A new Quinnipiac University poll of Pennsylvania Democrats released today found that Hillary Clinton’s lead over Barack Obama continues to decrease. Clinton now leads Obama 50%-44% in the state. This is a three point drop from the previous poll done last week, and a six point drop from two weeks ago. Obama gained support among white voters, men and women. The most surprising result is that Obama has gained four points among women voters in the state. Last week Clinton led among women in the state 54%-37%, but that lead has shrunk to 54%-41%. Among white voters, Clinton’s lead has decreased from 59%-34% to 56%-38%.

The two candidates were tied among men in the state at 46% last week, but that has become a 48%-44% Obama lead.Clinton still has big leads among older voters and in every part of the state except the Philadelphia area. Interestingly, Obama has gained ground among Democrats who think the economy is the most important issue. Clinton did lead among this group 53%-39%, but there has been a ten point swing, and she now leads 49%-45%. Obama has cut into some of the Clinton lead, but in Pennsylvania the candidate who leads on the economy and with white male voters will win the state.

I still have this race at a 4-6 point spread for Clinton, but Barack Obama doesn’t need to win the state in order to put a kill shot on the Clinton campaign. If Obama ends up coming in to a state where Clinton should have dominated, and makes it a close race, this is a win for him. Clinton needs a big win in order to get the perception of momentum back in her column. At one time, she had a 30 point lead in the state, so even if she wins, her victory will be tainted by the fact that she blew such a big lead.

There is no way to tell from this poll, but I suspect that the Mark Penn/Columbia Free Trade agreement mess could hurt Clinton with some voters in the state. Free trade is not popular here in PA, and if Clinton ends up linked to another job sucking agreement, it could bring Obama even closer. Momentum seems to be gathering behind Obama as the Democratic nominee. The question here in Pennsylvania will be if Barack Obama has enough time to close the deal and overcome the superior Clinton organization in the Keystone State.

Complete Poll Numbers:


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