Backed by more than half of all white female Democrats, Hillary Clinton holds a six point lead over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania, a new statewide poll by TIME reveals. When leaners voters who have not firmly decided whom to vote for but are leaning one way or the other are added in, Clinton's six point lead grows to eight points, 49% to 41%.
Clinton leads Obama overall 44% to 38% among all Democrats in the TIME survey, but enjoys a notably broader margin of support among white Democratic women: 56% to Obama's 25%. More evenly split, by contrast, are white male Democrats, who prefer Clinton by a narrower margin of 44% to 36%. The survey, conducted by Abt SRBI from April 2-6 of 676 Democratic primary voters, comes less than two weeks before the crucial April 22 primary.
There also appears to be a measure of deep anti-Obama sentiment in Clinton's Keystone State coalition. Roughly a quarter of Clinton voters 26%, the poll found say they "would be more likely" to vote for John McCain in the general election if Obama is eventually the Democratic nominee. By contrast, only 16% of Obama's backers report they would be likely to vote for McCain if Clinton emerged as the party's nominee.
Though Obama won majorities of white voters earlier in the primary season, he has struggled more recently to maintain those margins, and that trend appears to be holding in Pennsylvania. Obama is getting the votes of 80% of the state's black Democrats but only 30% of white voters. Clinton is winning only 8% of blacks, but is backed by 51% of the white voters. Some 8% of whites and 12% of blacks are undecided.
A similar pattern can be seen in how Keystone Democrats of differing incomes regard the two candidates. Some 55% of white Democrats who make less than $55,000 back Clinton in Pennsylvania, while only 22% in that financial bracket favor Obama. Above $50,000, the state's white Democrats split almost evenly: 45% support Clinton and 41% are backing Obama.
The TIME poll shows other advantages for Clinton in Pennsylvania when voters who lean toward one candidate or another are added in, including signs of Clinton's inherent strengths among women. Clinton does better with both male and female voters, but women would break for her in greater numbers than men would, the survey reports.
But both candidates will find plenty of reasons in the poll to contest the state right to the end. One in five Pennsylvania Democrats has yet to pick a favorite candidate; and roughly one in six voters who told TIME they favor either Obama or Clinton said they could change their minds in the next two weeks. Notes Stanley Feldman, the SUNY Stonybrook political scientist who analyzed the poll for TIME, "Clinton's six point lead over Obama at this point should not make her very comfortable. There is still plenty of opportunity for Obama to gain the voters he needs to win the Pennsylvania primary."