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Gallup Tracking: Obama Gaining

Topics: 2008 , Barack Obama , Gallup , Hillary Clinton , John Edwards , Rasmussen , The 2008 Race

The latest from the Gallup Daily tracking survey of Democratic and Democratic leaning voters nationwide:

Barack Obama has now cut the gap with Hillary Clinton to 6 percentage points among Democrats nationally in the Gallup Poll Daily tracking three-day average, and interviewing conducted Tuesday night shows the gap between the two candidates is within a few points.

Go read it all, but in this case, the picture tells the story:

01-30_Gallup Daily_Tracking Election 2008.png

See my post from Monday for more details on this new Gallup tracking survey.

Update: Andrew points out in the comments that the Rasmussen automated daily tracking survey shows no gain for Obama over the last week. However, the Gallup trend brings the two surveys into closer agreement on the Democratic race now than ten days ago. On January 20, they reported Clinton leading by just four points (38% to 34%), while Gallup had Clinton ahead by 20 (48% to 28%). Clinton now leads on the Rasmussen survey by nine points (41% to 32%).

Back in April 2007, when Rasmussen's surveys were showing a closer race than other national polls, we looked closely at the potential reasons for the difference. One important issue is that Rasmussen's methodology effectively samples a narrower segment of the population. Whether that difference makes it better or worse in this context is a point of debate.

 

Comments
Rich B.:

How do these mid-primary National tracking polls work? Is the pool of voters limited to voters from states who haven't voted yet?

If so, you'd see a bump for Clinton after South Carolina (due to the new exclusion of Obama-voting South Carolina democrats from the National primary pool) and a bump for Obama after Florida (for the same reason) that should be accounted for.

If not, then you are biasing your results by including changes in opinion from people in states that have already voted.

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Progny:

Although Rich B. brings up an interesting point, I think the question of biasing sort of answers itself.

No, national polls do not eliminate states after the voted. And the reason is that you can't track a national trend if you are going to constantly shift the sample pool of voters. If you eliminate SC and create a bump for Clinton and then eliminate FL and create a bump for Obama, then:

1)The apparent momentum for the candidates will be completely counter intuitive.

2) You would never really learn anything about how the race is developing.

One way to account correct for states that already voted would be to conduct a multi-state survey of Feb. 5th states, and see where that is at. But you can't build a real trend line if you are going to keep adding and subtracting states.

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Sgihakan:

The narrowing, the narrowing!!!! (to steal a phrase from the australian election)

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fourth:

Maybe not narrowing in Ras yet but they have it 43-40 in Cali.

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Gary Kilbride:

Regarding potential gain by Obama, it's been amusing to listen to the analysis of early voting percentages the past few days, specifically since Obama's huge victory in South Carolina plus the Kennedy endorsements. Hillary's "victory" in Florida has been discounted or asterisked by many pundits, due to her huge lead in early voting and absentees. They stress the numbers among late deciders, implying -- if not openly stating -- that the overall percentage would have mirrored that late figure, minus early voting.

What an ignorant load of crock. You can't assert early voters share the same priorities or fragile potential to shift as the late deciders. Particularly when the frontrunner is Hillary Clinton, a national figure for 16 years.

I'll continue to assert a Hillary race is a different animal. She retains logical percentages in specific key demographics, percentages not subject to wild swings. You see swings only when the demographics of a given state do not favor her, at least compared to Obama. It continues to remind me somewhat of the Lamont/Lieberman race, where in a general election playing field you could more or less plug and play about 30% of the Democratic vote for Lieberman, which meant he was virtually invulnerable given the demographic breakdown of Connecticut and the weakness of the GOP nominee Schlesinger.

Let me emphasize I despise Lieberman and Hillary was not my first choice. But the real world math needs to come first when evaluating this stuff. Many times I've heard James Carville say, "...the math always wins."

In Florida, the Hispanic math does not boost Barack Obama, in a primary setting or November. It's one of the tricky and unusual variables of '08. Even if Hillary might seem less electable overall, in vital Florida she has far greater possibility than Obama.

This afternoon, and harping on the Florida specifics, I heard Randi Rhodes whine about early voting for nearly her entire program. It was hysterical. Does anyone really think there's not enough info out there regarding Hillary Clinton? Why is it paramount to absorb every available hour before deciding who to vote for? Or to base a vote on the latest dirty trick or media frenzy, as opposed to general impression or a body of work? I'm continually amazed by recency, and why everyone is so fascinated by it.

A lesser candidate might withdraw late, after early voting began. That might be one legit concern about voting early. Hillary certainly did not fit that category.

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