National Poll Round-Up
by Todd Beeton, Mon Nov 05, 2007 at 07:44:23 AM EST
|Candidate||ABC News/WaPo10/29-11/1||Newsweek10/31-11/1||RCP 8-poll Ave.|
|Clinton||49 (53)||43 (44)||44.4|
|Obama||26 (20)||24 (23)||22.6|
|Edwards||12 (13)||12 (14)||12.3|
|Biden||3 (2)||4 (3)|
|Richardson||2 (3)||3 (1)|
|Kucinich||2 (1)||4 (2)|
|Dodd||1 (-)||- (1)|
|Don't Know||2 (2)||7 (7)|
By contrast, Clinton's ABC/WaPo numbers are well down from the late September poll (her lead over Obama is down 10%), which registered Clinton's peak level of support in any poll so far.
As I wrote last week, the recent Quinnipiac poll concluded that the stepped up attacks on Clinton were taking a toll and these new polls confirm that her level of support has returned to where she was in August and September, before Obama and Edwards began to step up their criticism of Clinton. To be fair, a 20+ point lead is still significant but the question remains whether this is a downward trend for Clinton or if it's merely a correction. At best, Clinton's inevitability train has been momentarily stalled.
As for whether Clinton was hurt appreciably by her sub-par debate performance on Tuesday, it's hard to tell. The Newsweek poll, which is the only one to have been taken entirely in the aftermath of Tuesday's debate, shows her level of support to be consistent with her recent average, but it is a full 6 points below the ABC poll, which was taken partly before the debate and partly after. Again, subsequent polls will tell the story, but one thing to note is that to the extent that the attacks are hurting Clinton, only Obama appears to be benefitting. Both of these polls have Obama above his recent average, while Edwards remains remarkably consistent, at about 12%. If Edwards was indeed the winner of last week's kerfuffle and did earn a second look, we should begin to see it reflected in national polling. So far we're not.
What I'm curious to see, though, beyond these polls, is whether last week's debate appears to have impacted Iowa or New Hampshire numbers. Clinton's rise nationally has served to be a leading indicator of her strength in the early states, so I fully expect this downward trend to be reflected there as well; the question is will Obama be the lone beneficiary, as he appears to be nationally, or will Edwards be able to parlay this chink in Clinton's armor into a surge where and when he needs it most.
As Charlie Cook wrote in an October 30 column:
The national polls, when they point in the same direction as the other indicators, become a useful and efficient way to assess the current political climate. In this case, the national polls reflect much of what is happening in the early states, with Iowa the one asterisk that has to be watched carefully for signs that it will pull the race in a different direction.