Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

New poll shows Barack Obama tanking in Pennsylvania

The first fresh poll results from Pennsylvania are in since Barack Obama's "bitter" comments about people in small towns exploded as a news story, and the findings could hardly be worse for the Democratic presidential contender.

Intriguingly, the man in charge of the survey said interviews with voters indicate Obama's tumble in the state has more to do with what the candidate himself has said were ill-chosen words than anything else.

The new poll by American Research Group -- conducted Friday, Saturday and Sunday -- gave Clinton 57% and Obama 37% (based on interviews with 600 Democrats, the survey has an error margin of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points). The 20-point margin is all the more dramatic because, just the week before, an ARG poll found the pair in a flat-out tie in Pennsylvania, each with 45%.

The previous findings had put the race closer than any others. And perhaps the new one exaggerates the bounce Clinton has gotten from the storm over Obama's remarks at a San Francisco fund-raiser. Other pollsters are in the field in Pennsylvania, and we eagerly await their results (an L.A. Times/Bloomberg poll of Democrats in the Keystone State -- as well as in North Carolina and Indiana -- will be ready mid-week).

Regardless, the New Hamphire-based ARG poll, may have identified a tactical worry for the Obama camp above and beyond the current controversy. Dick Bennett, head of the poll, told us today that even before the furor erupted, it appeared many Pennsylvania Democrats began to turn against Obama because they are simply sick and tired of seeing and hearing his ads.

Much as campaign consultants would be loath to agree, Bennett opined that a candidate "can spend too much money" on an ad campaign, and the saturation of Obama spots ...

in Pennsylvania appear to be a classic example of "overkill" that ultimately does harm.

Bennett also reported that some of the Pennsylvanians who his company contacted went on to complain about the substance of the ubiquitous Obama ads. They are "about him, not voters or what their concerns are," Bennett said. And Obama's comment on attitudes in small towns served to reinforce that feeling.

-- Don Frederick

Comments () | Archives (345)

The comments to this entry are closed.

If Obama's comments were so disastrous, and if voters are turning against him, how come national his lead has increased to ten points in the Gallup tracking poll conducted over the weekend.

We the voters recognize what the mass media is trying to do to Obama. You're all in bed with the old guard. The people in Penn are coming out of the woodwork to defend his remarks today. Our voices will not be drowned out anymore!

Michael beat me to it. Both the Rasmussen and Gallup daily tracking polls show Obama having the widest margin over Hillary he's had since before the story broke last Friday. Hillary has been slipping. That's consistent with the booing and groans she got in Pittsburgh today when she started her tired attack lines on Obama. Real folks aren't feeling this story. The ARG poll was an outlier when it said Obama and Hillary were tied -- everyone recognized that -- and it's an outlier now to say he dropped 20 points.

National polls mean little as the Dems will win California and New York regardless. It's Michigan, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania that count for Dems. to win the election.

We in PA will not be fooled - not by the media, and certainly not by the likes of McCain and Clinton who represent the worst in American politics.
Obama 08!

Obama has a good lead in delegates. He can take loosing Pennsylvania by a huge margin. However, I think that if he is the nominee he has terribly injured his chances in the general electiion.

Yeah, so I'll check back on next Tuesday after Senator Obama wins Pennsylvania, and we'll see all the pundits backtracking and explaining . . . I LOVE that part!

Obama '08



It's unbelievable that people in Pennsylvia care more about a statement that Obama made than the fact that Hillary and Bill Clinton have added $800,000.00 thousand more dollars to their $109,000.000.00 million joint account. He made this money by brokering a deal for the Columbian Government to close a trade deal with the United States. What other underhanded deals against the people of this country will he broker while he and his wife are in the White House. Do the people of Pennsylvania think that she is really sincere in her position on NAFTA. GOOD LUCK FOLKS. YOU WILL DEFINITELY NEED YOU R FAITH AND ENJOY HUNTING WITH YOUR GUNS.

Mr. Don Frederick, genius, ask anybody who took stat 101 would tell you the what "outlier" stands for. Polls need to have "trend" to be anything.

His national poll is holding up. Hillary today was "jarred" at a speech with the "bitter" comment.

So, sit tight, and watch how close it'll be next week.

I look forward to the day the old person vote dies off, because they are easily manipulated by mass media.

Obama as "Elitist"? lol.

The Clinton's ring of cronies resembles that of Bush's.

Obama will beat the bullet dodging Clinton everyday of the week, why does the press jump on a silly quote

Ronnie Stonestreet
Raleigh NC

Obama would make a wonderful president. He's a good man, a leader and his presence in the White House would benefit not only the U.S. but the entire world. If we don't get that, than yeah, we deserve the government we elect. Obama is not an elitist; his father left him when he was 2 yrs old, he was raised by a single mother and sent off to live with grandparents. He just finished paying off his school loans. The Clintons raked in 110 million (at least) in the last few years. People, think!!

I just love to observe how wishy-washy, petty and hypocritical people are, it leaves me with such a feeling of confidence going into the upcoming Presidential election.

Obama will beat the lying Clinton family all day long. She should of got out by now but her quest for power will not let her.

The more the public gets to know this guy, the more the voters will pick someone else. His latest comments just show his continued distain for the voters. Much like his lack of concern for the rights of the common man in Florida and Michigan.

No ones cares about him calling people "bitter." The elitist part of the comment was his description of people "clinging" to religion and guns.

There is actually a poll at Kareem's blog:

Rasmussen and Gallup are holding. Clinton just got boo'd in PA trying to inject "bitter". It is becoming quite clear she over played her hand here. Barack literally made her the butt of the joke with Annie Oakley. I'm getting a feeling that this elite "bitter" thing did not stick.

Interesting and amazed... Your polls came as a shock to me though, 'cos when Bill Clinton made the same comments in 1991, his comments were then not considered as bitter -

"The reason (George H. W. Bush's tactic) works so well now is that you have all these economically insecure white people who are scared to death," Clinton was quoted saying by the Los Angeles Times in September 1991."

Furthermore, Thomas Frank, the author who redefined the perception of the red state/blue state divide in America, says he doesn't find Sen. Barack Obama's comments on the bitterness of small-town Midwesterners all that alarming.

"People are bitter in small towns," Frank told the Huffington Post. "People are bitter everywhere. I don't know if you have seen the stock market -- people are bitter about their situation. It doesn't strike me as a very controversial statement."

Even fox news went to small towns in PA and interviewed some people, who said on camara that they are bitter and that Obama is right (I just can't find the link anymore). So it amazes me that people are now saying they disagree w/ Obama, simply because he told the truth. I find this hard to believe, very hard to believe. But then, you as a publication house have the power to shape peoples opinion and views, so this might as well be a strategy to encourage people to disagree w/ Obama. I am very disappointed...

If Clinton is the nominee I'm voting for her, If Barack is nominated I'm voting for McCain.

Obama's comments will be forgotten in a few more days. Things that are as minor as this are a quick burn unless the media really want to try to keep it alive, which seems unlikely. Why aren't they calling Hillary a gun nut after her comments?

Not "bitter," not Rev. Wright, not anything can change the fact that Obama has already earned the nomination. She can bring him down here and there, but she can't catch up. Meanwhile, McCain is rummaging through resumes to find his strongest possible running mate. Obama will have no time to prepare for November, let alone create the strongest possible ticket, as long as she stays in. Here's how the VP process should be working:

I imagine the questioning went something to the effect of "Now that you know that Obama thinks you are bitter, would you rather vote for him or Clinton?"

There is no way that the same poll could accurately record peoples reaction to the "bitter" comment, AND determine who people are voting for. Without the list of poll questions, and possible responses, this whole article is just some reporter hyping a story for ad revenue.

Did a Racist and Anti-American like Obama and his wife really have a chance anyway? Maybe know the Media will learn their lesson not to protect someone until they really know them. I guess Obama got his wish...Voters are going to CHANGE and not vote for him.

I am beginning to suspect that theyr'e trying to damage Obama's campaign as well. We all know where Hillary stands on trade and other major issues. Her husband wrote NAFT into law after George Bush Senior negotiated it during his term to represent the money interests. Whether it be the Bush dynasty or the Clinton dynasty. We will be screwed. At least with Obama there's somewhat of a question mark. It's a long shot but he may just turn the global money interests on their ear! Somehow I doubt that as well though.

The people will speak on April 22nd. We will vote overwhelmingly for Barack Obama mark my words. The "bitter" have spoken. We will not be silenced.

My, my. How the tables have turned. Now the media is out to get Democrats? HARDLY! Try being a Republican for a change and really experience how the media operates to support your Democrat candidates!

Operation chaos continues!

Well, that is really good, because Babama I-Am-Sorry and the Sycho HATE Lady Billary Escobar, will keep fighting each other down to the dirty end. And the rejection and the hate against the Dems is increasing among the independents and the liberal Republicans, so Dems will lose not only the presidential election but all the proportional elections as well, as America is hating and rejecting this traitors bunch now.
So, now Big Mac just need to get Condie on the boat, and his 18 wheeler will destroy whatever outlasts the Dems mud fight. Big Mac - Rice 2008!!! RICE 2012!!! RICE 2016!!!

While, in fairness to Obama, I do think the criticism of this particular comment of his is overblown, I think it gets to a truth about him: he can be incredibly condescending and dismissive at times. Just ask us Florida Democrats, we've been on the receiving end of that "Obama phenomenon" for months now (since approximately January 29th, to be exact), yet the media has not noticed or cared. Hopefully, the dust-up over this "bitter" thing will get people noticing this condescending aspect of Obama, and remove the media-bestowed aura of perfection that surrounds him.

For those commenting that Barack doesn't get fair media need to take a long hot shower. Give me a break - Hillary has been lambasted the entire time. She is the best candidate and is the one we need in office. Stop blaming the media for Barack's arrogant views!

This is UTTER RUBBISH!! Don Frederick, sir, you are SO out of touch with what WE Pennsylvanians feel I can only say: "How dare you? Walk a mile in our shoes and see if you don't feel BITTERNESS over the heinousness of this current, corrupt, and idiotic Administration." Obama will take PA and you'll cringe at your ill-informed opinion. Three words on polls: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN ...

For those commenting that Barack doesn't get fair media need to take a long hot shower. Give me a break - Hillary has been lambasted the entire time. She is the best candidate and is the one we need in office. Stop blaming the media for Barack's arrogant views!

Michael Sigman, the difference in the polls can be explained by the fact Obama has been attracting the college-educated "elite" while Clinton has had stronger appeal among blue-collar voters.

While Obama supporters think those blue-collar voters are intellectually inferior, the truth is they're not stupid enough to vote for a man who looks down upon them.

So while he enjoys a bounce in the national polls for "telling it like it is" (in the eyes of the liberal elite), he's being hurt in PA among the voters he is so clumsily courting.

The media / Clinton Spin Machine / McCain are completely blowing this thing out of proportion.

I am not even a small-town person-- have lived in big cities like Houston, TX, New Orleans, and Austin, TX my entire life--- and I am BITTER AS HELL with the current government.

I don't turn to religion and guns-- but rather seek comfort in a bottle of Jack Daniels--- either way, Obama's message was that this country is FU*KED up right now, and people realize it and want change.

Hillary's campaign is constantly negative in their attacks of Obama, but cannot take criticism themselves. The Clintons have been proven to be LIARS, FRAUDS, and PANDERERS.


Just keep in mind that this is one poll of many which have been and will be conducted.

My suggestion: read up on aggregate polls. For example, should soon post aggregate polling of Pennsylvania. This will be a much more accurate measure of how much Clinton is leading Obama.

Try not to only rely of Los Angeles Times or American Research Group. Do your research.

i think this goes to show that unlike popular opinion among b.o. supporters, he is not invincible. he can make mistakes, and he did, and now he's getting angry at HILLARY for attacking him. just the kind of politics he said he wouldn't engage in! if you can't take the heat, get out of the primary!

What a bunch of BITTER freaks these pollsters (and those answering the polls) are! Obama should and will be president. Hilarious and McNasty are old-school, old-thought win-at-all-costs destroy the rest of the US politicians. Obama just tells it like it is. When will the rest of this country get their heads out of their butts and realize the sh*t-hole that we're in now with what's happened the last 16 years?? Get a f'in clue!!

Hillary said something similar last year.

The New York Sun reports that as Clinton attacked Obama, "reports surfaced of similar comments made by both Clintons to explain voter concerns about issues like religion, guns, and immigration. In an article on in November, for example, Mrs. Clinton was quoted as saying: 'During the 1990s, I cannot remember being asked about immigration. Why? Because the economy was working. And average Americans didn't have to go around looking for others to blame.'"

If Pennsylvanians are really that stupid that they would move away from Obama based on the misdirection of the Clintons, than they deserve what they get.
What did Obama say that was wrong? 'People are bitter because of their economic circumstances. Therefore, they cling or hold onto what sustains them.' That doesn't put down their faith or their traditions. They are strengthened by them.
Don't cling to sound bites. Listen with your brain!

The surprise is that it took soooo long for voters to see through the Obama's. PA voters have seen the light and Obama will hopefully go down here. You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but given enough time most people will see the fool....Obama. Vote Hillary Clinton or we will have McCain.

We'll see. The debate on Wednesday should have some impact on voters, and Hillary's attack on Obama ant the steelworkers' event on Sunday didn't exactly stir the crowd.

To judge a person is to see who he associated himself with and what he says and what he does. Voter are smart enough to make their judgement. That is the reason for Obama's down fall in Pen State poll.

Between this and his racist preacher I've learned all I need to about Obama. He comes off as a snob and possible racist. I'm so sick and tired of voting for who will do less damage to the country instead of being able to vote for someone who I actually believe will improve things for tax paying Americans.


...cause... Barack Obama has a way with B-O-L-O-G-N-A.

So much fun with the circus in town -- Barack on the high-wire and Hilary on the trapeze. Who will fall first?

Obama's comments were both accurate and enlightening. If Pennsylvania voters believe that Hillary Clinton, with a cumulative net worth of $250 million dollars, has any real connection with the working class, $26,500 dollar a year mill worker, then they deserve what they get. Mrs. Clinton has more negative polling numbers nationally than John McCain and Obama combined. McCain is tainted with neo-conservative (read facist) ideas and Clinton is simply an untruthful person on multiple levels. Obama any day of the week or year.

This is ridiculous! Yesterday Obama was only 4 points behind - a virtual tie when you account for the margin of error! And now the media (a bunch of paid actors) is saying he's lost tremendous ground because of remarks he made that most voters in Penn agree with! This is indeed sabotage by the media. You will see come April 22 that Obama will keep his lead of Clinton if not increase it. His message does ring true with voters. That poll is inaccurate and conducted by people who work for the other side. I love how the media says he was on a downswing because of over saturation of ads! GO OBAMA GO!

The ARG polls always swing widely. One week ago, ARG had the race tied. Two weeks ago ARG said it was 12%. Now this. Also, ARG has been the outlier in previous states' polls.

Let's wait and see.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 | ยป


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: