Jenifer Rubin notes a number of polls showing Barack Obama doing worse than Hillary Clinton in head-to-head macthups against John McCain and revealing a sharp decline in those who think Obama is more electable, or most likely to win the nomination. But what Rubin leaves unmentioned is a far more disturbing number for Obama, a new Insider Advantage poll showing him trailing in North Carolina based on a decline in support among whites older thn 45. While he’s only down by 2 points, in the same poll two weeks earlier, Obama was up 15. This is part of a larger trend of Clinton narrowing the gap in the state. North Carolina was supposed to be a firewall state for Obama–the place where he blows out Clinton, regains his mojo, puts the popular vote further out of reach, restores some or all of the delegate margin he lost in Pennsylvania, and shifts the narrative back to Clinton being virtually mathmatically eliminated. But if he were to lose Indiana and win North Carolina just narrowly, it would really cement doubts about his canidacy. And if somehow he manages to lose in both states, he could actually see ths nomination slip away.
UPDATE: John Hood notes, “I wouldn’t get carried away with that two-point Clinton edge in the SPR [Insider Advantage] poll, because a look at the crosstabs reveals only a 64-20 percent preference for Obama among black voters. Not credible. Still, the race has clearly tightened considerably in the past few days.”