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For Clinton, It's the Economy, Stupid

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to give a speech on the economy this morning at the University of Pennsylvania -- the kickoff to a week in which the New York Senator will spotlight the nation's fiscal troubles and her allegedly unique ability to solve them.

It's a sound strategy in a rust-belt state like Pennsylvania, which is set to hold its presidential primary on April 22. In a recent Quinnipiac University poll, that showed Clinton ahead of Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) 53 percent to 41 percent, roughly half of those tested (48 percent) cited the economy as the most important issue to them. The war in Iraq (23 percent) and health care (18 percent) lagged in importance in voters' minds.

A look back at Clinton's major triumphs in this campaign makes it clear that nearly every win was based on scoring a significant victory over Obama among voters calling the economy the most pressing issue.

In Ohio, nearly six in ten voters in the Democratic primary said the economy was the number one issue facing the country, and that group went for Clinton 55 percent to 43 percent, according to exit polling.

The same held true for Clinton victories in Arizona, where 49 percent of the electorate called economy the most important issue; he won that bloc by 16 points. In California 46 percent named the economy as the top issue. The Golden State went for Clinton 55 percent to 39 percent. (Former North Carolina senator John Edwards took six percent in Arizona and four percent in California.)

The lone exception to Clinton's "it's the economy stupid" dominance was Texas, where half of all Democratic voters said the economy was the most critical issues facing the country but Clinton and Obama split those folks right down the middle -- 50 percent to 50 percent. Clinton's vast margins among Latinos allowed her to win the Lone Star state's primary, although Obama's organizational prowess carried him to a win the caucuses that followed.

By Chris Cillizza  |  March 24, 2008; 10:48 AM ET
Categories:  FixCam  
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