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Texas, Ohio Polls Tighten For Obama And Hillary

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Remember, if Hillary doesn’t win both Texas and Ohio, it’s over. And many politicos say she has to take the states by big margins if she wants to catch up with Obama in the delegate race. The math bears that out, but if she does win, I’m betting she keeps going because she’ll say she stopped his momentum. And that’s a credible argument, but again, it’s all about the delegates…

First, the tale of two Texas polls.

CNN has him up by 4:

In the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released Monday, 50 percent of likely Democratic primary voters said Obama is their choice for the party’s nominee, while 46 percent backed Clinton.

But taking into account the poll’s sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points for Democratic respondents, the race is a virtual tie.

Clinton had a statistically insignificant 50 percent to 48 percent edge over Obama in last Monday’s CNN/ORC poll in Texas.

Rasmussen has her up by 1:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Texas finds Senator Hillary Clinton clinging to a one-point lead over Senator Barack Obama. With just over a week to go, it’s Clinton 46% Obama 45%. Nine percent (9%) of voters remain undecided and another 14% say it’s possible they could still change their mind.

Last week, Clinton led Obama by three percentage points. The week before, she had a sixteen-point advantage.

Now, onto the Ohio polls, which show a wide variance, but all trending toward gains for Obama.

First, Qunnipac shows Hillary up by 11, but that’s down from a 21 point lead 11 days ago…

“Sen. Clinton’s lead remains substantial, but the trend line should be worrisome for her in a state that even her husband, former President Bill Clinton, has said she must win,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “A week is an awful long time in politics to be playing defense, but one thing going in her favor is that she is viewed more favorably than is he by Ohio likely Democratic primary voters.

“Sen. Obama, to no one’s surprise given his momentum nationally, has made inroads, especially among some of Sen. Clinton’s softer supporters,” said Brown. “If she is to stop his momentum in Ohio, she must retain her margins among her core backers – women, older voters and those lower on the social-economic and education scale.”

“For instance, while she held leads of four points and 27 points among likely primary voters below and over age 45 respectively earlier this month, now she trails by 52 – 42 percent among the younger group and her margin has shrunk to 55 – 35 percent among older voters,” said Brown.

Public Policy Polling (via TPM) has her up only 4 points:

“Hillary Clinton is in big trouble,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP, in the polling memo. “As recently as a week ago many polls in the state were showing her with around a 20 point lead. The race is trending heavily toward Obama and time is on his side with another eight day before the voting.”

From the internals: Hillary leads 55%-42% among women, while Obama leads 51%-45% with men. Hillary leads 56%-40% among core Democrats, while Obama is ahead 64%-33% with independents and 80%-13% among crossover Republicans.

And last, the University of Cincinnati (again, via TPM) has Hill up by 8:

Hillary has 47% to Obama’s 39%, with a very noticeable gender gap — Obama leads among men 45%-42%, while Hillary wins big with women at 52%-34%.

Again, she can win both Texas and Ohio, but if they’re not by large margins, expect the Democratic establishment to start pressuring her to bow out.