Sen. Hillary Clinton’s primary victories in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island have revived her near-dead campaign and brought her into a statistical dead heat with Sen. Barack Obama among registered Democrats and Democratic leaners, according to a new national NEWSWEEK Poll. The survey found that Clinton has erased the once-commanding lead that Obama held in most national polls following his 11 straight victories in February’s primaries and caucuses. Obama is the favored nominee among 45 percent of Democrats, compared with 44 percent for Clinton, according to the poll, which was based on telephone interviews with 1,215 registered voters March 5-6.
The poll also found that Democratic voters are ready to rally around the candidate they trust most to improve the economy, amid fears of a recession. But neither candidate has been able to lock up that issue, or many others, and the vast majority (69 percent) of Democratic voters now support the idea of a “dream ticket”–leaving aside the crucial question of who runs on top.
What’s striking is that the fundamentals remain largely the same. Obama gets overwhelming support from blacks (80 percent to 10 percent), those under 40 (60 percent to 35 percent) and voters who have graduated from college (50 percent to 41 percent); Hillary wins the majority of whites (53 percent to 35 percent), voters over 60 (51 percent to 33 percent) and those who have a high-school education or less (48 percent to 38 percent). Along gender lines, Obama wins male voters by a 10-point margin (50 percent to 40 percent), while Clinton retains her lead with female voters (46 percent to 40 percent).
Read it all.
Update: Over at Intrade, the Obama contracts are at 72.5 and the Clinton contracts at 26.1.
Another update: Jonathan Chait has some thoughts on the current situation here which include this:
Clinton’s path to the nomination, then, involves the following steps: kneecap an eloquent, inspiring, reform-minded young leader who happens to be the first serious African American presidential candidate (meanwhile cementing her own reputation for Nixonian ruthlessness) and then win a contested convention by persuading party elites to override the results at the polls. The plan may also involve trying to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations, after having explicitly agreed that the results would not count toward delegate totals. Oh, and her campaign has periodically hinted that some of Obama’s elected delegates might break off and support her. I don’t think she’d be in a position to defeat Hitler’s dog in November, let alone a popular war hero.
Some Clinton supporters, like my friend (and historian) David Greenberg, have been assuring us that lengthy primary fights go on all the time and that the winner doesn’t necessarily suffer a mortal wound in the process. But Clinton’s kamikaze mission is likely to be unusually damaging. Not only is the opportunity cost–to wrap up the nomination, and spend John McCain into the ground for four months–uniquely high, but the venue could not be less convenient. Pennsylvania is a swing state that Democrats will almost certainly need to win in November, and Clinton will spend seven weeks and millions of dollars there making the case that Obama is unfit to set foot in the White House. You couldn’t create a more damaging scenario if you tried.
Still another update: There is an interesting set of responses to Jonathan Chait there.