Hillary Clinton (49 percent) leads Barack Obama (43 percent) among likely Indiana Democratic voters, according to a poll released today by Suffolk University.

 Six percent of Democratic voters were undecided, and 2 percent refused a response. However, 38 percent of these likely Democratic voters -- which include registered Democrats, Republicans, members of other political parties and independents -- said they would vote for John McCain in November if their Democratic choice does not win the party's nomination.

 "It's no slam-dunk, but Hillary Clinton is poised to win the Hoosier state, provided there aren't some critical turnovers late," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center. "Although the margin appears to be single digits at this point, the outcome will hinge on high turnouts in Marion and Lake counties, which are crucial for Obama."

Obama favorable rate higher


Despite Clinton's lead, Obama was seen as more popular (58 percent favorable - 29 percent unfavorable) than Clinton (53 percent favorable - 36 percent unfavorable). In addition, slightly more voters said that Obama (35 percent) would be the next president, compared to 28 percent for Clinton and 25 percent for McCain.

Only 44 percent of Indiana Democratic Primary voters said that, if their choice lost the Democratic nomination, they would still vote Democratic. A considerably high 38 percent indicated they would vote for McCain, while 6 percent said they would vote for independent Ralph Nader, and an additional 11 percent were undecided.

"Republican meddling"

       

"This 38 percent is one of several statistical signs that Republicans are meddling in the Democratic fray, knowing full well they will vote Republican come November," said Paleologos.

Economy a key issue

  A majority (54 percent) cited the economy as the most important issue facing the country, followed by the war in Iraq (21 percent) and health care (12 percent).

In other Suffolk University findings, a plurality of Democratic Primary voters (48 percent) said they favored making the president's tax cuts permanent, while only 33 percent opposed. Seventy percent of respondents rejected tax increases to help close the budget deficit gap, while 23 percent supported them.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for governor, Jill Long Thompson (35 percent) led Jim Schellinger (27 percent). Meanwhile, a whopping 36 percent still have not made a choice, suggesting that some of these undecided voters will vote Republican for governor come November.

Methodology

The Suffolk University poll was conducted May 3 and May 4, 2008. The margin of error on the statewide survey of 600 is +/- 4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the statewide survey were likely Democratic Primary voters in the May 6 Indiana Democratic Presidential Primary. Marginals and cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site on May 5. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

Suffolk University has selected a bellwether area in Indiana to call on the evenings of May 4 and May 5 as an added predictor module for possible election outcomes. This data will be posted May 6.