Monday, May 05, 2008

More NC Polls and Data--Who's Right? And An Indiana Win for Hillary is No Upset

If you look at today's polls in NC, Obama is either cruising to a comfortable victory, or he's in danger of a close call. Public Policy Polling gives Obama a satisfactory 10 point lead, Zogby says he's up by seven points, but Insider Advantage says it's a statistical dead heat, with Obama's lead down to three points.

Who to believe?

We'll put our money on Public Policy Polling because of the impact of early voting in NC. Early voting ended Saturday with roughly 400,000 Carolinians taking advantage on the Democratic side. In the PPP sample, 29% of the voters polled had already voted. Of those, Obama won handily, 63%-34%. That's a huge lead going into the voting tomorrow (it transaltes to a lead of more than 100,000 votes).

The PPP early voting percentage in this poll is similar to reports from at least two other polls a couple days earlier, so it does not appear to be an anomaly.

To be sure, Obama barely leads--47-45%--amongst those who haven't yet voted, but unless turnout on election day far exceeds expectations, his large lead in the early vote tally should propel him to a comfortable victory.

Obama needs a solid victory in NC, because he's likely to come out behind in Indiana, a state that never favored him other than being next door to Illinois. The Clintonistas will try to spin a victory for Hillary in Indiana as some sort of upset, but it's not. Indeed, Hillary has held the lead in a majority of Indiana polls since the beginning of March--see here--so this isn't some new phenomenon.

[Indiana also has early voting, but it was for a shorter period and has not been nearly as robust as in NC. In a Survey USA poll out today, 3% of the sample had already voted, and they went for Hillary by a margin of 54-35%.]

That said, we'd still give Obama an outside shot at either winning Indiana, or coming within 2-3 points of Hillary there.

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