In the just released Quinnipiac University Poll, Clinton draws 50 percent of support from likely Democratic voters in the state while Obama gets 41 percent. In a similar poll taken two weeks ago, Clinton was at 53 percent and Obama was at 41 percent.
The poll was conducted March 24-31 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. It comes days after popular Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey endorsed Obama - though most of the poll was conducted before that announcement.The poll also shows a large split among white and black voters in the state - Clinton is winning the votes of nearly 6 in 10 white Democrats while Obama is drawing three quarters of the black vote.
The two also remain strong with constituencies that have favored them in past states: Clinton is doing well with women and older voters while Obama is strong with young voters. The two are approximately even among males.
A convincing win in Pennsylvania is seen as crucial for Clinton as she seeks to end the primary season with enough momentum to swing the majority of undecided superdelegates her way.
With an electorate that seems to favor Clinton, the Obama campaign has consistently lowered its expectations there, though it is heavily outspending her on television advertising.
- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
(CNN) — Florida’s Democratic leadership and national party chairman Howard Dean presented a united front today as they met to resolve their dispute over the seating of that state’s delegation at the presidential nominating convention in Denver.
"It is my commitment, working with the Florida delegation and the campaigns to find a fair solution so that Florida will be seated - and we are confident enough that we have reserved hotel rooms for the delegates from Florida in Denver," said Dean.
"There will be no empty chairs on the convention floor in Denver," added Rep. Alcee Hastings.
The session, held Democratic National Committee headquarters, included Dean, congressional Democrats and state party chair Karen Thurman. Shortly afterwards, the group issued a joint statement. After a joint meeting today among Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen L. Thurman and Florida’s Democratic Congressional Delegation, the participants issued this joint statement.
“....We all agree that whatever the solution, it must have the support of both campaigns. While there may be differences of opinion in how we get there, we are all committed to ensuring that Florida’s delegation is seated in Denver. We’re committed to working with both campaigns to reach a solution as soon as realistically possible," said the statement.
"...We will continue to work towards a solution to ensure delegates are seated and logistics are in place for a Florida delegation in Denver.”
The Clinton campaign praised the meeting. "We have long maintained that pretending the voters of Florida and Michigan don’t exist is not fair in principle and unwise in practice," said spokesman Phil Singer. "Chairman Dean is clearly committed to seating the Florida delegation and we urge Senator Obama to join us in calling on the rules and bylaws committee to make this a reality."
(CNN) - James Dobson said Wednesday that presumptive Republican nominee John McCain had not been successful in uniting conservatives since capturing the nomination – and that recent moves by the senator instead “appear to be fracturing an increasingly divided constituency."
"I have seen no evidence that Sen. McCain is successfully unifying the Republican Party or drawing conservatives into his fold. To the contrary, he seems intent on driving them away,” said the Focus on the Family founder, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal.
He cited recent McCain remarks on global warming and torture, a speech in front of the influential conservative Council on National Policy that “thoroughly disappointed and irritated” many in attendance, and recent comments from a McCain adviser that the Arizona senator can win based his on his support from moderates and independents.
“That seems to be the strategy. These are not the policies and pronouncements of a man who is seeking to 'unify the party.' Indeed, they appear to be fracturing an increasingly divided constituency," wrote the evangelical leader.
The statements were some of Dobson’s most critical to date, though he stopped short of saying his followers should not vote for McCain.
The conservative Christian icon has long been cool to McCain. During the primary season, he spoke warmly of Republican rival Mitt Romney, and backed Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid.
UPDATE: McCain himself – who said he had not had a conversation with Dobson that could recall, but that he would be happy to speak with him – said Wednesday he respected him, but disputed his campaign assessment, adding that poll data showed he had greater support from his party than either of the Democratic candidates had from their own. (Watch McCain's comments)
“We continue to work with our conservative base, and I'm very proud - as I say –of the empirical data that shows we have very strong support amongst all elements of our party. And that's what we need to do to win,” he told CNN's Dana Bash on board the Straight Talk Express.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
(CNN) - Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal is backing Barack Obama's White House bid, the Illinois senator's campaign said Wednesday.
"Senator Obama is the Democratic candidate with the openness, honesty and skill to end this vicious cycle of business as usual," Freudenthal said in a statement released by the campaign.
Obama won the Wyoming Democratic caucus on March 8 with 61 percent of the vote.
(CNN) - Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is back and angrier than ever at both political parties.
"I never vote Democrat or Republican," the former wrestler said on CNN's Larry King Live Tuesday night. "I will pick someone else, a libertarian on the ballot. Someone else. I will not vote for a republican or democrat. I don't do it every election - I wish they would allow none of the above on the ballot."
On his own political future, Ventura said he is not planning on running for president because of the difficulty third party candidates have in securing ballot access.
"Am I going to run? Too difficult," he said. "Because they make an independent like me jump through 50 different hoops because every state has different things you have to do to qualify to get on the ballot."
Click here to watch more highlights from the interview!
(CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards has taken a visiting fellowship at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
Edwards, the wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, fellowship will occur next week, the school announced Wednesday. She will make a public address in the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on April 9.
(CNN) - Republican John McCain gave David Letterman a taste of his own medicine Tuesday night.
The late night talk show host often pokes fun at the 71-year-old senator because of his age. But McCain interrupted Letterman's monologue to get in a few shots of his own.
You think that stuff's pretty funny, don't you?" McCain told Letterman: "Well, you look like a
guy whose laptop would be seized by the authorities."
Click here to watch the full exchange!
(CNN) - Elizabeth Edwards said Tuesday that under John McCain’s health care plan, uninsured Americans with life-threatening illnesses would be “outside the clinic doors” – the latest salvo in an increasingly charged war of words with an adviser to the presumptive Republican nominee.
The wife of former Democratic presidential candidate said Saturday that as cancer survivors, “Neither one of us [herself or John McCain] would be covered by his health policy.”
McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin fired back in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, calling her remarks “disappointing” – and saying they proved she did not understand the Arizona senator’s plan.
He said the McCain proposal, which relies on market competition to lower costs, was the most effective way to ensure all Americans could afford health insurance.
On Tuesday, Edwards fired back in a blog post on a Web site run by the Center for American Progress. “The problem, Douglas, is that, despite fuzzy language and feel-good lines in the Senator’s proposal, I do understand exactly how devastating it will be to people who have the health conditions with which the Senator and I are confronted…”
McCain has been successfully treated for melanoma, and Edwards for breast cancer.
Edwards has also criticized Barack Obama’s health care plan. She has praised Hillary Clinton's proposal, saying that it resembles her husband's universal health care plan.
The McCain campaign has not yet responded to Edwards’ latest comments.
–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
Compiled by Jonathan Helman
CNN Washington Bureau
Pittsburg Post-Gazette: Democrats Casting For White Men, State's Prize
The biggest prey this primary season, discussed in countless political dispatches and talk shows, is hiding in plain sight. The species is described - depending on who's talking - as either traditional or old-fashioned, proud or angry, straight-talking or racist/sexist. It is rough-hewn. It is gritty. It is a walking, talking cliché. It is Pennsylvania's voting-age white male and he may be none of the above, but rather as varied and hard to pin down as all 3.86 million of them statewide.
WSJ: McCain Has Yet to Win Over Key Conservatives
On the campaign trail last week, Sen. John McCain declared at least three times that the Republican Party is "united." But is it? Some prominent conservatives say they remain disenchanted with the party's likely nominee. Sen. McCain isn't doing enough to persuade them of his conservative credentials, they say, or win them over to his side. Although the sentiment among conservative leaders is that they will vote for Sen. McCain come November, they aren't thrilled about the prospect.
CNN: Obama, Clinton Invited To Indiana Debate
A consortium of Indiana television stations and newspapers has invited Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to appear at a debate in their state ahead of the May 6 primary. The debate would air live nationally on CNN and PBS and on public television stations statewide, and made available to every commercial broadcast station in Indiana.
AP: Lee Hamilton Tells A.P. He’s Backing Obama
Former Indiana Rep. Lee Hamilton is backing Sen. Barack Obama in an endorsement that could boost the presidential hopeful's national security standing, The Associated Press has learned.
Compiled by Jonathan Helman, CNN Washington Bureau
*Hillary Clinton tours the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Building and hosts an economic summit in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
*John McCain attends a pledge of allegiance ceremony and gives a speech in Annapolis, Maryland. He also gives a speech, participates in a panel discussion, and has a meet and greet in Pensacola, Florida.
*Barack Obama is in Pennsylvania. He gives a speech to the AFL-CIO in Philadelphia, holds an event in Wallingford, and attends a rally back in Philadelphia.