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Obama Yet To Capture Hearts of Voters in Ohio

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Barack Obama has been able to win, and win convincingly, in all 10 contests since Super Tuesday nearly a month ago. When Hillary Clinton's campaign unofficially set up her firewall in Ohio and Texas shortly after her losses in Louisiana, Nebraska, and Washington on February 9th, polls had her out in front of Obama by about 20 points in Ohio (Quinnpiac, February 12th) and just under 10 points in Texas (Insider Advantage, February 14th).

As repeated throughout the month here at Smart Politics, the more time and money Obama spends in a state, the higher and higher his numbers seem to rise. The Obama campaign has enjoyed such a surge in Texas, where 3 of the last 4 polls conducted in the state this week now show him with a narrow lead, although within the margin of error (CNN, SurveyUSA, InsiderAdvantage; Clinton has a narrow lead in this week's Rasmussen poll).

It is clear Clinton is not going to go to sleep next Tuesday night with the big victory that her campaign so desperately needed in the Lone Star State. In fact, she is probably more likely than not to be on the short end of the delegate count there.

In Ohio, however, Obama has yet to lead in any of the 25 public polls released during the past year. Quinnipiac has tracked the Democratic primary matchup in 14 polls, and still shows Clinton leading by double digits (51 to 40 percent) in its last poll ending February 23rd. Obama has made inroads in the state according to other surveys, but the junior Senator from Illinois has not polled within the margin of error in Ohio to date.

The internals of these surveys show Clinton to still be performing very well among one of her key demographics—older voters—enjoying a 7-point advantage among those aged 50 to 64 and a 32-point advantage among those aged 65 or older (SurveyUSA). Obama, as expected, dominates among younger voters, 55 to 38 percent, but is effectively tied with Clinton among those aged 35 to 49.

Clinton also enjoys a 22-point advantage over Obama among women in Ohio, who comprise a majority of Democratic primary voters (a recent ARG poll showed Clinton with a 28 point edge among women). Men support Obama by 16 points—not enough to give him the state.

Another key for Clinton is that she is thus far performing relatively well in Ohio among African Americans. According to SurveyUSA, Clinton is receiving the support of 23 percent of the black vote; final SurveyUSA polling before the Maryland primary, for example, showed Clinton with just 15 percent of the black vote in that state and only 13 percent in Virginia.

Obama's other problem is that he has not yet won over political moderates, among whom he trails Clinton 50 to 46 percent (SurveyUSA). By comparison, Obama is tied with Clinton among moderates in Texas; Obama led by 8 points among that demographic in final SurveyUSA polling in Virginia and by 17 points in Maryland.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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