Parsing the Polls: Inside the ’08 numbers
By Chris Cillizza
THE FIX Washington Post’s Politics Blog 1/24/07
While polls this far out — especially of a national sample rather than a pool of Iowa or New Hampshire voters — function more a test of name identification than a predictor of the eventual nominee, a look beyond the topline numbers gives us a glimpse of voter perceptions about the best known candidates.
Thanks to Post polling director — and all-around good guy — Jon Cohen, we have access to the some of the internal numbers from the Post survey.
Let’s Parse the Polls!
Clinton’s lead overall extends to most subgroups in the survey. A few are particularly interesting:
* Among non-white voters Clinton led Obama 56 percent to 16 percent. Cohen notes that “non white” encompasses African American, Hispanic, Asian and “other” voters, but the subgroup is dominated by black voters. In fact, if you combine black voters in the Post’s December and January surveys, Clinton leads Obama among black voters 60 percent to 20 percent. Given that Obama is black and would be the first African-American elected president, it’s somewhat surprising that the historic nature of his candidacy has not galvanized the black community. Of course there are two mitigating factors: First, former President Bill Clinton remains an iconic figure in the black community and some of his popularity appears to be wearing off on his wife. Second, Hillary Clinton remains a far better known commodity nationwide than Obama. As hard as it is to believe, there are still plenty of potential voters who know little or nothing about Obama; few people can say the same of Clinton.