- The Washington Times - Monday, February 4, 2008

A California poll shows that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama are locked in a dead heat while Sen. John McCain has only a narrow lead among people who will vote tomorrow in the state’s presidential primary.

The Suffolk University survey by David Paleologos finds that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama are virtually even at 40 percent to 39 percent and that the winner of tomorrow’s primaries will depend on who turns out in bigger numbers — men, young voters and independents who tend to favor the Illinois senator, or women and older voters who are partial to the New York senator.

“The biggest undecided vote is white men over 65, many from veteran households,” Mr. Paleologos told The Washington Times. “The poll tells us that these folks valued Bill Clinton’s endorsement of his wife more than Ted Kennedy’s endorsement of Obama.”

The poll taken among Republican voters shows Mr. McCain leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 39 percent to 32 percent overall in the primary, which is open only to Republican voters.

The Arizona senator’s lead thins to only 37 percent to 35 percent — well within the poll’s error margin of 4.38 percentage points — among tomorrow’s voters, but he scores a big advantage among early- and absentee-ballot voters, who gave him a hefty 45 percent to 22 percent spread over Mr. Romney.

As many as half the state’s Republican nomination ballots may be cast by mail, up from 33 percent in 2004 and about 25 percent in 2000.

Mr. Romney is not out of the contest but will need exceptionally large numbers of younger registered Republicans going to the polls and a high Orange County turnout to take away more delegates than McCain, Mr. Paleologos told The Washington Times.

Indecision marks California Republicans at this stage, with 17 percent saying they were very likely or somewhat likely to change their mind. The findings give some idea of what likely voters overall will do on Tuesday.

Up to 19 percent of Democrats and independents said they are undecided, according to the poll taken among 700 likely Democratic primary and independent voters. The poll has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.

Gender seemed to play a big role among voters, the poll showed. Mr. Obama’s strengths were highest among men (45 percent to 30 percent for Mrs. Clinton) and among 18- to 45-year-olds who favored him by a 49 percent to 32 percent margin.

Voters in the Los Angeles area favored Mr. Obama, 45 percent to 36 percent, as did their voters in the Bay area, 45 percent to 39 percent, respectively.

Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Obama among women, 47 percent to 35 percent, and among those 66 and older, 45 percent to 28 percent. She also led in more conservative Orange County, 44 percent to 30 percent, and in the southern region of the state, 42 percent to 31 percent.

Mr. McCain carried the Bay Area by a staggering 2-to-1 margin and also led “marginally” in the Los Angeles area and the state’s north-central and southern regions, Mr. Paleologos said, while Mr. Romney carried Orange County. Mr. Romney also won over 18- to 45-year-olds by a 43 percent to 28 percent margin statewide. Mr. McCain fared best with the middle-aged and elderly.

Mike Huckabee pulled only 8 percent of Republicans in the poll. Rep. Ron Paul drew only 3.5 percent in the poll.

California is the most delegate-rich among the 21 states holding Republican nomination contests tomorrow. It will award three delegates each to the candidate who gets the most votes in each of the state’s 53 congressional districts — effectively holding 53 nominating elections for 159 of the state’s 173 delegates. Eleven of the remaining 14 go to the overall state winner, with the final three delegate slots being reserved for top state party officials.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide