Exclusive poll breaks down presidential race

February 18, 2008 9:12:33 PM PST
We have the results of an exclusive Texas poll detailing the candidates who want to be your next president. Who's ahead? And which race is too close to call? Early voting gets underway Tuesday, and we begin with information you won't see anywhere else. Our exclusive Eyewitness News tracking poll, conducted by Survey USA, shows John McCain leading on the Republican side. Of the 500+ surveyed, half would vote for McCain, and 37 percent gave Mike Huckabee the thumbs up. For the Democrats, 50 percent of those surveyed would vote for Hillary Clinton, 45 percent for Barack Obama, but factor in the margin of error, and that makes this race statistically too close to call.

Our exclusive poll shows that Obama is closing the gap and shows Hispanic vote will be the key to Hillary Clinton's victory or defeat. If Hispanic voters show up, our poll predicts she wins.

Hillary Clinton's team isn't waiting for election day. They want to lock in their early support. Two weeks away from election day, the Clinton campaign is all about getting out their vote -- tomorrow. And it makes sense since our exclusive poll shows that if the election were held today, she'd win by 5 points. Her success could be tied directly to the size of the Hispanic vote.

Our poll shows that Clinton still holds a 2 to 1 advantage among Hispanic voters, which is part of the reason Clinton supporter Henry Cisneros helped open the Clinton campaign headquarters today in heavily Hispanic east Houston.

Hillary Clinton's lead assumes Hispanic voters make up 32 percent of primary voters with more Hispanic voters, her lead increases. Fewer, it shrinks.

"If there's a Hillary Clinton voter out there, we want it in the can before election day," said former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.

"And before they change their mind?" we asked.

"I don't think people will change their mind," he said. "We just want it in the can."

"It's very, very important," said KTRK political analyst Dr. Richard Murray. "Statewide, we may have 40 percent of our vote cast early. In California, there were 3 million early voters."

And there are some experts who suggest the early vote was one of the biggest reasons she won the state.

"The advent of early voting really changed the dynamics of the political campaigns and how candidates prepare for elections," said Harris County Clerk Beverly Kaufman.

On Monday afternoon, this first round of Clinton calls was going to people who voted in the last Democratic primary.

Our poll shows registered Democrats favor Clinton by 14 percent. But Clinton supporters have seen polls close as primary days get closer across the country.

"In every one of these elections, in every one of these states, Senator Obama has closed," said Cisneros. "If he's at 5 points now and two weeks to go, that's very tight race."

Political campaigns will start getting lists of early voters Wednesday morning. They'll know how their get out the early vote efforts are working and focus on calling and contacting their supporters who haven't shown up.

Here are some more numbers on our exclusive Survey USA poll. On the Democrats side, 57 percent of male voters say Obama is their choice, and when it comes to females, Clinton is ahead to the tune of 62 percent. Voters 18 to 34 years of age favor Obama and as age goes up, so does Clinton's popularity. Voters 65 years and older say Clinton is their choice over Obama, 67 percent to 28 percent.

When it comes to the Republicans, men favor John McCain, 55 to 31 percent over Mike Huckabee. When the same question was asked to the women, it's a dead heat at 43 percent each. Voters 18 to 34 prefer Huckabee 40 to 37 percent, and 68 percent of voters 65 and older say they would cast their vote for McCain.

You can see more specifics of our exclusive poll here: Demoractic poll results | Republican poll results