Sen. Clinton will still have uphill climb

April 21, 2008 9:04:54 PM PDT
Only hours to go before voting begins in Pennsylvania. Both Democratic contenders hope it'll be a pivotal primary.

The polls say Sen. Hillary Clinton will win. The Drudge Report quotes campaign aides saying their own internal polls show an eleven point advantage for the New York Senator. Our own political expert says she'll need double digits to stay viable.

The polls say Hillary Clinton has the numbers to win on Tuesday, but when you do the math, even with a win in Pennsylvania, she still has a pretty uphill climb.

"In terms of delegates it's a very steep hill," said ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain.

Cain says that in delegates, Sen. Barack Obama leads Clinton 1,648 to 1,503 with a difference of 145 delegates. He leads her in the popular vote by 800,000 votes.

There are ten contests remaining and to catch up Clinton, Obama would need to win every one by a 60-40 margin. If she wins that big tomorrow, it'll be a huge upset. Most polls average out to a six point Clinton lead.

"A victory in the single digits probably is bad news for Hillary Clinton and will lead to more defections of super delegates and probably make it harder for her to raise money," said Cain.

Pollsters in Pennsylvania tell us that state is Clinton country.

"Six weeks or so ago Senator Clinton had a 15 to 17 point lead. This was her state," said Professor Terry Madonna, Ph.D. from Keystone Poll.

The demographics for Clinton are even better than Ohio with lots of Catholics, union workers, and conservative democrats.

But since last November Obama's ground troops have registered 230,000 new democrats in the keystone state.

"Sixty-two percent of the new registrants and the party switchers, as we call them, are going to vote for Barack Obama," said Madonna.

"If those new voters do vote overwhelmingly for Obama, he ought to win Pennsylvania," said Chris Lehane, a former President Clinton advisor and Senator Clinton supporter.

Lehane discounts the new voter influence.

"We've seen this pattern a couple of times when it looks like there's this enormous number of new voters and in fact there are new voters but they are actually split amongst the candidates in terms of who they ultimately support," said Lehane.

A member of Senator Obama's leadership council believes the new voters are the reason Obama has been able to cut deeply into Clinton's lead.

"I'm not predicting an Obama win, but I think I'm hopeful he'll do better than expected. I would think we'd do better than 11 points," said Tony West, from the Obama leadership council.

ABC7's political analyst Bruce Cain believes 11 percent is probably the upper end of what Clinton will be able to do Tuesday night. He believes she'll win by 5 or 6 percent and that will keep things pretty much as they are now.

As you watch the returns Tuesday night, look for Obama's support to come out of the Philadelphia in the south east. Clinton is expected to do well in Pittsburgh in the western half of the state.


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