The State of the Race
The polls are ridiculously all over the place. In the national trackers, either Clinton's surging, or the race is essentially tied. In California, both lead or the race is tied. Even the California gold standard Field Poll is impossible to read, because the sample is from a full week, which began with the huge Obama South Carolina win, and the Kennedy endorsement, and ended with what appears to be a slight Clinton bounce from the debate. The reporting does not explain any daily trends.
Zogby has Obama supporters breathless with excitement, as he shows Obama tied or ahead in critical states, including some Clinton had been winning, including California. The problem is that it's Zogby. In 2000, Zogby's daily tracker was the only poll to show Al Gore pulling ahead of Bush, in the final week of the general election campaign (the CBS daily tracker showed Gore ahead on election day- all other polls had Bush winning the popular vote), but he's gone downhill, since. As Markos puts it:
is the worst pollster, objectively. Studies have been done. Absolutely terrible.
ARG is next worst.
Nothing those two pollsters do is worth a damn.
Big Tent Democrat adds:
I do not believe a Zogby poll NO MATTER the result. In my opinion, Zogby is NOT a honest pollster, he is a disingenuous pundit. An anti-Clinton pundit in particular.
ARG, on the other hand, skews for Clinton, but ARG has no significant new polls, anyway.
What I glean from the conflicting data is that Clinton is ahead in Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Obama's ahead in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, and Utah. Clinton has small leads in a majority of the rest of the states, but nothing that should make her comfortable. Obama leads in a few of the rest of the states, but again nothing significant. A few states appear to be tied.
California is going to be the big story of the night. Obama's supporters will spin even a close loss as a win, but with the polls so tight, that's not valid. Whoever wins California wins it, and whoever loses it loses it. This race is on, and having closed a big gap no longer matters; only the results do. This is going to continue after Tuesday, and it's now a question of delegates. Some smaller states, over the next few weeks, will favor Obama. Clinton may counter, with Ohio and Texas, in early March, and we may still have a race in April, with Pennsylvania possibly determining the nomination. It's even possible that my vote in the Oregon primary, on May 20, will still matter.