Poll Combining? Why Not

by Dax-Devlon Ross

Charlie Cook of GovExec.com has combined some the latest campaign polls to a offer unique glimpse into the presidential race. Given a) the multitude of polls being conducted and b) the fact that single polls usually have small sample sizes, this new combining procedure might actually make some sense. Cook took two identically worded and conducted polls, the Cook Political Report and RT Strategies polls and came up with the following results for Democratic hopefuls:

In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York led the pack with 41 percent, followed by Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois with 19 percent; former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, 17 percent; and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, 4 percent. Everyone else had 2 percent or less.

Clinton’s 18-percentage-point lead among African-Americans was only slightly smaller than her overall lead of 22 percentage points: She drew the support of 43 percent of African-American respondents, compared with 25 percent for Obama and 7 percent for Edwards.

Clinton’s lead among women was 25 points — 45 percent versus 20 percent for Obama and 17 percent for Edwards. Among men, her lead was 20 points — 37 percent versus 17 percent each for Obama and Edwards. While Clinton drew 42 to 44 percent support in each of three age groups, she dipped to 38 percent among those ages 35 to 49 — the weakest age demographic for her party as well.

Obama scored best (23 percent) with the youngest voters, those 18 to 34, and worst (12 percent) among those 65 or older. Edwards’s support didn’t vary much among age groups. The support by education for Clinton was the exact opposite of that for Obama: Clinton scored best (49 percent) among those with a high school education or less, in the middle (42 percent) among those with some college, and worst (32 percent) among those with college degrees.

Obama performed best (29 percent, only 3 points behind Clinton) among those holding college degrees, in the middle (15 percent) among those with some college, and worst (13 percent) among those with a high school education or less. Clinton did best in the Northeast, with 50 percent, and worst in the West, 34 percent. Obama and Edwards both did best in the West with 23 percent and 22 percent, respectively, followed by the Midwest, with 19 percent and 18 percent.

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