wright3.jpgMore evidence that the Wright controversy is pulling down Barack Obama’s poll numbers: the Gallup daily tracking poll now shows Hillary ahead for the first time in a month:

Obama’s campaign has been plagued by controversial remarks made by his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Obama delivered a major speech on race Tuesday to try to move beyond the controversy. The initial indications are that the speech has not halted Clinton’s gaining momentum, as she led by a similar margin in Tuesday night’s polling as compared to Monday night’s polling.

A new memo from chief Hillary Clinton strategist Mark Penn crows about a whole batch of new polls that have the New York senator nosing ahead of Obama. The memo declines to mention the Wright flap as the reason for the shift, but you can read through Penn’s lines:

The more that the voters learn about Barack Obama, the more his ability to beat John McCain is declining compared to Hillary. For a long time we have explained that poll numbers for a candidate who has not yet been vetted or tested are not firm numbers, and we are beginning to see that clearly. Just a month ago, the Obama campaign claimed that the polls showed Barack Obama doing better than Hillary against Sen. McCain. Now such numbers are a lot harder to find.

The Clinton camp obviously feels the Wright controversy is evidence of Obama’s under-vettedness. The public might be agreeing. These polls provide a snapshot of a very tough week for Obama, however. The results of next week’s polls–and the question of whether the news media continue to rely on Wright to fill hours of daily airtime–will give a better read on long-term damage. For now, though, the Wright episode appears to have given Clinton a major advantage in the state that matters most: Pennsylvania. From Penn’s memo:

And in the crucial state of Pennsylvania – the next Democratic primary battleground and the biggest state which has not yet voted – the latest Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary doubling her Democratic primary lead over Barack Obama from 6 points to 12 points. In Pennsylvania, Hillary improved among men, maintained her 24 point advantage among women, and improved among younger, older, more educated and less educated voters. She leads in every region across the state (NE, SE, NW, SW, Central, Alleghany) with the exception of Philadelphia.


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