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Hillary Clinton lengthens Pennsylvania lead over Barack Obama

March 18, 2008 | 12:24 pm

A fresh poll from Quinnipiac (doesn't that sound like a character in a Herman Melville novel?) University finds Hillary Clinton adding to her lead over Barack Obama in the April 22 Pennsylvania primary. And you can't help but think some of this stems from the debate over race and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Race does matter, judging by the poll numbers. Overall, Clinton led Obama 53% to 41% among all likely primary voters, a widened gap over the 49% to 43% lead she had Feb. 27. The poll, conducted over six days ending Sunday, has an unusually tight margin of error of 2.7%, which means Obama's slide is within the margin but Clinton's gain exceeds it.

The most interesting stuff, as usual, is in the details. The poll found that the racial gap has widened. White voters preferred Clinton by 61% to 33%, a change from the 56% to 37% lead last month. Similarly, black voters backed Obama 76% to 18% percent, compared with a 69% to 23% earlier finding.

There's a lot of time -- and a lot of campaigning -- to go, but at the moment, the numbers are tracking better for Clinton than for Obama, at least in Quinnipiac's poll. You can browse the rest of the polls here, but pay particular attention to the trend lines on the Real Clear Politics aggregate graph. It shows Obama flat in Pennsylvania, while Clinton climbed. And she was ahead there to begin with.

-- Scott Martelle

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