Q Poll: Clinton Widens Lead in Penn.

031808 hillary1 weg Q Poll: Clinton Widens Lead in Penn.Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, a new Quinnipiac poll shows. She now holds 53 percent of the vote among likely Democratic primary voters, while he has 41 percent. A poll released February 27 put her lead at 49 – 43.

Both Democrats have spent time in the state over the last few weeks, though Clinton has given her attention almost exclusively to Pennsylvania since the last contests.

The poll also shows a widening of the racial divide, with Obama’s share of support among black voters growing, and Clinton gaining among white voters.

Another notable piece of data, although I’m not sure how significant it is, particularly because Pennsylvania does not necessarily reflect the national opinion, shows that a fairly large number (43 percent) of these likely Democratic primary voters aren’t interested in a joint ticket between the two remaining contenders.

The full release:

The momentum in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary battle has shifted back to New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who now leads Illinois Sen. Barack Obama 53 – 41 percent among likely primary voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

 

This compares to a 49 – 43 percent Sen. Clinton lead in a February 27 poll by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN uh-pe-ack) University. In that survey, the momentum was with Sen. Obama who had narrowed a 52 – 36 percent gap from a February 14 poll.

In this latest survey, the split between black and white voters grows. Clinton has widened her lead among women likely Democratic primary voters and narrowed Obama’s lead among men.

Subgroup numbers are:

• White voters go with Clinton 61 – 33 percent, compared to 56 – 37 percent February 27.

• Black voters back Obama 76 – 18 percent, compared to 69 – 23 percent February 27.

• Women back Clinton 59 – 35 percent.

• Men go 48 percent for Obama to 45 percent for Clinton, compared to February 27 when men backed him 50 – 43 percent.

• Obama gets 50 percent of Democrats with a college degree, to Clinton’s 45 percent.

• Among voters with no college degree, Clinton leads 57 – 37 percent.

• Voters under 45 back Obama 57 – 39 percent while voters over 45 back Clinton 60 – 34 percent.

“The momentum is clearly Sen. Clinton’s as she firms up her traditional coalition of women, white males, non-college, rural and older voters in Pennsylvania. Her endorsement by Philadelphia’s black Mayor, Michael Nutter, is cutting slightly into Obama’s overwhelming edge among black voters, but clearly the split among black and white voters is growing,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

“Sen. Clinton leads in the bellwether Philadelphia suburbs by almost the same margin she leads statewide,” Richards added. “And don’t forget powerhouse Gov. Ed Rendell is putting all the king’s horses and all the king’s men into the Clinton campaign. Anything can happen in this crazy, unpredictable Democratic race, but this week, Big Mo is on Clinton’s side.”

By a 71 – 23 percent margin, Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters have a favorable opinion of Clinton, compared to 61 – 19 percent for Obama, contributing to Clinton’s lead in the primary.

Looking at the so-called “Dream Ticket,” 32 percent of Democratic likely voters prefer a Clinton-Obama ticket, while 18 percent prefer an Obama-Clinton ticket and 43 percent don’t want the two contenders to run together. Obama voters are less enthusiastic about the “Dream Ticket,” with 52 percent opposed, compared to 38 percent of Clinton backers who are opposed.

The economy is the single most important issue in their Democratic primary vote, 48 percent of likely voters say, while 23 percent list the war in Iraq and 18 percent list health care. Voters who list the economy favor Clinton 55 – 40 percent, while voters who list the war are split, with 47 percent for Clinton and 46 percent for Obama. Looking at the qualities they most want in a candidate, 37 percent of Democratic primary voters want a strong leader, while 23 percent want someone who is trustworthy; another 22 percent most want someone who shares their values and 11 percent want someone who can win in November. Those looking for a strong leader back Clinton 62 – 34 percent, while voters who want someone trustworthy support Clinton 49 – 43 percent.

Voter Concerns

Pennsylvania Democrats have a number of concerns, including:

• 82 – 15 percent that the U.S economy is in a recession;

• 70 percent are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about being able to afford health care;

• 67 percent are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” about a major terrorist attack.

From March 10 – 16, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,304 Pennsylvania likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points. The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio and the nation as a public service and for research.