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Behind the Numbers
Posted at 01:54 PM ET, 02/22/2008

Satisfying the Democratic Electorate

They try, and they try, but can Democratic voters get any satisfaction?

More than seven in 10 likely voters in the Ohio and Texas Democratic primaries said they'd be satisfied with each of the remaining candidates as the party's nominee, according to new Washington Post-ABC News state polls.

About four in 10 would be "very" satisfied with Hillary Clinton in each state, and about the same proportions expressed that level of satisfaction with Barack Obama.

The findings mirror recent exit poll results showing widespread satisfaction among the Democratic electorate with both candidates, though, naturally, Clinton and Obama each do slightly better than the other in states they win.

In Wisconsin, for example, 68 percent said they would be "very" or "somewhat" satisfied should Clinton become the Democratic party's nominee, but more, 82 percent, felt the same about Obama, who prevailed in the Badger State by 17 percentage points.

But behind this widespread satisfaction, there are big differences between the two in some groups whose turnout could be crucial in a close general election contest.

Independents in both states are less likely to say they would be "very satisfied" with Clinton than with Obama as the Democratic standard-bearer. In Ohio, 43 percent of independents would be very satisfied with Obama; 31 percent would be that happy with Clinton. In Texas, the satisfaction gap among independents was 15 percent.

But there is also a significant drop-off in the proportion of white women who would very satisfied with Obama as the nominee. In Texas, 47 percent of white women said they would be very satisfied with Clinton, while a third would be that satisfied with Obama. In Ohio, a majority of white women, 54 percent, said they'd be very satisfied with Clinton, but only 25 percent said they would be that satisfied with Obama.

Among African Americans, the differences are even larger. In Texas, just 26 percent would be very satisfied if Clinton wins the nomination, but 75 percent said they would feel that strongly should Obama win. There's an even larger gap among African Americans in Ohio: 20 percent would be very satisfied with Clinton, about four times as many with Obama.

Will the Democrats' record turnout performances of this primary season continue in November regardless of the nominee? Either candidate's progress within these groups between now and March 4 could be an early indicator.

Full data from the Post-ABC polls of likely Democratic primary voters in Ohio and Texas can be found here.

By Jennifer Agiesta  |  01:54 PM ET, 02/22/2008

Categories:  Post Polls

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