huckabee sports the highest FAV rating among the three major GOPers, McCain has the 10 point lead, 37-27 over Huckabee with Romney at 24%. There may not be a better example of how Huckabee helps McCain than in Missouri (a winner-take-all delegate state). Huckabee and Romney, combined, are over 50%. In all four states where we polled Republicans, the biggest demographic gap was in age. McCain, like he has in South Carolina and Florida, has over-performed among voters over 50, while Romney's kept it much closer with younger Republicans. This age gap is, perhaps, what will put McCain over the top. Also, as if we haven't presented enough evidence about the importance of Huckabee for McCain, when we ask Republicans about which attributes matter most in deciding who they support, "shares my values" topped "strength and leadership" in Georgia and Missouri and McCain didn't score well in the "shares my values" category. But because Huckabee scores well there (even better than Romney), it doesn't seem to hurt McCain in the ballot test. In California and New Jersey, "strength and leadership" topped "shares my values," which may explain McCain's larger leads in those two states.
*** There Are Other Polls: Two national polls out this morning show a close Democratic race and a growing McCain lead. A Wash. Post-ABC poll has Clinton leading Obama, nationally, 47-43; On the GOP side, McCain leads big, 48% to Romney's 24% and Huckabee's 16%. In the Gallup tracking, Clinton expanded her lead over three straight days of seeing it drop which means this most recent day of tracking had to show a MAJOR Clinton spike. She now leads 48-41, after leading just 44-41 the day before. On the GOP side, McCain has a similar lead in Gallup as he does in the Post/ABC, 44-24%.
*** And In The States: A few other state polls to point out: A new California Field poll has the Dem race just two points, 36-34% with a sky-high undecided number. In Alabama, a Tuscaloosa News poll has Obama leading Clinton 44-37% and McCain leading 38-26-15 over Huckabee and Romney respectively. A Chicago Tribune poll in Illinois has Obama leading Clinton 55-24% and McCain over Romney 43-20%. A Marist poll in New York has Clinton leading 54-38% and McCain over Romney, 61-24%. Taking Illinois and New York together, do these poll results foretell the possibility that Obama does better in New York than Clinton does in Illinois? Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby is polling in a number of states: Zogby has Obama and Romney leading in California; Clinton and McCain ahead in Missouri; Obama ahead big in Georgia; McCain ahead big in New York and New Jersey; and Clinton and Obama in a dead heat in New Jersey.
*** On The Trail: Clinton campaigns in Bridgeton, Mo. and Minneapolis, Minn.; Obama has a rally in Wilmington, Del. in the afternoon; Huckabee camps out in Ga. with four stops including Kennesaw, Woodstock and Macon; McCain hits Chris Shays' district in Conn. (Fairfield) and does Boston in the afternoon; Romney has a rally in Chicago early in the day and in St. Louis just before the start of the Super Bowl; Bill Clinton visits black churches all over L.A. today before watching the Super Bowl with Bill Richardson in New Mexico. And Michelle Obama appears with Oprah and Caroline Kennedy at a rally in L.A. on UCLA's campus.
Countdown to Tsunami Tuesday: 2 days
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Countdown to Ohio and Texas: 30 days
Countdown to Election Day 2008: 275 days
Countdown to Inauguration Day 2009: 352 days
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