National Poll Round-Up

Mark Penn argues in a new polling memo that the negative attacks on Clinton are hurting Obama and Edwards more than they're hurting her, but it's hard not to conclude, based on two polls out yesterday (ABC News/WaPo and Newsweek), that the attacks, which have been stepped up over the past month, have taken some toll on Clinton's standing in the Democratic primary race. In the first 2 weeks of October, 5 national polls had Clinton at 50% or above and her lead over Obama reached a high of 30%; now her average level of support is well below that.


CandidateABC News/WaPo10/29-11/1Newsweek10/31-11/1RCP 8-poll Ave.
Clinton49 (53)43 (44)44.4
Obama26 (20)24 (23)22.6
Edwards12 (13)12 (14)12.3
Biden3 (2)4 (3)
Richardson2 (3)3 (1)
Kucinich2 (1)4 (2)
Dodd1 (-)- (1)
Don't Know2 (2)7 (7)

*ABC News/WaPo Poll (598 LVs, 10/29-11/1), Newsweek Poll (433 RVs, 10/31-11/1)

When looking at these numbers relative to their respective previous polls, it's important to note that the last Newsweek Poll was taken in the beginning of August while the last ABC News/WaPo poll was taken at the end of September. So when Penn touts the fact that Clinton's November Newsweek numbers did not fall since the last poll, it's really nothing to brag about, it's simply stating that her support is unchanged since August, which, while not something the Clinton camp should be terribly thrilled with, does appear to be exactly true.

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.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, Democratic Primary, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards (all tags)

Comments

16 Comments

Re: National Poll Round-Up
This is just a laughable poll analysis... lol...
Enough to keep the morale of Obama/Edwards supporters high though, I bet...
by prisonbreak 2007-11-05 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

I don't think Edwards has much room to rise for two reasons.

One, this race has been about Clinton and Obama for so long that I doubt he can seriously break through and get past Obama.

Secondly, I think to people who are paying close attention, his accepting matching funds really hurt him.  Who wants a Presidential candidate that will be at a financial disadvantage when they can have Clinton or Obama who should raise more cash than the Republican.

by dpANDREWS 2007-11-05 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

It in the INTERNALS of these latest polls where you find the true state of the race.   I don't think you can make a credible case here, Todd, that these last 2 polls reflect any type of movement.  Look at the recent polling data we had seen:

1. On 10/24 Pew Research released a poll showing a 21% margin for Clinton

2. On 10/25 the FOX News poll was released and showed a 17% margin for Clinton.

3. On 10/28 we saw Zogby's poll with a 14% margin for Clinton.

4. The Quinnipiac poll that was released on 10/30 showed a 26% margin

5.  Debate

6. Rasmussen's poll with data entirely after the debate shows a 23% margin

7. Newsweek poll with data entirely after the debate shows a 19% lead.

8. ABC/WaPo poll with data partly before and partly after the debate shows a 23% margin.

I really don't see that a credible case can be made here for any movement whatsoever due to the debate.    If anything, the 3 pre-debate polls averaging 19% are below the more recent polling data we have seen, which has averaged at 21.6%, so if you are going to compare from a broader national average (rather than each poll within its own universe) one could say that she has received an upswing post-debate instead.  

Now, one thing that stood out at me:  You mentioned that the Quinnipiac poll has stated that the attacks have taken a toll on Clinton, but what you fail to address is that that only holds true for a general election comparison between Clinton and Giuliani, whereas for the purposes of assessing Democratic nomination data Clinton has actually increased her margin over the Democratic contenders from the last time Quinnipiac had conducted a national poll (end of August) by a full 11%.  It is hardly credible to look at a strongly growing Quinnipiac margin to 26% and claim that "the attacks have taken its toll" in terms of the Democratic nomination battle.  It is obvious that in that particular poll the opposite occured, that the attacks have helped Clinton against her Democratic opponents (although it stands to reason that they may have taken a toll in terms of a direct comparison between Clinton and Giuliani, as far as the Quinnipiac poll is concerned.)

As I stated in the beginning of the post, the true state of the race is in the internals, the "strong leader" questions, the Iraq, Iran, Economy, Health Care questions.  That is where you see movement and that is where you get clues of where the race is.  Clinton at 22% margin, 25% margin, who cares, really.  If Edwards and/or Obama can't make inroads in the internal polling questions who of the 3 is the "strongest leader," "the most trusted on Iraq/Iran," "best on health care," etc. it really does not matter whether a poll shows a 21% or 29% margin, or even 15%.  

I agree, however, that these next Iowa and NH polls are going to be interesting to see as for any type of movement.  Given that movement has been absent from national polling (in fact, Clinton appears to have bettered this week on internal questions of "strong leader" and "trusted on Iraq",) I doubt there will be any appreciable movement in IA and NH.  We shall see.

by georgep 2007-11-05 08:22AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

I like your version much better georgep.  I do think Edwards distracts voters from looking at Obama, which seems to be to his benefit.  Hillary has to turn back Edwards diatribes, without sinking to his leve(meaning frothing at the mouth).  IMO Edwards appears frantic, which when compared to Hillary and Obama's calmness can make him appear somewhat unhinged.  

by Kingstongirl 2007-11-05 08:43AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

CNN POLL:

It headlined that Clinton has dropped in their poll from last month.

Clinton 44 (51)
Obama   25(21)

Clinton has lead has dropped from 30 pts to 19 pts. They are attributing the drop to the debate.

by BDM 2007-11-05 03:06PM | 0 recs
Todd. Clinton down 10 points

to Edwards with Independents..

check your newsweek poll

by TarHeel 2007-11-05 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Todd. Clinton down 10 points

someone should diary the newsweek poll of independents.

Edwards plus 10 , Obama plus 9 compared to Hillary.

that = electability.

both edwards and obama crack 50% Hillary tops out at 49%

by TarHeel 2007-11-05 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

I think all this spin is starting to make my head spin.

by spirowasright 2007-11-05 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

Wow, Biden is ahead of Richardson now.

by Airb330 2007-11-05 09:41AM | 0 recs
Mark Penn? It is to laugh.

Mark Penn.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha

Did he also claim his numbers showed support for union busting?

by DrFrankLives 2007-11-05 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

As I have mentioned elsewhere, many at the time thought the 53 percent was too high and not her real number- I know one of the big Clinton supporters here said they did not believe it- I forgot who- anyway she could be losing some support but we will really need two more weeks before we know anything for sure, I think.  I don't think she has but I am willing to accept the possibility until we know for sure.  It does look like she has not picked up more support- that does seem to be the case.

by reasonwarrior 2007-11-05 10:04AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

This is not a great analysis. First of all Hillary's lead is still enormous in all polls. Second we need at least 4 or 5 polls to really see if there is a trend forming. This an analysis based entirely on speculation.

by Christopher Lib 2007-11-05 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: National Poll Round-Up

C'mon, enough of the spinning - especially of the poll numbers! I think tying recent poll results to last weeks debate is a fallacy! Were the poll respondents selected on the basis of having watched the debate? No! Of course not. The only relationship to the debate and the polls was all about the spin the MSM created! Let's be real, here, at least.

And I won't even get into the (fictitious) so-called gender issue! What a joke! A little mention of "the boys" at a Wellesley speech, and, suddenly she's raising the "gender issue". Frankly, I'm disgusted with Obama and Edwards for pursuing this. Hilary is not my first choice, but is it her fault that the other candidates have not caught on with the people? They have only themselves to blame!

by disgusted 2007-11-05 12:00PM | 0 recs
Re: New Cnn poll released this evening

CNN POLL:

It headlined that Clinton has dropped in their poll from last month.

Clinton 44 (51)
Obama   25(21)

Clinton lead has dropped from 30 pts to 19 pts. They are attributing the drop to the debate.

by BDM 2007-11-05 03:08PM | 0 recs
Re: New Cnn poll released this evening

It is a massive lead, anyway you want to slice it.  I looked at the internals of that poll, and they aren't good for Obama and Edwards, both in the short-term nomination sense, but particularly in what this poll shows about the broader GE numbers (i.e. how many people would be unlikely to vote for Edwards (50% of all respondents.)  Also, 1% difference between Obama and Clinton on the same question?   That touted "Clinton is too polarizing" theme has given way to Edwards and Obama actually having become more so.  

Also, excellent GE head to head numbers for Clinton vs. Giuliani, a nice upswing.  

All in all another good poll for Clinton.  We have officially entered the Twilight Zone when opponents tout 20%, 23% margin polls for Clinton against their candidate as "good news" for them.     Hilarious, really, if somewhat sad.

by georgep 2007-11-05 08:35PM | 0 recs
Edwards

I vote Edwards because he is the only one who seems trustworthy at this point.  He speaks from his heart and is willing to answer tough questions, unlike other candidates.

by agpc 2007-11-05 07:39PM | 0 recs

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