Monday, April 21, 2008

PA Preview: Bowlers and Gun- Owners

NBC News provides an first glance at what to expect during tomorrow's Democratic Pennsylvania Primary:

A new MSNBC/McClatchy/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette poll suggests things are staying fairly competitive in Pennsylvania. This survey of 625 likely Dem primary voters was conducted Thursday and Friday, and it shows Clinton leading Obama by five points, 48%-43%. So what happens on Tuesday? Looking inside the poll's demographics, the highest undecided totals are in the more rural parts of the state -- and that's not good news for Obama. In the so-called "T" region of the state (almost everything between Philly and Pittsburgh), Clinton leads 51%-37% with 11% undecided; this is one of the few demographic groups sporting double-digit undecided. Two other interesting crosstabs with high undecideds also signal the potential that the undecided vote will break for Clinton. Among bowlers (24% of the electorate) and gun owners (38% of the electorate), Clinton leads big among these cultural conservatives: She's up 54%-33% among bowlers and 53%-28% among gun owners. So while the poll shows Clinton with a narrow -- and arguably narrowing -- lead, the clues inside the numbers indicate this is her race to lose and that her lead could expand.

*** Will it be five points or more? Should tomorrow’s primary end up as close as this poll suggests (i.e., five points or less), then this means many of these undecided potential Clinton voters decided to stay home. If they come to the polls, she could see her lead climb to more than five points. And this seems to be why Obama has gone negative in the past couple of days: to keep these undecideds away. He might have also sharpened his tone a bit to beat back the growing post-debate perception that he was looking weak. After all, the undecided voter in Pennsylvania looks to be the type of voter that wants to see a strong walkin' and talkin' candidate. So here’s the game on Tuesday -- it’s not if Clinton will win, but how big will her victory be. She'd like to net more than 200,000 in the popular vote, which she would only get with both a large turnout (approximately 2 million total) and a 10-point-plus victory.

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