Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Prediction

The polls--April 21, 2008Tomorrow the long-awaited Pennsylvania primary will have arrived and I thought it might be a good time to launch fecklessly into a few predictions. As of this morning the polls are showing Sen. Clinton leading Sen. Obama by anything from six points (Zogby) to ten points (Suffolk). Sen. Obama’s strongest support is in eastern Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia and its environs, while Sen. Clinton’s is in western Pennsylvania. A lot will depend on turnout and in this I believe that Sen. Obama has a distinct advantage. His supporters certainly seem to be more enthusiastic than Sen. Clinton’s.

I think the greatest likelihood is a narrow victory for Sen. Clinton. Anything less than five points will be construed as a victory for them by the Obama campaign and they’ll be right since Pennsylvania will not have arrived at a decisive choice. That’s very much the way this entire primary season has gone—despite the impressions you may be receiving, Sen. Obama’s delegate lead over Sen. Clinton isn’t overwhelming.

In the unlikely event that Sen. Clinton wins Pennsylvania by double digits it will bolster the view that Sen. Obama can’t win big states and make the remaining superdelegates even wobblier.

In any event I don’t really expect Sen. Clinton to concede or withdraw. She’ll take her fight to the convention and maybe beyond. There is no next year.

Say, fellow OTB contributors, anybody care to play?

Update (Alex Knapp): I’d say that I expect a sizable, but not double digit lead for Hillary Clinton in PA–probably in the 7-9 point range. This will be followed two weeks later by a double digit Obama win in North Carolina and another, albeit smaller, Obama win in Indiana. I suspect that after the Indiana win, enough superdelegates will have come out for Obama that Clinton won’t have a choice but to concede, but I could be mistaken. (And, in fact, probably am.)

Update (Chris Lawrence): My gut feeling is that Clinton wins the popular vote by a smaller margin than Alex expects; my internal dartboard says 5 points, ±1. She probably nets narrow win in terms of pledged delegates too (netting a gain of 5–10). This should be enough of a win for her to fight on to North Carolina and Indiana, although her upcoming victory in Pennsylvania seems likely to be sufficiently Pyhrric to bleed her campaign coffers to the point she won’t be able to afford to campaign effectively in Indiana.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, , , , , , , , , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. Jay Webber says:

    Clinton by 4. But the narrowness of the victory means that more superdelegates will come out for Obama within 5 days.

  2. Dantheman says:

    Clinton by 4. Delegate gain for Clinton no larger than 7. Obama’s large wins in Philly’s two Congressional districts, and small ones in the suburban ones, are enough to keep delegate math unchanged.

  3. Bithead says:

    I agree, James, Clinton by single digits does seem the most likley scenario. And if it is that way, it’s not going to be enough. In fact, Clinton by anything less than 20 points, isn’t going to get her where she wants to be…. and I wonder if even that would be enough.

  4. Bithead says:

    Sorry, Dave. caught my error a half second after I hit send.

  5. Jim Henley says:

    I think the pattern this year has been, the polls have been pretty good at predicting the vote share of the loser, but the winner has tended to outperform predictions as late deciders break his or her way. So Obama gets 43% of the vote, like the polls suggest, BUT that means Clinton gets as much as 57%. So my official prediction is, Clinton by 10 or more percentage points. She does no worse than 55-45.

  6. SDM says:

    Clinton by 9, Clinton up in delegates by 8. Not enough to actually help her, not enough to end the race.

  7. yetanotherjohn says:

    Clinton by at least 10%. Look at the number of undecideds. They have to break one direction or another and Obama is not finishing strong.

  8. jacksmith says:


    If you think like Barack Obama, that WORKING CLASS PEOPLE are just a bunch of “BITTER”!, STUPID, PEASANTS, Cash COWS!, and CANNON FODDER. 🙁

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think Barack Obama with little or no experience would be better than Hillary Clinton with 35 years experience.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience can fix an economy on the verge of collapse better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) led the greatest economic expansion, and prosperity in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience fighting for universal health care can get it for you better than Hillary Clinton. Who anticipated this current health care crisis back in 1993, and fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds to get universal health care for all the American people.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience can manage, and get us out of two wars better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) went to war only when he was convinced that he absolutely had to. Then completed the mission in record time against a nuclear power. AND DID NOT LOSE THE LIFE OF A SINGLE AMERICAN SOLDIER. NOT ONE!

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience saving the environment is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) left office with the greatest amount of environmental cleanup, and protections in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with little or no education experience is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) made higher education affordable for every American. And created higher job demand and starting salary’s than they had ever been before or since.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience will be better than Hillary Clinton who spent 8 years at the right hand of President Bill Clinton. Who is already on record as one of the greatest Presidents in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that you can change the way Washington works with pretty speeches from Obama, rather than with the experience, and political expertise of two master politicians ON YOUR SIDE like Hillary and Bill Clinton..

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think all those Republicans voting for Obama in the Democratic primaries, and caucuses are doing so because they think he is a stronger Democratic candidate than Hillary Clinton. 🙂

    Best regards

    jacksmith… Working Class 🙂

    p.s. You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you don’t know that the huge amounts of money funding the Obama campaign to try and defeat Hillary Clinton is coming in from the insurance, and medical industry, that has been ripping you off, and killing you and your children. And denying you, and your loved ones the life saving medical care you needed. All just so they can make more huge immoral profits for them-selves off of your suffering…

    You see, back in 1993 Hillary Clinton had the audacity, and nerve to try and get quality, affordable universal health care for everyone to prevent the suffering and needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of you each year. 🙂

    Approx. 100,000 of you die each year from medical accidents from a rush to profit by the insurance, and medical industry. Another 120,000 of you die each year from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. And I could go on, and on…

  9. Bachbone says:

    I agree that no matter the PA outcome, the Clintons are in till the convention. Obama hasn’t any idea what “dirty politics” means yet, and the Clinton team has mastered that game. It’s just now figuring out how to apply it to a Black man and get away with it. St. Hillary and Bubba know this is their last hurrah and will stomp anyone who gets in their path into the mud no matter what it does to the party. The Clintons have more dirt on more politicians than there is slop in hog troughs. They didn’t hire all those PIs and drag out all those FBI files for nothing.

  10. To jack smith, what are you doing SPAMMING that article for the Hillary Campaign?!! I’m seeing that piece of crap everywhere. Let me make it simple for you. Is Hillary running this campaign or is Bill? you are trying to give credit for the fact she was in the same building. She has EIGHT years of elected experience to Obama’s TWELVE. And they BOTH have more experience then Bill did when he got into office.

    That said, YOU are an idiot if you tout the Healthcare plan Hillary DID push as first lady. It died because no one would touch it due to how the Clintons ALIENATED everyone. YOU are an idiot for spouting 35 years of what experience? The board at Walmart? Negoitating the Irish peace process? Dodging sniper fire?!?! Or pushing that Nafta thing that she’s running around saying she was against? Or maybe those 2 million jobs she promised in NY that became -50,000!!!

    Obama worked from nothing and tells it like it is. Elitist?!! Please. McCain and Hillary OWN that title. Obama’s funding comes from the hundreds of thousands of individual supporters unlike Hillary who’s smaller base of deep pockets are corporations she tapped to the max already. IT’s a sad day when to win people pump lies or illogical b.s. such as jacksmith.

    BOTH the Clintons are damaged goods due to their lack of moral compass. And Hillary is nowhere near being as vetted as she’d like to thinks she is. All they’ll need to start talking about is Bill, Monica Lewinsky and the Fact Bill went to see REVEREND WRIGHT as spiritual council. Oh and the fact he pardoned those weatherunderground folks Hillary was trying to tag Obama with.

    Obama is going to be Politic’s Jackie Robinson. He’s raising the bar. He knows about the dirty politics. He just refuses to play.

  11. nisha, says:

    All you intelligent Obama supporters voting for ‘CHANGE’ do you have a list specific changes he is proposing to you. If you have a list can you please publish it for me or is it just the word ‘CHANGE’ that impresses you. You all know that change can be good change and also can be bad change.
    So here is what I think: as President he probably will spread the same teachings that he received from his Pastor. His Pastor was his mentor and advisor for 20 long years and you can not erase your mentor and advisors’s teachings which are instilled in you for 20 years although controversial in just few months, they will stay with you forever. Obama has proved that again and again by not denouncing his Pastor and also supporting the church by donating money and his time.
    Next, he will appoint people with qualities like Rezko, Ayers and Wright in his cabinet. Because with his associations you can tell what traits in a person attract him.
    And next, his arrogant personality will persuade him to make speeches where he will make remarks like ‘bitter Americans’ or like his wife’s remarks ‘proud of America now’ and demean people.
    And lastly, spending money donated by people like water on primary elections. He is actually buying people’s votes. If he is that good then why is wasing money and buying voters? He should win the primaries without spending any money.

  12. just me says:

    I think Clinton will win, but I figure somewhere in the 5-9 pt range, not double digits.

    I think she wins well enough that she has an arguable stake at staying in the race.

  13. Beldar says:

    Eight points. Clinton will continue her “he can’t win big states in play” argument while hoping to continue to trim Obama’s popular vote lead. Obama will point to polls showing late deciders went to him despite her negative campaigning and his recent bad press. We’re getting close to time for the Florida Clintonistas to sue Dean and the DNC.

  14. JR says:

    nisha, I can’t believe at this point you don’t know what “CHANGE” Obama is talking about. Oh, you know what? I believe you don’t know. Why? Because you don’t want to know. Obama has been talking about what he intends to do for the past 15 months and the only reason you don’t know this is because you don’t supporter him, you were never a supporter and you are only looking for excuses, one you think that would make you sound like you have some sense. “Oh I don’t know what Obama is going to change, so I can’t vote for him” hmmmmm, sound like a sorry excuse to me. You seem to be such an air head, where have you heard of someone who is un-known as Obama is winning elections without spending money? How do you propose he win the election “without spending any money”? Hillary Clinton has the Clinton name to run on obviously she would not need to spend as much money because people knows her more (or they think they do). Pay attention to what is going and use the senses you were given.

  15. yetanotherjohn says:

    With 86% of the votes counted, it looks like I was right with the 10%.