Articles and Analysis


POLL: Gallup - "Clinton's Swing-State Advantage"

Gallup Poll

National (5/12-25)
n=11,000 RV

    "In the 20 states where Hillary Clinton has claimed victory in the 2008 Democratic primary and caucus elections (winning the popular vote), she has led John McCain in Gallup Poll Daily trial heats for the general election over the past two weeks of Gallup Poll Daily tracking by 50% to 43%. In those same states, Barack Obama is about tied with McCain among national registered voters, 45% to 46%.

    "In contrast, in the 28 states and the District of Columbia where Obama has won a higher share of the popular vote against Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries and caucuses, there is essentially no difference in how Obama and Clinton each fare against McCain. Both Democrats are statistically tied with him for the fall election."

Full results here.



So essentialy there really isn't any statistically significant difference between Obama and clinton's numbers. Yawn, nothing to see here let's move on.



Uh... Louis... an 8 point difference in the margin between Clinton and Obama's performance in swing states is not yawn-worthy. It is gasp-worthy in what is the worst election year for the Republicans since 1964.



"So essentialy there really isn't any statistically significant difference between Obama and clinton's numbers". Is that sarcasm?

Essentially this is saying in Obama states they are the same...in Clinton states she has an average 7 point advantage which is very statistically significant. That explains why Clinton beats McCain, Obama looses to McCain in most polls including yesterday's Gallup.



Hmmm, yes, oh yes, polls are REAL PREDICTIVE in determining the actual votes months out.

Yup, they sure got the primaries right, Clinton won by 20 points in all states! That's why she is the nominee!!!



I think there's a possible issue with this analysis, in that there has been a national trend toward Obama over the last several weeks. Using data from 3 weeks ago in some cases to infer the level of support in each state for Clinton and Obama vs. McCain doesn't pick this up. Further, as we see in FiveThirtyEight.com in some states that have been repolled recently from earlier dates, such as VA and CA, Obama has become much stronger (and some, not so). So one has to be careful trying to infer the tendencies from this not-quite-simultaneous set of polls from Gallup.



Here is a nice tidbit from the "results"....

"All of this speaks to Sen. Clinton's claim that her primary-state victories over Obama indicate her potential superiority in the general election....Clinton's 20 states represent more than 300 Electoral College votes while Obama's 28 states and the District of Columbia represent only 224 Electoral College votes."


Mark Lindeman:


How about a comparison limited to swing states?

Oh, wait. Gallup thought of that. "However, just focusing on the swing states in Clinton's and Obama's respective win columns, the two are fairly similar...." Mmmmm. It keeps going; people can read it all and see what they think.

I think that Clinton's present advantage in Florida gives her a leg up right now, despite Obama's advantages in some other states. It's all pretty sketchy.



I do not see where there is a national trend for Obama over the last several weeks in the General Election match ups. In fact, it looks like Hillary is still outperforming Obama in most of the national as well as state-level polls as indicated by Gallup.

The argument that Obama has improved in California does not make sense in the context of Hillary's strength because that is a "blue state" in which McCain is not competitive at this time. Additionally, according to 538, Virginia is still very RED, in which neither McCain or Clinton fare well.

I think it is very important in this Gallup Poll that one read the entire "results" narrative and zero in on the "purple" (swing) states... as well as the number of electoral votes those states represent. Even taking into account that Hillary wins different swing states than Obama (each is assigned their own swing state list) ... Hillary still wins more electoral votes.

The bottom line is that Hillary's claim that she is the stronger candidate in the General Election is supported by the Gallup Poll.



Correction: Make that "in which neither Obama or Clinton fare well.



It seems there is a definite trend toward Clinton in several states over the last few weeks. Is it possible that some of it is related to Obama voters feeling he is going to be the nominee so they are more inclined to say they will vote for Clinton. On the other hand, it seems a greater number of Clinton voters are either disappointed in her losing or upset with Obama, so they are inclined to say they will vote for McCain. Is there a way to test this?



"It seems there is a definite trend toward Clinton in several states over the last few weeks. Is it possible that some of it is related to Obama voters feeling he is going to be the nominee so they are more inclined to say they will vote for Clinton."

This is one of the most illogical comments I have read here in a long time. Why would it make any sense that Obama supporters (therefore happy about Obama being the likely nominee and absolutely willing to vote for him in the general election) say "Hey, let's just say we wanna vote for Hillary for absolutely no apparent reason!"



Does anyone know how much of gallup's sample is cell only? they indicate that they do include cell phones-- but beyond that, dont disclose much more..

inquirying minds want to know..



Why is it "one of the most illogical comments?" (no need to be snide) I believe the polls ask about each versus McCain, not either/or versus McCain (as your reply suggests). It seems possible that Obama supporters say they would vote for Obama versus McCain and Clinton versus McCain. On the other hand, it is possible that Clinton supporters say they will vote for Clinton versus McCain and for McCain versus Obama. Once the heat of the primary is over, it is reasonable to expect that some of the Clinton supporters who now say they favor McCain to switch and favor Obama. That would change the polling.



The DNC is painfully stuck with BO and awaiting the GOP's 527 pounding (which Clinton is already been hit with for years and kind of immuned to). Since 1964, The last 3 Dem presidents had to claim the rural blue collar white votes and women to win. Their SSouthern background with moderate images during the election campaigns had help them in doing that. This year, the DNC is gambling big time with a inexperienced Northeast educated black liberal with seriously questionable ties and liberal beliefs.



Recent polls show Obama leading McCain in such key swing states as Ohio (Obama 48, McCain 39, SurveyUSA, May 18), Colorado (Obama 48, McCain 42, Rasmussen, May 19), and Virginia (Obama 49, McCain 42, SurveyUSA, May 18), and with smaller leads in New Hampshire (Obama 48, McCain 43, Rasmussen, May 21), Iowa (Obama 44, McCain 42, Rasmussen, May 13), and Pennsylvania (Obama 45, McCain 43, Rasmussen, May 21; Obama 48, McCain 40, SurveyUSA, May 18).

The only swing states where Clinton has a clear advantage at this point are Florida and West Virginia. Michigan and Wisconsin are dead heats for either candidate, while Obama generally runs much stronger than Clinton in Virginia, Indiana, Iowa, and Colorado. I'd say it's pretty much a wash at this point, if anything a slight advantage for Obama who puts more states in play.



This analysis is as muddied as Clinton's argument for getting the nomination.

First of all, they keep tossing Florida and Michigan in the mix as Clinton victories, which is wholly inappropriate. In reality, Obama may be less competitive in Florida, but he is as or more competitive than Clinton in Michigan. She only won 55% of the vote in Michigan when she was running against nobody. She beat "Uncommitted" by only 90,000 votes. I'd hardly call that a victory.

As for the rest of this analysis, it's meaningless without state-by-state results. By taking the aggregate poll numbers of swing states that Clinton won in the primaries, we lose specific useful information. For example, we know that Clinton runs much stronger than Obama in Arkansas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. So, when we look at the aggregate data it is possible that we are missing Obama's relative strength in states like New Mexico and New Hampshire.

Similarly, the aggregate data for all states that Obama won likely hides his relative strength in "new" swing states - like Virginia and North Carolina. The likely truth (although certainly not justified in this Gallup report) is that Clinton runs stronger in traditional swing states, while Obama adds more purple states.

So, who will be stronger in the General Election?

Nobody knows, it's freakin' May.



bclintonk, you are choosing favourable polls selectively, and moreover, YOU ARE LOOKING AT Obama-McCAIN POLLS AND NOT COMPARING THEM WITH OBAMA-CLINTON polls (which is what we are debating about here). Go on 538 for a list, and you will find that Clinton does better than Obama.
In particular she does better in OHIO and FLORIDA, which are collectively worth a crapload of electoral colleges (she also does better in West Virginia, which nobody mentions).

Are polls all that predictive at this stage? No. They are part of an overall puzzle that tell a story. They are valuable in combination with other things - like regression analysis of state-by-state demographics or say, the very logical explanation for Obama's poor performance in swing states: many swing states have either a large Hispanic or working class population (while few have a large black population or rich population).

The denial from the kool-aid drinkers here is simply insane... but then, they are also people that think its a good idea to pick a thin-skinned neophyte capable of screwing up the best election year for the Dems since 1964, so perhaps logic is wasted.



I am "selecting" only for the most recent published polls. You want comparisons?

Ohio, Survey USA, May 18
Obama 48, McCain 39
Clinton no result but previous polls showed her leading by similar margins, 50-43 (Rasmussen May 14), 48-38 (Quinnipiac April 29), 53-42 (SurveyUSA April 13).

Michigan, Rasmussen, May 8
Obama 44, McCain 45
Clinton 44, McCain 44

Colorado, Rasmussen, May 19
Obama 48, McCain 42
Clinton 44, McCain 47

Virginia, Survey USA, May 18
Obama 49, McCain 42
Clinton v. McCain no result but previous polls showed Clinton losing 38-47 (VCU May 18), 41-47 (Rasmussen May 8), and 39-55 (SurveyUSA Aoril 13)

Iowa, Rasmussen, May 13
Obama 44, McCain 42
Clinton 42, McCain 45

Missouri, Survey USA, May 18
Obama 45, McCain 48
Clinton 48, McCain 46

Pennsylvania, Rasmussen, May 21
Obama 45, McCain 43
Clinton 50, McCain 39
Survey USA, May 18
Obama 48, McCain 40
Clinton no result

Wisconsin, Rasmussen, May 5
Obama 43, McCain 47
Clinton 43, McCain 47

The Clinton campaign has repeated the lie that she does better in "swing states" so loudly and so often that it's become accepted wisdom among Clinton backers, despite hard, objective evidence that it's just not true. A number of key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio seem to be moving strongly toward the Democrats whether it's Obama or Clinton. Others like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri are toss-ups whether it's Obama or Clinton. Clinton presently has a clear advantage in Florida and West Virginia, but that's balanced by Obama's advantage in states like Colorado, Virginia, and Iowa.

And of course it's way too early for any of this to mean very much, but it's the Clinton campaign that's pounding away on it, and they're making an argument that's just not supported by the available evidence.


Post a comment

Please be patient while your comment posts - sometimes it takes a minute or two. To check your comment, please wait 60 seconds and click your browser's refresh button. Note that comments with three or more hyperlinks will be held for approval.