Clinton Has a Lead, But Not a Landslide, in Puerto Rico

A new poll confirms that Hillary Clinton is the clear favorite in this weekend’s Puerto Rico primary, but perhaps not by the runaway margin that her supporters have been hoping for. Published in the San Juan daily El Vocero, the survey gives Clinton a 51-38 percent edge over Obama. (Full Spanish-language article here.)

Puerto Rican election expert Manuel Alvarez-Rivera sends along this caveat: “Now, be cautioned that pre-election polls in Puerto Rico have a decidedly spotty record, especially when it comes to events like primaries: Sometimes they are right on target, but more often than not they’ve gotten the numbers wrong.”

Puerto Rico is one of three remaining primaries, and the only one that Clinton is expected to win. Her campaign hopes to roll up a massive margin in order to lay claim to an overall popular-vote victory for the primary season. Of course, as we showed last week, even a 20-point win in Puerto Rico would be unlikely to give Clinton the lead in any fair calculation of the popular vote unless turnout on the island is astronomical (as in over a million votes). As we also noted recently, the number of polling stations for this Sunday’s primary has actually been slashed, with elections officials concluding that turnout is likely to be low.


UPDATE: One of the commenters trashed Manuel on the grounds that he mischaracterized an ’05 PR referendum in a previous post. This was my mistake. I added that it was a statehood referendum in parentheses, thinking that I was clarifying his comment. But it wasn’t a statehood referendum; it was about whether P.R. should have a unicameral legislature. Manuel definitely knows what he’s talking about; I don’t.