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A Pair Of Texas Polls Conflict On Clinton-Obama Contest

Hillary Clinton got good news on some fronts this week. On the heels of polls by Rasmussen Reports and Quinnipiac University showing her with double-digit leads over Barack Obama in Ohio, Rasmussen today says she leads Obama 54 percent to 38 percent in Texas, the other big March 4 primary state. However, an American Research Group poll shows a different result, but we’ll get to that. Rasmussen cautions that only 68 percent of likely Democratic voters say they have made up their minds for sure. As in many other states, Clinton leads among white and Hispanic voters while Obama leads among black voters. Also following trends elsewhere, 38 percent put the economy as the number one issue while 19 percent cited Iraq.

In the Republican race, John McCain holds a 45 percent to 37 percent lead over Mike Huckabee, much less than his national leads. Texas’ Ron Paul has 7 percent, following in the dust of “not sure” at 11 percent. (Thirty-six percent of Texas Republicans have a favorable view of Paul while 52 percent do not). Immigration is a top issue for 26 percent of Republicans, and Huckabee leads 45 percent to 38 percent in that group. The economy is listed as top issue by 25 percent.

The poll was taken Feb. 14 and has a margin of error of 4 percent.

The American Research Group poll taken Feb.13-14 has an entirely different result for the Democrats. It has Obama leading Clinton 48 percent to 42 percent among likely Democratic primary voters with a margin of error of 4 percent. ARG is more in agreement with Rasmussen on the Republican side, McCain leads Huckabee 42 percent to 36 percent, with the same margin of error. Pollster Dick Bennett says, “This race looks more like Virginia than Maryland.”

One potentially troublesome item for Clinton, if this poll is borne out, is that her lead among Hispanic voters is only 44 percent to 42 percent, while Obama maintains his big edge among black voters. (See a Houston Chronicle piece on her quest for Hispanic voters). ARG also polled self-described Independents who can “affiliate” with either party and vote in that party’s primary.While Clinton led Obama 47 percent to 42 percent among the 78 percent of Democrats polled, Obama led 71 percent to 24 percent among the 22 percent who described themselves as Independents.

We asked Bennett about the difference between the Rasmussen poll and his, and he said, that in part, “our interviewers report that it is early in this race as attention levels are fairly low.” Bennett also took note of the fact that 30 percent of men said they would never vote for Clinton and “that McCain is being hurt by independent men voting in the Democratic primary against Clinton.” has an analysis of the differences in the Texas polls.

Gallup’s Frank Newport has a video up analyzing McCain’s problems within his own party.

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