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Poll: Clinton closing gap in N.C.

Hillary Clinton is gaining ground on Barack Obama in North Carolina, according to poll results just released by Public Policy Polling.

PPP surveyed 521 likely Democratic primary voters on March 17. Obama was the choice of 44 percent of those surveyed, while Clinton was the favorite of 43 percent. 13 percent were undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

Obama led by 4 percentage points in a similar poll by PPP two weeks ago.

"Some folks in the national media have been treating North Carolina as if winning it is a given for Barack Obama," said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. "The reality is that the state is pretty close, and either candidate could emerge with a victory."

The poll found that Obama enjoys a lead among unaffiliated voters (53 percent to 35 percent for Clinton), men (47-41 percent) and black voters (72-19 percent).

Clinton leads among registered Democrats (44-43), among women (44-42 percent) and among white voters (56-30 percent).


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Re: Poll: Clinton closing gap in N.C.

Anytime you get two candidates polling above the 40 per cent range, you've got a warmly contested race in progress, but especially these numbers should refute any naysayers' claims as to the irrelevance of the North Carolina presidential primary.

And then the prospective voters can only indicate views on the race based on what they are able to learn from the candidates and from the ongoing debate over the issues. So "wouldn't it be loverly," as the song from "My Fair Lady" goes, if the press could just get into covering this North Carolina primary without stopping between Raleigh and Durham to take a poll one day and between Greensboro and Winston-Salem to take another poll the next?

Oh, go ahead and continue polling, but let's get back to the basics of campaign journalism. And the national media is even worse when it comes to clinging to polls rather than covering speeches by the candidates and talking to the voters. I can remember a time when editorial pages would criticize candidates for listening out too much for the latest polls. Now we have strong, independent-minded candidates willing to speak frankly about the issues, but too often the press is just asking their reaction to the latest polls in each location where they are out meeting the voters and discussing the issues. Therefore we need good news coverage about what the candidates are saying and doing out on the campaign trail.

Paraphrasing Don Schlitz' song, "The Gambler," sung by Kenny Rogers, there'll be plenty of time for counting the votes when the campaigning is done.

David McKnight

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