Two weeks ahead of the Pennsylvania primary, the next contest on the road to the Democratic presidential nomination, a new poll shows Sen. Hillary Clinton’s comfortable lead beginning to slip as rival Sen. Barack Obama rises in popularity among women in the state.
The poll, released by Quinnipiac University Tuesday, shows Clinton leading Obama 50 percent to 44 percent, a 3 point increase for Obama in just six days.
“With two weeks to go, Sen. Barack Obama is knocking on the door of a major political upset in the Pennsylvania Democratic primary,” Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Assistant Director Clay F. Richards said. The poll indicates that Clinton’s support among Keystone State women remained steady at 54 percent since the April 2 poll while Obama’s rose four points to 41 percent.
“Obama is not only building on his own constituencies, but it taking away voters in Sen. Hillary Clinton’s strongest areas — whites, including white women, voters in the key swing Philadelphia suburbs and those who say the economy is the most important issue in the campaign,” Richards said.
The Illinois senator’s success may be attributed to his massive television ad campaign and outspending his opponent 3-to-1 by some measures, according to the Boston Globe.
Obama, who raised more than $40 million in March is getting additional support from the deep-pocketed Service Employees International Union and a local health care affiliate, who have added $976,000 worth of door-to-door canvassing for the candidate, The New York Times reported.
“In the Iowa caucuses, Mr. Obama of Illinois, criticized such outside support, calling it an underhanded effort that benefited his rivals, who received strong support from outside groups, mainly unions,” the Times reported, adding that so far in Pennsylvania, Obama “has remained silent about the help he has received from the politically active S.E.I.U.”
To combat her opponent’s rising popularity, Clinton released five new TV ads Tuesday across the state. Each features either Gov. Ed Rendell or Philadelphia Mayor Mike Nutter, who tout Clinton’s endurance and her commitment to revitalize the economy.
“I’ve known Hillary for 15 years. She’s spent her life standing up to people. When she believes something has to be done, she just won’t quit,” Rendell says in the ad entitled “Spectacular.”
Both Democrats join presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain in questioning Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker in their testimony before Congress beginning Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Obama will begin campaigning again in Pennsylvania, while Clinton returns to the state at the end of the week.