Two groups, in particular, shift from saying Clinton should stay if she loses one race to saying she should go if she loses both: White men and high-income Democrats. If she were to lose one state, 68 percent of white men say she should remain in the race; if she were to lose both, that drops to 36 percent, a 32-point drop. The decline among white women is much smaller, 19 points.
Similarly, the decline among people with household incomes over $100,000 is 31 points, compared to just a 13-point drop in those with incomes under $35,000.
GROUPS -- Rather than measuring vote preference, since 36 states have held their contests by now, this poll instead asked Democrats which candidate they'd like to see win the nomination. Obama does best in his core support groups: younger, better-educated and higher-income Democrats, men and those looking for new ideas.
Obama leads Clinton by 79-16 percent among African-Americans, almost exactly matching his margin in primaries to date. Critically, he has a 50-41 percent edge among white men, a swing group in this year's primaries. Clinton, for her part, still is favored by a wide margin among white women, 60-35 percent, and by seniors, 52-37 percent.
The competing themes of experience vs. a new direction continue to animate the contest; among those Democrats who are looking chiefly for a "new direction and new ideas" more than six in 10 would like to see Obama win the nomination; among those more focused on strength and experience, two-thirds prefer Clinton. The difference in this poll is that "new direction" voters are more prevalent than ever.
In one other change, Obama has more support in this poll from mainline Democrats than from independents. That could in part be because more Americans than usual are identifying themselves as Democrats, with previously Democratic-leaning independents, energized by the campaign, now associating themselves with the party.
METHODOLOGY -- This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 28-March 2, 2008, among a random national sample of 1,126 adults, including an oversample of African-Americans for a total of 215 black respondents (weighted back to their correct share of the national population). The results have a 3-point error margin for the full sample, 4 points for the 629 Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents and 5 points for the 402 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.