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Live Blogging Pennsylvania Exit Polls and Vote Returns

Topics: 2008 , Barack Obama , cbs , cnn , Exit Polls , Gary Langer , Hillary Clinton , Mark Lindeman , msnbc , National Journal , SurveyUSA

I will be live-blogging here starting very soon on what the exit polls will have to tell us about the exit polls. More details to follow, but please feel free to use this as an open-thread on what is appearing on the net and elsewhere on the exit polls. Here are the links where official exit poll tabulations will appear shortly after the polls close at 8:00 p.m.:

Comments will appear in reverse chronological order.

11:25 - Folks, I'm calling it a night. With 88% of the vote counted as of this writing, Clinton is holding a lead of exactly 10 percentage points. The pre-election polls did reasonably well, especially given that Clinton did better among those deciding late. The early leaked exit poll estimates were off once again. More tomorrow.

9:50 - Reader "Anon" posted the link to the Pennsylvania Secretary of State's official count. At this point, the official count is probably the best source of information about the ultimate vote count. Though having posted that link, I now see that the percentage of the vote counted in the official network news sites.

9:45 - After nearly 90 minutes, the exit poll tabulations update, and Mark Lindeman reports the underlying estimate extrapolates to 54% Clinton, 46% Obama. The geostrata show Philadelphia at 18% of all voters, Philly suburbs at 16%.

8:57 - Noticed an error in the 2006 turnout numbers I posted below. Now corrected.

8:50 - NBC calls Pennsylvania for Clinton.

8:37 - Here are some of the most important numbers to watch in the exit poll tabulations as they update: The 52% to 48% Clinton lead assumes that Philadelphia County is contributing 16% of the statewide vote and the rest of the Philadelphia suburbs (Berks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties) is contributing 16%.

These "geostrata" estimates are one of the most important aspects of the early tabulations to update as the evening wears on as the analysts incorporate, first hard turnout counts from the sampled precincts, and later the actual vote count.

For comparison's sake, here are some comparable actual numbers. As of January, the Democrats of Philadelphia County were 19% of all registered voters statewide, but in the 2000 Senate primary they contributed 16.7% of the vote. In the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Ed Rendell and Bob Casey, Philadelphia surged to 23.0% of votes cast and in the 2006 primary for Lieutenant Governor it was only 11.1% still 22.7% of the votes.

The Democrats in the four counties that the exit pollsters define as Philadelphia suburbs were 15.6% of registered Democrats statewide in January. In the three contests cited above, the Philly suburbs contributed 9% in 2000, 16.2% in 2002, and 10.7% 21.6% in 2006.

PS: Nearly forgot, for those not noticing the fine print, is that these two regions are, as expected, Obama's best in the state. So if the composition ends up looking more like 2002 and 2006 than 2000 or 2006, his numbers will improve

Also, I should note that those numbers come from a spreadsheet shared by friend -- It is always possible I've made a computation error, so if anything looks out of order, please let me know.

8:17 - The tabulations show Clinton doing 10 points better among those who made up their minds in the last 3 days (she leads 60% to 40%) than among those who decided earlier that that (divide 50-50%). That is as good or better in terms of late deciders than in previous contests. See the 6:26 update.

8:01 - The characterization from MSNBC is "too close to call." Their website has the initial cross-tabulations posted, and Mark Lindeman has his extrapolation for us: 52% Clinton, 48% Obama. These are based on interviews received just before the polls close.

See the 6:39 update, but it's worth remembering that this initial update is almost always based on what exit pollsters call the "composite" estimate (an average of the exit poll tallies and pre-election polls. Subsequent updates will add in more exit poll interviews being phoned in now, constantly improving estimates of the turnout by the exit poll "geostrata" and, gradually actual vote for the sampled precincts. Also very important to keep in mind: The as-the-polls-close estimate for Ohio also had Clinton leading by four points.

7:48 -- I'm back.

Alert reader Daniel T posts the link to an AP write-up of some of the none vote preference results from the preliminary exit poll tabulations. With the same caveats as noted below about late afternoon partial results, here is some initial demographic information:

As expected, Pennsylvania's Democratic voters were overwhelmingly white and — as usual in Democratic contests — there were more women than men. About three in 10 were age 65 or over. Nearly half were from families that earned less than $50,000 last year. A quarter had household income of more than $100,000 and about as many reported having a postgraduate degree.

Three in 10 Pennsylvania Democratic voters were union members or had one in their household. And four in 10 had a gun owner in the household.

Those numbers are more or less in range with what pre-election polls reported, although the $100K number is higher. For what it's worth: telephone polls get higher refusals on income (for reasons that ought to be obvious).

Those clicking back through to my post on demographics will note that SurveyUSA reported a much higher percentage of college educated voters than other polls. That is almost certainly a function (as learned this afternoon via email) of the very different question they ask about education:

Have you graduated from a 4-year college?

Yes, press 1.

No, 2.

Most telephone surveys use a multi-category question that asks about years of education and typically offers the category of "some college" (meaning coursework sort of a degree). As such, the difference for SurveyUSA was almost certainly about the question, not about their sample

7:00 - This is probably a good time to remember these words of wisdom from TNR's Mike Crowley, written at this time on March 4:

Stop the Madness!
In the last couple of hours I've gotten allegedly reliable Ohio exit poll information showing
a) Narrow Obama lead
b) Narrow Hillary lead
c) Hillary blowout
d) Tie
I think from now on political journalists should turn off their BlackBerries from 5-8pm on election nights and, like, go do ESL tutoring or some other charitable work instead.

In that spirit, I am going to use the next 30 minutes to relocate to the Pollster.com "home office." I'll be back online before the polls close.

6:49 - Josh B comments:

cnn is reporting that according two their exits 58% of those that decided in the last week went for clinton how does that compare to your chart i am not to good at interpreting charts.

The ultimate is how that number -- if accurate -- compares to those who decided earlier. The table shows that the comparable number for Ohio was 57% (and that was from the final exit poll, weighted to match the result).

6:39 - Shortly after the polls close at 8:00 p.m., our friend Mark Lindeman will report the extrapolated overall vote estimate used to weight the exit poll cross-tabulations. These estimates begin as a mashup of pre-election polls and the interviews exit polls conducted at polling places and over the phone (with early voters) by the networks. These estimates improve, becoming more accurate over the course of the night. Click here for the usual caveats on how these numbers are derived and how they improve over the course of the evening. And see my post 3/4 National Journal column for the evidence that while the "as the polls close" numbers are better than those leaking now, they have still had their problems.

6:26 - I have my television tuned to MSNBC, where Nora O'Donnell occasionally pops up and reads preliminary exit poll results that do not pertain (directly) to vote preference estimates. One result she teased just before 6:00 involved the percentage (17%) that said they made up their minds in the last three days. I spent some time gathering results on that question from primaries held since 2/5 this afternoon, and here they are:

04-22_late_deciders.png

The first four columns of numbers in the table above show the percentage clinton received among each subgroup, those who decided in the last three days or before, and those who decided in the last week or before. The last two columns show the percentage that decided "today" (on Election Day) or over the "last three days" before that. Given the numbers in the table, the 17% number O'Donnell cited is consistent with the previous primaries.

What stands out from the table (as Gary Langer noted in his column yesterday) is the consistent and often large advantage that Hillary Clinton has had with late deciders [as compared to those who decided earlier -- thanks RS] in all of the contests since Louisiana. The key question is how the results we will have at 8:00 will compare.

Caveat emptor: I gathered the data for the table quickly. Errors are possible.

6:15 - As Josh B points out in the comments, Drudge has posted leaked numbers that are a bit different than the other source had. So...take this all with the biggest grains of salt you can imagine.

6:05 - Just to put a bit more emphasis on the previous update: The results "leaked" for Ohio at this hour on 3/4 showed Obama leading by 2. Clinton won by 10.

6:00 p.m. - I see that at least one publication has posted leaked exit poll results that most will consider a bit surprising. Please keep in mind that these leaked estimates have typically shown a skew in Obama's favor. See the table in my 3/7 National Journal column. Errors on the margin occurred (at this hour) in Obama's favor in 18 or 20 states I looked at, averaging 7 points in Obama's favor. The numbers leaked previously at this hour hit double digits in OH, RI, VT, NJ, MA, GA and AZ.

 

Comments
Joshua Bradshaw:

just thought i would mention that drudge has exit polls that are just the opposite of the ones you say so this goes to how unreliable they are i think.

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Uri:

Just remember, exit polls don't tally absentees: all the students at Pitt and Penn state and all the other small colleges who are from other places in-state.

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RS:

From the National Review blog:
"Obama is carrying blue collar workers two to one" - What is PA, WI?
"he's winning Philadelphia in the neighborhood of three to one." - That'd be the dream scenario, no?

OTOH, maybe the good people of PA finally decided to get this race done and over with! Maybe the endorsement by the son of The Chief tipped him over...

eeee-yeah. right.
[From an Obama-bot and one-time denizen of da 'burgh.]

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tom brady:

obama's exit polls have AA turnout at only 14% - isn't that low?

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Uri:

Even if each leak is inconsistent, they show a very close race, not the blowout that Hillary needed. It's over, folks.

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kingsbridge77:

Obama supporters are touting an NRO story that cites no exit polls but swears that some anonymous sources told them that Obama won by 5% in PA. They are also trusting Drudge's big bold headline claiming that Hillary won by only 4%.

Is there anyone too right-wing and too unreliable for Obama supporters not to trust?

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Joshua Bradshaw:

cnn is reporting that according two their exits 58% of those that decided in the last week went for clinton how does that compare to your chart i am not to good at interpreting charts.

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RS:

@tom brady: 14% AA is what SUSA was typically predicting.

@Mark:
Do you mean "large advantage" compared to Senator Clinton's overall vote share? Because she gets substantially over 50% among "last week voters" in only OH, TX and RI.

@kingsbridge77: Richard Mellon Scaife.
[kidding, kidding - yes, take all these early exit polls with big helpings of salt.]

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tom brady:

@RS

SUSA also had Clinton winning by 7%. PPP, the poll that had Obama up, estimated AA's at 18%, which now looks high.

At point, this looks far from over.

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Daniel Thomas:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_campaignplus/primary_exit_poll_glance

Yahoo is reporting the following exit poll results.

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RS:

@tom brady:

PPP likely tweaks their demographics according to what they think will happen [based on their Wisconsin polls.} Saying more young voters and AAs will turn-out for Senator Obama, as will more women for Senator Clinton.

SUSA doesn't - just adjusts their respondent base to the state demographics, and then lets likely voters fall where they may. So they might be more on the mark than PPP...

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debrazza:

These are not late deciders. I think it is about time that we come to the idea that this is the Wilder effect or something else working here because it seems to be a pattern we are seeing.

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Daniel Thomas:

CNN is now posting actual returns on their website.

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RS:

Wow - just 30% in Philadelphia/burbs? That's a complete downer - most of the polls, particularly SUSA, showed these folks at 45%!

Mark - how late do the exit polls poll? Any chance that folks voting on the way from work - likely in the city/burbs - are not being counted?

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Extrapolating the Philadelphia county results at 12% and 19% - I'm showing about 442,000-445,000 total vote if stays at current levels ... if 52% did vote, that's about 21% alone, not counting the surrounding counties ...

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Thatcher:

At 28% of Philadelphia county - 447,000 extrapolated if trends continue ...

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RS:

@Thatcher:
Not clear what you are saying or how you arrive at the results. Are you saying Philly by itself will be 21% of the statewide vote? How?

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Gmann:

A little off topic here.
Tonight I see delegate count as:
Obama: 1648
Clinton: 1537 ?

Where did Clinton pick up her extras?

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Thatcher:

At 38% of Philadelphia county - 450,000 extrapolated.

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Thatcher:

RS: the estimate is 52% of registered Democrats voted in PA today ... if that is the case then about 2.1 million voters went to the polls today. So, I am extrapolating the current percentage reporting in Philadelphia county to estimate the turn out in that county. CNN exit polls gave that area 18% ...

right now it is holding steady at 21% if 2.1 million voters actually went to the polls. CNN exit had that area at 62-38 for Obama. Currently he is 59-41 with 51% reporting in that county.

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emcee:

eight points.

right at the point that absolutely nothing changes and we get to keep doing this exact same thing we've been doing.

sooo excited.

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Thatcher:

Philadelphia County is still holding in the 21% range when both the state and the county are extrapolated to 100% reporting.

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anon:

I apologize for the difficulty I'm having with the TypeKey system... didn't mean to post just the raw link.

An interesting thing was going on at the PA Sec State site at 9:30: their total vote count was much higher than what the TV nets were carrying and they showed a much narrower margin of Clinton up 51-49. My guess was that maybe they dumped the absentee votes all at once into the system that Uri was talking about. Now, they're vote count is lagging the networks and the lead is back to 53-47.

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tom brady:

A couple points. First, for the most part, the polls were dead on here in predicting a Clinton victory at somewhere between 5-8% and in estimating the demographics - women came out slightly higher, AA's are down a bit, but on the whole no real surprises. Second - this is nowhere near the end of the road for Clinton, but neither is it a momentum shifting victory. It's more of the same, and so they continue to slog it out with no clear victor in sight.

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Thatcher:

Turnout projection since 90 minutes ago still holds around 2.08 to 2.13 million ... Philadelphia County still holds to 442,000 to 445,000 ... which is 21%

These numbers have stayed within these bounds for the past 90 minutes.

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Thatcher:

As you guys can tell I am keeping an eye on the Philly area and comparing actual turnout totals to the exit polls ... he's currently at 65% with Phil. County being about 21% of the total vote. That is 3% higher turnout and on top of that 3% higher for Obama than the CNN exit poll.

Is anyone looking at other areas and knowing how that is looking?

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Kabindra:

So much for PPP's model.

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Uri:

They're done counting the Pittsburgh area. Clinton did 55:45 in Allegheny which accounts for AA and students and college educated. The nearby areas went for Hillary.

Philly is also done, but I'm surprised that results from Bucks/Montgomery are taking this long, they are going to hold the ticket to the final margin.

Students at Penn State went strong for Obama. I actually thought that HRC's football history might help her a little there.

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Uri:

By the way, I'm watching Obama's speech and I don't understand what his crowd pickers were thinking. Three frat boys in Abercrombie & Fitch right behind him looks like a parody.

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RS:

I just did a sum of southwest (Pittsburgh/burbs) and southeast PA (Philly/burbs). Based on current CNN votes and precincts reporting (a few minutes ago, anyway), assuming each precinct has equal number of votes (on average...), and following Poblano's demarcations:
http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/04/pennsylvania-scorecard.html

Statewide: 443k (85% reporting, extrapolated)
Philly/burbs: 899211 (71% r/e)
- 40% of PA (SUSA's last: 43%; CNN exit 34%)
Pittsburgh/burbs: 544465 (96% r/e)
- 24% of PA (SUSA 24%, CNN Pitt/West 29%)

Splits currently:
Philly/burbs: C-O 41-59 [SUSA 41-55; CNN exit 40-60] - ~50% of votes in burbs still to be counted
Pitt/burbs: C-O 62-38 [SUSA 58-36; CNN exit 61-39]

So all in all.. SUSA did pretty well, except turn-out in Philly/burbs doesn't seem as "good" as expected (but this turnout had decreased from the previous SUSA poll, so maybe a trend?)

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RS:

Whoops - sorry, statewide should have been 2.26 million. Read the wrong line.. :-)
With about 340k votes in the Philly burbs counted (effectively 76% of the votes/precincts), Philly/burbs are C-O 42-58. Suburbs currently favor Senator Clinton 52-48.

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cinnamonape:

Pretty much final count (99.1%) with a few Philly and outlying precincts to be tallied.

Clinton 54.2%
Obama 45.8% So an 8.4% difference. The spinmeisters will interpret that as may.

More interestingly is that Clinton likely won only 10 more delegates than Obama of the 130 or so available. That means she picked uo 7.5% of the differential between them in total delegates (also 130 according to NBC). In those terms that isn't a huge victory.

Next up is Indiana and North Carolina. Unlike Pennsylvania where Clinton started off with high double digit leads after Texas, Obama leads them by double digits. I can't see how she can catch Obama in the delegates or popular vote anymore, so her sole chance is to spin any "did better than expected" to give her status with the Superdelegates.

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cinnamonape:

With 99.1% of the Precincts reporting

Democratic Primary

Candidate Votes Percent
CLINTON, HILLARY (DEM) 1,234,547 54.3%
OBAMA, BARACK (DEM) 1,041,136 45.8%

2,275,863 votes

Republican Primary

Candidate Votes Percent
HUCKABEE, MIKE (REP) 88,213 11.4%
MCCAIN, JOHN (REP) 564,448 72.7%
PAUL, RON (REP) 123,491 15.9%

776,152 votes

Democratic Voters outnumbered Republican 3:1. People still voting for Paul and Huckabee (over 25% "protest votes" in the Republican party?)

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ByTheNumbers:

As of 5 am ET, it's 54.7 to 45.3, a 9.4% gap. Another poor showing for certain polls with questionable, heavily issue-weighted methodology. SurveyUSA's sparse poll did well, as it has in many large states.

BTW, if you think that Obama is starting with a "double digit" lead in Indiana, I politely suggest that you're reading the wrong poll numbers. Bloomberg (and Downs) are not credibly methodologies, and I think the comments by SurveyUSA on the Downs methodology (posted on this board) demonstrate that. Clinton is ahead in Indiana by a fair margin in the legitimate polls. Frankly, I find the media mis-use of these polls to be shocking.

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americaferreraisafatho:
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americaferreraisafatho:
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cinnamonape:


OBAMA, BARACK (DEM) 1,029,672 45.4%
CLINTON, HILLARY (DEM) 1,237,696 54.6%

with 99.5% of the vote counted.

Differential a bit under 9.2%.


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cinnamonape:


OBAMA, BARACK (DEM) 1,029,672 45.4%
CLINTON, HILLARY (DEM) 1,237,696 54.6%

with 99.5% of the vote counted.

Differential a bit under 9.2%.

And I should make a correction...Obama is not leading by double digits by any poll in Indiana. According to two polls he has reversed large double digit differences. The fact that a SUSA administered poll could obtain such major differences from their other does seem curious though.


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Uri:

So what happened in Bucks county and the other Philly suburbs?

Early exit polls talked about Obama doing better with white voters than in Ohio, but that was when we were 52:48 and before they found that the Philly turnout for Obama was much higher than expected. Bucks ended up something like 65:35, and she did well even in nearby Mont. There's no statistics, but it sounds like a weaker white performance than in OH

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Pat:

These results are actually surprising. After all these:

Rev. Wright
Bitter-gate
Republican non-stop attacks (Fox)
Hillary's non-stop attacks
Joke of a debate by ABC

And

More than 30% of voters in PA over the age of 65

I am surprised that Obama was able to close the gap from almost 26 points in some polls to only 9. A stronger debate performance would have narrowed the gap further.

However, Obama needs to improve his debate performances and be prepared to attack back strongly and decisively. No more Mr. nice guy.

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Uri:

@Pat: The 26 percent gap is a myth from the early days of the campaign when people were voting for Edward and we had like 20% undecideds.

Hillay never passed 56% in any of the polls
(/08-PA-Dem-Pres-Primary.html) and got to 55%.

If you look at all the polls since the Ohio primaries in which undecideds were kept reasonably low (less than 10%, which is more logical than those 25%), he had been cruising around 40-45. So he got 45% in the end with no undecideds and she got 55%.

For all the stories about the inroads with white people, Obama avoided a bigger defeat because he had a 150000 vote lead in Philadelphia thanks to high AA turnout.

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americaferreraisafatho:

Umm, Uri, you might want to look up the meaning of the word "myth".

In November, Clinton was leading 48-15. 15!!

It's on Pollster - you might want to check it out. So, let's see, she went up 7 points, while he went up 30. Yup, she's a winner! Give her the chicken dinner.

Quinnipiac 10/31-11/5/07 443 RV 48 15

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Uri:

@americaferreraisafatho:
You may want to read an entire message before you reply.

As I stated, in polls with a REASONABLE number of decided voters there was never such a gap.

The poll you have cited (out of tons and tons of polls) lists:
43 Clinton 15% Obama, 18% Undecided.

As most people would agree, 18% Undecided suggests that these are either not likely voters or not pushed hard enough.

What other people would agree, is that there were 24% of the voters that actually went for Edwards (this was November). Because the numbers don't add up to 100%.

So what you're telling me is that back in November before the race began and when there was a third popular candidate and Gore was still being polled and in political terms this was aeons ago, Obama was down 26% and now he closed this gap by 16% after getting most of the other candidate's votes. Great.

I can tell you happily that Obama also beat Ron Paul in PA yesterday, because it's just as relevant.

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Uri:

@americaferreraisafatho:
You may want to read an entire message before you reply.

As I stated, in polls with a REASONABLE number of decided voters there was never such a gap.

The poll you have cited (out of tons and tons of polls) lists:
43 Clinton 15% Obama, 18% Undecided.

As most people would agree, 18% Undecided suggests that these are either not likely voters or not pushed hard enough.

What other people would agree, is that there were 24% of the voters that actually went for Edwards (this was November). Because the numbers don't add up to 100%.

So what you're telling me is that back in November before the race began and when there was a third popular candidate and Gore was still being polled and in political terms this was aeons ago, Obama was down 26% and now he closed this gap by 16% after getting most of the other candidate's votes. Great.

I can tell you happily that Obama also beat Ron Paul in PA yesterday, because it's just as relevant.

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americaferreraisafatho:

spin it however you want uri.


point is, she gained very little since november. obama gained quite a bit. for someone with no name recognition, no network, no support from the governor and the biggest cities' mayors, that is pretty effing impressive. this is all despite hillary going negative with her "sump-pump" strategy.

too bad, she is going to lose both Indiana and NC in two weeks anyway, so this is all moot......


"Ding-Dong, the witch is DEAD!"

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Uri:

@americaferreraisafatho: I LOVE how you talk about Clintons' negativity, but call her THE WITCH.

The spin is coming from the Obama side on this one, I'm afraid.

Obama had a lot of name recognition even before the primaries. After all, most of the interest and hoopla around the DNC four years ago was around the Obama speech, which the media kept trotting as a future candidate. Name recognition increase for all candidates once the campaign goes underway, and Obama has definitely gotten it, especially by bombarding us with TV ads nonstop.

Obama is not the underdog, he sweeps young voters, he has money, he has momentum, the media loves him, he's a great story, he'll make a great movie one day.

So far most negativity comes from Obama fans. Google the derisive term "Billary" or just search for it on any average CNN/MSNBC comments page, and look at terms like "bi*ch", "witch", and "terminator" terms in places like the Huffington post. On the other hand, show we one derisive reference to Obama in that form.

As much as I dislike the republicans (my opinions are closer to Nader), nothing would please me more than seeing all of you seeing your precious change getting squashed in November. The more Obama people torment Hillary's fans instead of just waiting patiently for her to lose (since we all know she can't win the nomination no matter what), the worse the backlash is at the elections.

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americaferreraisafatho:


"Obama had a lot of name recognition even before the primaries"

- THAT statement alone shows how delusional clinton hacks are at this point. Wow, in your world, she REALLY does lead in the popular vote.

What a joke her campaign has become.


"most negativity comes from Obama fans"

- another BS argument that the NY TIMES (Clnton's hometown paper that endorsed her)
completely and utterly refuted yesterday. Basically, they called her a dirty republican who was destroying the democratic party for her own ambitions.

Her fans are just as, if not more so, insulting toward other supporters and more importantly, reality.

They now parrot the same benedict arnold line about mccain being better than obama and a full 26% of Clinton voters in PA would actually vote for mccain, whose views are diametrically opposed to their candidates - just out of spite. Now, who is more negative and vengeful again?

Hmm, sorry Uri, I know the facts hurt. Get over it.

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