Big poll boost for Obama backers

Big poll boost for Obama backers

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    Survey shows him doing better than Hillary against McCain

Until this past week it has been hard assessing the White House chances of Barack Obama, the black Senator from Illinois, because his name has hardly figured in any of the polling.

But that’s all changed following his announcement last week and a massive publicity blitz across the nation promoting his new book. Obama has become a nationally known figure almost overnight and he is clearly making an impact.

The first poll compares his prospects and those of Hillary Clinton against the Republican front-runner, John McCain. The figures are looking good, especially for punters who backed him a week last Monday when he was at 33/1. For the poll shows that America’s only black senator would do better than the former First Lady.

In a survey taken after Obama’s announcement that he was considering running he trailed McCain by 38-41% on the question “Thinking ahead to the next presidential election, if the 2008 general election were held today and the candidates were Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, for whom would you vote?”

When the same question was asked with Hillary Clinton as the Democrats the New York Senator was trailing the Republican by 39-45%.

    So those whose knee-jerk reaction was that America was not ready for a black President might not be right. For although Obama has benefited from the huge publicity boost to be doing better than Hillary is an achievement.

I remain of the view that these will be the two who will be competing for the nomination. In the betting Hillary is the 11/8 favourite to win the 2008 White House race over McCain at 5/1 with Barack at 12/1. Just for the Democratic nomination Hillary is at 1.32/1 with Obama now the 8/1 second favourite. At that price the Illinois Senator looks like a good value bet.

Mike Smithson

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