Clinton Makes Big Gains Against Obama vis-à-vis McCain in Upper Midwest

In polling conducted just as the Reverend Wright story broke nationally last week, Hillary Clinton appears to have made substantial gains across the Upper Midwest in terms of her relative competitiveness with Republican nominee John McCain, as compared to her competitor Barack Obama.

SurveyUSA polls of 500+ registered voters in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa, found Clinton to have racked up double-digit gains across all states, compared to polling conducted by the organization one-month prior in mid-February.

In February, Senator Obama held a 15-point lead over McCain in Minnesota, 55 to 40 percent, compared to just a 4-point lead for Clinton—a net 11-point relative advantage for Obama. In the new March poll, however, Obama trails McCain by 1-point (47 to 46 percent) and Clinton leads McCain by 3 points (49 to 46 percent)—a net 4-point advantage for Clinton. This marks a 15-point turnaround in one month for Clinton, measuring her relative performance against McCain with Obama in the Gopher State.

In Wisconsin, Obama led McCain by 10 points in February, 52 to 42 percent, with Clinton trailing McCain by 7 points, or a 17-point relative advantage for Obama. This month, Obama leads McCain by only 4 points (48 to 44 percent) and Clinton now leads McCain by 1-point (46 to 45 percent), for a net 3-point advantage for Obama. This marks a 14-point gain in one month for Clinton, measuring her relative performance against McCain with Obama in the Badger State.

In Iowa, Obama led McCain by 10 points in February (51 to 41 percent), while Clinton trailed the Arizona Senator by 11 points (52 to 41 percent)—a 21-point relative advantage for Obama. This month, Obama leads McCain by 6 points (50 to 44 percent) while Clinton has cut the McCain lead to 4 points (48 to 44 percent). This marks an 11-point gain in one month for Clinton, measuring her relative performance against McCain with Obama in the Hawkeye State.

One of Obama’s strengths as a potential Democratic nominee was his ability to lure crucial independent voters to the Democratic side. The Illinois Senator now appears quite vulnerable in retaining that key constituency.

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