The Wright Effect: Obama’s Numbers Have Started To Plunge

There have been people predicting that the Jeremiah Wright scandal would destroy Obama’s campaign. Although that may turn out to be true, it still seems like a bit too much of a presumption to make.

Instead, I would compare this to Hillary’s horrible flub of a “Driver’s Licenses For Illegals” question at a debate. It was a big mistake that her enemies jumped on and her poor handling of the issue in the weeks that followed weakened her significantly and punctured the sense of inevitability that surrounded her campaign.

This is a similar situation.

Obama’s numbers are dipping hard and it’s starting to become possible to imagine that the bleeding will get so bad that the Democratic Super Delegates may break hard towards Hillary to prevent a general election disaster.

Take a look at the latest numbers and you’ll see what I mean. First off, from Campaign Spot,

I began the day noting that Obama’s lead in North Carolina was shrinking.

This poll from Public Policy Polling out this afternoon suggests that it may be gone entirely, putting Obama up over Hillary by a single point, 44 percent to 43 percent. (Caveat: PPP had the poll closer than most other pollsters last month, putting Obama up by 4 percent.)

Does that mean Obama will now lose North Carolina? No, it doesn’t. Moreover, the poll could just be an outlier. However, it’s worth noting that the Feb polls of NC had Obama up 10-14 points, so the gap is definitely starting to close.

Now, let’s take a look at some data in 3 other states from SurveyUSA,

“(In Kentucky), our polling at the beginning of the month showed McCain leading Clinton by 9 and Obama by 11. …n Kentucky, John McCain is 10 points ahead of Hillary Clinton — and 36 points ahead of Barack Obama.”

Two and a half weeks ago, John McCain led Hillary Clinton by 4 points and Barack Obama by 6 in Missouri. Now, Clinton has risen slightly to cut McCain’s lead to 2, and Obama has fallen and now trails McCain by 14.

SurveyUSA’s 50-state head-to-head polling late last month showed Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each ten points ahead of John McCain in Ohio. In updated polling conducted this past weekend, before Obama’s Tuesday speech on race, McCain narrowed the gap by 4 points against Hillary Clinton, who now leads him by six — and flipped the table on Barack Obama, who now trails McCain by 7 points.

Now, from the Philly Daily News,

The latest Daily News/Franklin & Marshall poll shows U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton expanding her lead to 16 points over U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential primary in Pennsylvania.

The survey of registered Democrats found Clinton leading Obama 51 to 35 percent among likely voters, with an even larger lead of 50 to 28 percent among all voters.

…Clinton’s strength in the latest poll reversed gains Obama made in the February survey, which showed him pulling to within 12 points as his campaign surged nationally.

What’s happening here?

I’d say that it looks like Wright is turning off white voters who had been favorably disposed towards Obama. Moreover, the fact that Obama chose to continue to embrace Wright in his big speech will likely mean that this is a long-term problem that will get worse as opposed to a short term blip.

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