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Sunday, July 8, 2007

On Polls

Poll Palsies


Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

June 29, 2007 — Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was the runaway winner over the race’s lone black candidate in the Democratic debate, according to groups of African-American voters in Harlem and Washington, D.C.

In the nation’s capital, 33 undecided voters who identified themselves as people of color and who supported John Kerry in 2004 scored last night’s face-off an overwhelming victory for Clinton.

Twenty-seven participants gave the former first lady the nod, compared to just two who went with Barack Obama.

The voters, gathered in a focus group with GOP pollster Frank Luntz on the Howard University campus outside the debate hall, each evaluated the candidates with a “dial machine” linked to a computer - turning the knobs to the right to 100 for great answers, or to the left to 0 for bombs.

Clinton scored consistently in the 80s, while Luntz’s panelists panned Obama as flat.

Even though the participants preferred Clinton, they went gaga over Obama when he ducked into their viewing room after the debate - whipping out camera phones and posing for photos - with one woman shouting, “We’ll see you in the White House.”

“That’s the idea,” he responded.

The Harlem panel, organized by The Post, had a more mixed response but still leaned to Clinton.

Of 18 voters - eight of whom were truly undecided - six thought Clinton won, two people gave candidate John Edwards the edge, and one gave Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd a nod.

Just one viewer thought Obama won, while eight others picked one of the other of the eight candidates on stage.

“I would have liked to have heard [Obama] give more of [Clinton’s] answers,” said Ernestine Roach, a 66-year-old Harlem denizen who works for the Sanitation Department.

Thomas Donaldson, a 41-year-old lawyer supporting Obama, said, “I think [Hillary] spoke forcefully and with conviction . . . I don’t think it’s a measure of his candidacy. I just think she’s a better performer.”

But Corwin Breeden, 43 - the lone vote for Obama as the debate winner - disagreed, saying, “I think he answered the questions appropriately, and he understands the significance of what black people stand for in this election.”