Since I started blogging three years ago, I’ve said Michael Barone is one of the best election analysts out there. Here he is today at Townhall.com:
Is the bottom falling out for Barack Obama? It's too early to say that, but there are some disturbing signs.The rest of Barone’s analysis is here.
On the positive side, superdelegates still are breaking his way. Rep. Baron Hill, whose southern Indiana district almost certainly will vote for Hillary Clinton, came out for Obama. So did fellow Hoosier Joe Andrew, who previously endorsed Clinton and who was named Democratic national chairman by Bill Clinton in the 1990s. (James Carville may have another name for him.)
Obama is still well ahead among delegates chosen in primaries and caucuses, and he is not very far behind in superdelegates, either.
But what about the voters?
Here there are some ominous signs. The latest Fox News poll, conducted after the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's appearance at the National Press Club, showed Obama's favorable/unfavorables at 63 to 27 percent among Democrats, compared to Hillary Clinton's 73 to 22 percent. Suddenly she's not the only one with high negatives.
And 36 percent of Democrats say they would be disinclined to vote for Obama because of his longtime relationship with his former pastor.
There's more bad news in The Pew Research Center poll of Democrats. Obama's national lead among Democrats is down from 49 to 39 percent to a statistically insignificant 47 to 45 percent.
These results are not outliers.
The Rasmussen tracking poll showed Obama leading Clinton 49 to 41 percent before Wright spoke to the National Press Club. Afterward the numbers were 46 to 44 percent in favor of Clinton.
The Gallup Poll had Obama leading Clinton 50 to 41 percent the night before the Pennsylvania primary. The results reported May 1 were Clinton 49 percent, Obama 45 percent.
Obama's standing as a general election candidate also seems to have taken a hit. …
Folks, when I looked at these polls results, I thought about three questions pollsters may be asking and may even have reported on, but which I’ve not seen reported on anywhere. Yet I think they're on people’s mind and are very important.
1) - - - Has Sen. Obama explained to your satisfaction how he could be a member of Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years, develop a close friendship with him, ask him to officiate at his wedding, and bring his children to Wright’s church for religious instruction, and not know Wright's been saying for years what he said at the National Press Club, including that America’s government deliberately spread the HIV/AIDs virus?
2) - - - Do you think asking Question #1 above is a sign the person asking it is racist, or at least influenced by racist considerations?
3) - - - Do you believe Sen. Obama is a “post-racial” candidate?