Thursday, May 01, 2008

Obama Takes Big Lead In NC Early Voting

Some polls suggest that the NC race may be tightening up a bit. On the other hand, it appears that the early voters in NC have gone heavily for Obama, so he may already have locked in a significant advantage.

According to the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies, which does some excellent number crunching, 144,000 North Carolinians had already voted on the Democratic side as of this past Tuesday. (The number came from the NC Board of Elections.)

While CCPS noted that the demographics of those early voters appeared to favor Obama, we now have further data to support that. A Survey USA poll released today includes the results from early voters--kind of an early exit poll. While the sample is quite small, Obama was leading 57%-39% amongst those who said they'd already voted.

A day or so earlier, Public Policy Polling also released a poll that included separate results for early voters. In that poll, 14% of respondents had already voted, so the sample is a bit larger. The results were even more dramatic: Obama 63% to Clinton's 31%.

If those numbers are accurate, Hillary starts in a pretty big hole on election day. We saw the inverse of this in Texas, where polls showed the race narrowing, but Hillary had a big lead in early voters. Ultimately, she won by a comfortable margin.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to outpace Hillary in new superdelegate commitments. Before the Pennsylvania primary, Obama's overall delegate lead got as high as 142. After Pennsylvania, Hillary closed the gap to about 130 delegates, but Obama's lead is now back up to 139 (we use the delegate count).

Yes, the Rev. Wright controversy has been a drag on Obama. But it doesn't appear to be enough to change the result for Democrats.

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