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Week in Preview: PA Primary Edition

The wait is almost over.

After six weeks without a primary or caucus in the Democratic presidential race, Pennsylvania voters will head to the polls tomorrow to choose between Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The pressure is clearly on Clinton to again stave off elimination with a win. Can she remake the magic that brought her back from the brink in New Hampshire in January and then again in Ohio and Texas in March?

Polling suggests Clinton retains a mid-single digit lead over Obama, a significantly narrower margin compared to six weeks ago. As we've written before, if Clinton wins, her margin of victory will matter a great deal.

Practically, a three to five point win would only produce a small gain for Clinton among pledged delegates and would not allow her to make up significant ground in the popular vote deficit. Further, a narrow win would not provide significant momentum heading into Indiana and North Carolina.

All is not lost for Clinton, however, as a look at polling conducted in the runup to a series of states that voted earlier in the year seems to suggest that surveys underestimate support for the New York Senator. Polls in California and Ohio in advance of those states' votes showed Clinton and Obama running neck and neck, but she claimed solid margins in each. Her campaign has to hope the same pattern holds true in Pennsylvania tomorrow.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 21, 2008; 11:28 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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