Rasmussen's daily survey out today shows an amazing split between Democrats for Obama and Democrats for Clinton with regard to the Reverend Wright controversy. Clinton now leads among Democrats 47-44, an 11 point shift in a week.
Just 18% of Clinton voters believe Obama was surprised by the content of Wright's remarks. Sixty-six percent (66%) of Obama supporters believe their candidate was surprised. Seventy percent (70%) of Clinton supporters believe it's likely that Obama shares some of Wright's controversial views about the United States. Only 17% of Obama supporters think it's likely that he shares those views. Ten percent (10%) of Clinton supporters believe that Obama was truly outraged by Wright's comments. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of Obama supporters believe their candidate was outraged.
Obama is left with his true believers -- blacks, academics, students, the hard left . Hillary's supporters seem to be very cynical about Obama. They are also more toward the center (hence the wisdom of her two night appearance on Bill O'Reilly this week). It is why she performs 6% better than Obama in a general election race versus McCain (she leads 45-44, while Obama loses 48-43).
Gallup also shows a big gap (McCain up 48-42 on Obama, and ahead of Hillary 46-45). Gallup and Rasmussen have both shown sharp drop-offs for Obama this week versus Clinton and McCain. His attempt to toss Wright over the side has failed politically -- most folks did not see how Wright did anything different this week than over the last 20 years, so it raises more questions about why Obama did nothing about him until now. It is increasingly seen as political opportunism and expediency on his part and nothing more. The new politics message is left only for the Kool Aid Drinkers.
Obama is still he favorite for the nomination, and his lead in the delegate race is still solid at 138. Even if he loses both primaries on Tuesday (and he is still favored to win in North Carolina), he will likely lose no more than a handful of delegates from his lead. If Clinton wins Indiana by 5-10%, and Obama wins North Carolina by the same margin, he will pick up more delegates on Tuesday than she will, and also pad his popular vote margin, since more people will vote in North Carolina than Indiana.
Obama needs to hang on in North Carolina to dull Clinton's momentum. If he loses both primaries, Clinton's momentum will grow, and future races are very favorable to her in Kentucky, West Virginia and Puerto Rico in particular. No state with even a 10% African American share of the population remains on the election calendar after Tuesday.
But incredibly, there is the real possibility that even with Clinton winning almost all the contests since March, with her much stronger national poll ratings against McCain , with her far stronger poll ratings in key battleground states, and with Clinton likely holding an overall lead in the popular vote after all the primaries are completed, the Democrats will nominate a damaged, and weaker general election nominee so as not to antagonize their African American constituency.