POLL: Clinton Up in Ohio, Dead Heat in Texas

New poll finds Obama leading on electability in critical March 4 primaries.

ByABC News
February 21, 2008, 2:08 PM

Feb. 21, 2008— -- Trailing in perceived electability, Hillary Clinton is running in a dead heat with Barack Obama in the Texas Democratic primary and holds a single-digit lead in Ohio, lifted there by lunch-bucket voters and party regulars.

Both March 4 primaries have been described as critical for Clinton, who's lost 10 straight contests, including Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.

Differing demographic and political profiles in Texas and Ohio change pieces of the puzzle but both contests look close, with more than enough moveable voters to tip the balance either way.

With about two weeks until the primary, this ABC News/Washington Post poll finds a 48-47 percent Clinton-Obama race among likely voters in Texas, and 50-43 percent in Ohio.

A quarter in Texas, and a third in Ohio, say they could change their minds or are undecided.

In Texas, Clinton's being kept competitive by support from Hispanics; she likely needs them to turn out in greater-than-usual numbers, as they did in California, which she won Feb. 5.

In Ohio she's benefiting from a greater number of Democratic Party regulars than in Texas, from fewer college-educated or higher-income voters and from support in some union households.

In both states, senior citizens are crucial to Clinton's side; independents and younger voters, to Obama's. And he's taken a lead over Clinton on electability, a point he may try to drive home, along with his mantle of "change," in the days ahead.

Obama beats Clinton in the perception that he's got the best chance of winning in November by 47-36 percent in Texas and 48-37 percent in Ohio.

He trounced Clinton as more electable in Wisconsin; he's also made broad strides on electability in national ABC/Post polling, moving up from a 43-point deficit in mid-December to just 5 points earlier this month.