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A Florida revote might not be a slam dunk for Hillary Clinton

March 20, 2008 |  7:02 am

As the Democratic imbroglio continues over what to do about the out-of-bounds Michigan and Florida primaries, a recent poll offers a reminder of how tantalizing a true, fully engaged face-off between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in those two states would be.

The survey, sponsored in part by the St. Petersburg Times, asked Floridians a number of questions -- some strictly local -- on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. But the one that caught our interest focused on the two Democratic presidential candidates. It found Clinton ahead, with 46%, but Obama within shouting distance, at 37%.

Even more intriguing, 16% said they were undecided -- meaning an aggressive, persuasive campaign could make all the difference in determining a victor.

Also, the figures represent slippage for Clinton since she won Florida's Jan. 29 primary -- the one the Democratic National Committee ruled wouldn't count and the one that, as a result, proceeded without the candidates actually pitching for support. In that contest, Clinton received 50% of the vote, compared with 33% for Obama and 14% for John Edwards (still an active candidate at the time).

Michigan's unsanctioned primary, held two weeks before Florida's, was even more problematic. As most no doubt recall, Obama and Edwards -- to show their solidarity with the DNC -- asked that their names be removed from the ballot. Clinton kept hers on, and we remember being struck at the time that the 55% she won in the vote didn't seem particularly impressive under the circumstances ("uncommitted" voters tallied 40%).

All the more reason to think that, as in Florida, a real Clinton/Obama race in Michigan would be worth the price of admission (or, more to the point, whatever it costs to make it happen).

For the latest on the impasse surrounding the two state, see here.

-- Don Frederick

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