Going in to the Pennsylvania primary, the Real Clear Politics average of Pennsylvania polls showed that Pennsylvania voters preferred Hillary to St. Barack of Obama by about 6.1 points. Most of the polling data put Hillary's lead from between three and seven points.
Yesterday, Hillary substantially outperformed these predictions: as of this morning, it appears that she defeated Obama by about ten percentage points in terms of total votes cast. When Florida and Michigan are factored in, Mrs. Clinton may well lead Obama in terms of total votes cast -- which considerably improves her chances of getting superdelegates to dump St. Barack.
But lets go back to the polling. Of the polls taken in Pennsylvania just prior to the election, only the Zogby poll of 675 likely voters (taken on 20-21 April) was close to being accurate -- nailing the actual results almost dead on. What's going on ?
Blogging Caesar gave us a possible explanation yesterday, warning us that the "Bradley Effect" would be in play in Pennsylvania. The "Bradley Effect" refers to the possible explanation for a tendency (when there is a white candidate running against a non-white candidate) for the non-white candidate to score below the result predicted in the polling data. This is theorized to occur because, supposedly, white voters lie to the pollsters to avoid being perceived as racists.
Possibly this effect was in play yesterday, but it is equally possible that voters are simply getting to know Barack Obama a little better. The primary process is normally for vetting candidates, but in the process we have seen this year, Obama was practically the Democratic candidate before anybody knew what happened, thanks to much of the big media being convinced that St. Barack was the new Messiah.
Maybe the romance has been too fast to make it easy to close the deal; and Democrats, on the cusp of handing their party over to a total newbie, are having a little buyer's remorse ? The Democrats may now be wondering if St. Barack is the Messiah or McGovern; if he's Jack Kennedy, or Adlai Stevenson ? Either way, "Mr. Change We Can Believe In" might be a leap of faith too far.
Whatever. For those of us happily on the outside, it's a time to make up some popcorn and watch the cash get spent. Bash on Democrats.