By Samantha Hayes, Washington, D.C.
February 25, 2008
Statistically speaking, not much has changed in the minds of Texas Democrats after last Thursday's debate in Austin. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll shows its still a dead heat.
Barack Obama has an insignificant 50-46 percent margin over Hillary Clinton. In last week's poll Clinton had the edge, 50-48 percent. But both of those results are within the margin of error.
The poll also asked likely Democratic primary voters their opinion of the candidates, which may shed some light on why their decision seems split. 80 percent had favorable opinions of both Obama and Clinton. And that has been reflected to me on the campaign trail in a much less scientific setting. Many Democrats tell me they have a preference toward Obama or Clinton, but are happy with their choices.
On the issues, Texas voters agree on one thing, the importance of the state of the economy. 31 percent of Republicans and 43 percent of Democrats put the economy at the top of the list of concerns. Immigration, terrorism, and health care followed in that order for Republicans. Health care, Iraq, and immigration for Democrats.
Before the Lone Star state votes on March 4th, it may get down to which candidate voters feel can handle those issues the best. Obama has the edge on Iraq among likely Democrat voters, while they favor Clinton on handling the economy.