Polls: Clinton Solid in Kentucky; Oregon is Obama's in Tight Race

Two States Worlds Apart on Obama Popularity

May 19, 2008, 01:00 ET from Suffolk University

    BOSTON, May 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Two states. Two Democratic
 Primaries on the same night. And the differences in the contests are like
 night and day, according to a Suffolk University poll.
     In Kentucky, Hillary Clinton (51 percent) led Barack Obama (25 percent)
 by 26 points, followed by John Edwards (6 percent) and "uncommitted" (5
 percent), while 11 percent were undecided.
     In Oregon, Obama (45 percent) led Clinton (41 percent) by 4 points,
 with 8 percent undecided and 6 percent refusing a response.
     "With the nominating contest winding down, it's unusual - to say the
 least - to have two states' polls literally poles apart," said David
 Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Boston's Suffolk
 University. "And I don't think I've ever seen such a disparity in a
 presidential candidate's popularity from state to state."
     The most dramatic difference was in Obama's personal popularity. In
 Kentucky, Obama was recording favorability similar to his rating in West
 Virginia, with a 43 percent favorable rating and a 43 percent unfavorable
 rating. (In West Virginia, Obama had 44 percent favorable and 41 percent
 unfavorable ratings and lost by 41 points to Clinton.) Yet Obama's
 popularity soars in Oregon, where 73 percent view him favorably and 15
 percent unfavorably.
     "Usually when a candidate has a high favorability, it trends high
 nationally, with limited variations regionally. Here, when you get to
 states like Kentucky and West Virginia, there's a kind of political
 inelasticity or unwillingness to replicate Obama's popularity elsewhere,"
 said Paleologos.
     Both Beaver and Bluegrass voters predict that Obama will be the next
 president. In Kentucky, 41 percent of Democratic voters said Obama would be
 the next president, followed by Republican John McCain (25 percent),
 Clinton (13 percent), and 20 percent undecided. In Oregon, 59 percent said
 Obama, 11 percent indicated Clinton, 9 percent chose McCain, and 20 percent
 were undecided.
     Kentucky voters, asked which candidate was more electable against
 McCain, chose Clinton (46 percent) over Obama (39 percent). In Oregon, the
 numbers more than reversed, with 52 percent answering Obama and 28 percent,
     Kentucky and Oregon expressed differing degrees of loyalty.
     Asked what they would do if their first choice for the Democratic
 nomination lost, 41 percent of Kentucky Democratic voters said they would
 still vote for the Democratic nominee; 28 percent said they would jump
 parties and vote for McCain; 4 percent would vote for independent candidate
 Ralph Nader; and 24 percent were undecided.
     By contrast, Oregon Democratic loyalty ran very strong. Fifty-nine
 percent of respondents said they would still vote for the Democratic
 nominee; 19 percent said they would vote for McCain; 5 percent would vote
 for Nader; and 13 percent were undecided.
     The Suffolk University bellwethers of Montgomery County, Kentucky, and
 Marion County, Oregon, which were sister-tests to the statewide surveys,
 followed the same trend.
     In Montgomery County, Clinton led Obama by 28 points, closely mirroring
 the statewide Kentucky poll (Clinton - 55 percent to Obama - 17 percent,
 followed by Kentucky ballot options "uncommitted," 5 percent and Edwards, 3
 percent, with 14 percent undecided and 7 percent refused.
     In Marion County, Obama led Clinton 44 percent to 42 percent, with 8
 percent undecided and 6 percent refused. This confirms the single-digit
 close race in Oregon recorded by the statewide poll.
     "Obama's early mail-in voting advantage may be the difference in this
 close race," said Paleologos.
     Since the bellwether predictor module was incorporated as a sister-test
 to the Suffolk statewide polling, no actual election result has run counter
 to the winners of the statewide poll and the bellwether, when both tests
 have agreed. When the two tests disagree, the bellwether test(s) have
 oftentimes been more accurate.
     Both bellwether counties' election returns from both parties have been
 within 5 percent of the actual statewide Primary results in years where an
 incumbent U.S. president has not been on the ballot.
     The Suffolk University polls were conducted May 17 - 18, 2008. The
 margin of error on the statewide surveys of 600 is +/- 4.00 percent at a 95
 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the statewide surveys
 were likely voters in the May 20 respective Democratic Presidential
 Primaries. Marginals and cross-tabulation data will be posted on the
 Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site -
 www.suffolk.edu/college/1450.html -- on May 19.
     The Suffolk University election predictor bellwether ID sister-tests
 (300 contacts, Montgomery County and 149 contacts, Marion County) were made
 May 18. There was an equal probability of contacting and interviewing
 likely Democratic voters, provided that they identified themselves as very
 likely or somewhat likely to take a Democratic ballot on Tuesday. For more
 information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

SOURCE Suffolk University