The USA Today/Gallup surveys, conducted Jan 23-26 in delegate-rich California and New York show Hillary Clinton significantly ahead of Barack Obama in both states while, on the GOP side, John McCain has moved into a clear lead over former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in his home state, but is in a much closer contest with Mitt Romney in California.
In both states, Gallup divided its findings into “high-turnout” and “low-turnout” scenarios, noting especially that one in five registered Republicans in California said they had already voted by absentee ballot.
McCain leads Romney in California by 35 percent to 27 percent in a high-turnout election (4 percent margin of error), and 36 percent to 31 percent in a low-turnout vote (5 percent margin of error). Mike Huckabee and Giuliani are far behind in both variations, running about neck-and-neck with each other.
Among Democrats, Clinton leads Obama 47 percent to 35 percent in a high-turnout vote, and by a larger 51 percent to 33 percent in a low-turnout vote. John Edwards is at 10 percent in both scenarios. The margins of error are the same as for the Republicans.
In New York, McCain is running substantially ahead of Giuliani in both scenarios – 42 percent to 21 percent for high-turnout and 40 percent to 21 percent for low-turnout. Romney polls in the mid-teens. An earlier Marist/WNBC poll also showed McCain ahead.
On the Democratic side, Clinton leads Obama 56 percent to 28 percent in both scenarios with Edwards just barely in double-digits. Again the margins of error were 4 percent for high-turnout and 5 percent for low-turnout.
It should be noted that both polls were concluded before the results of the South Carolina Democratic primary. Also, Gallup found the GOP race in California to be fluid, with one-third of registered Republicans saying they could change their minds before primary day.