A new Quinnipiac University poll of the state of Pennsylvania released today found that Hillary Clinton has widened her lead over Barack Obama to 12 points. This represents a doubling over her lead in the previous February 27 poll, but Obama has still managed to cut into the 18 point lead that Clinton enjoyed on February 14. Among the poll’s findings is that the split between black and white voters in the state continues to grow. Clinton now leads among white voters 61%-33%. This is a five point increase for her since the last poll. Obama leads among black voters 76%-18%. This represents a seven point increase for him.

Clinton holds a large lead with women in the state, 59%-35%. Men still go for Obama, but by a smaller margin than in the last poll. Obama went from leading 50%-43% to now leading 48%-45%. Obama leads among voters with a college degree, 50%-45%, but Clinton leads among those without a degree, 57%-37%. Obama leads voters under the age of 45 by eighteen points, but Clinton leads among older voters by 24 points. Voters in the state have a more favorable opinion of Clinton (71%) than they do of Obama (61%). The top three issues for voters in the state are the economy, the Iraq war, and healthcare. Voters in the state are split on the war, but favor Clinton on the economy, 55%-40%.

Pennsylvania is my home, and I can tell you that it is Clinton Country. Demographically, the state is custom made for Clinton. The state is very white (85%), and female (51%). The state is below national average in residents with a bachelor’s degree, and median income. The western half of the state, which is where I live, is also one of the oldest areas demographically speaking in the United States. Over 33% of the population of the city of Pittsburgh is over 45 years of age. Only 11% of the population is under 24 years old.

The Clinton campaign couldn’t design a better state for her if they tried, which is why it is surprising that she is only up by 12 points. There should be no doubt that Hillary Clinton will win Pennsylvania. What is worth watching is her margin of victory. This is state that she should run away with, so if Obama can lose by less than 10 points, this should be viewed as a victory for him. Obama needs a major turnout among African Americans and younger voters to stay close. However, if older women or just women in general come out in mass to vote for Hillary, her margin of victory could be closer to 20.

The complete poll results:

http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1327.xml?ReleaseID=1158

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