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Dem Split Showing up in Polls

3:44 PM, Mar 19, 2008 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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Public Policy Polling has recently conducted surveys in both Florida and Ohio which find that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama is currently able to unite most Democrats in trial heats against John McCain:

A similar PPP poll for Florida released yesterday showed Hillary Clinton having trouble with black voters and Barack Obama with difficulty shoring up the Democratic base. The same trend shows itself in Ohio. Clinton leads McCain just 47-27 with the key demographic of African American voters, while Obama pulls just 62% with respondents who identified themselves as Democrats.

"Some of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's supporters dislike the other candidate so much that at this point they're not committing to voting for the eventual Democratic nominee in the general election," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.

This points up the serious straits Democrats find themselves in right now. There's no reason to think the Obama-Clinton fight will end before the convention. Indeed, the Democrats may be headed for a very troublesome outome: Barack Obama is almost certain to retain an edge in pledged delegates, but the pounding he has taken in recent weeks is leading many to question whether he really is a better candidate against McCain than Hillary. The superdelegates may ultimately conclude that the party's best candidate against McCain is Hillary.

But do they dare hand the nomination to Hillary, despite her deficit among the pledged delegates? It's hard to see that happening. But then again, if Obama can't get his mojo back, it's also hard to see them ratifying his nomination. No matter what happens, it looks like the nominating fight will leave the Democrats in hot water in Denver.

If Howard Dean can square this circle, he will have earned his pay.