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McCain within 3 of Clinton in California, Connecticut [UPDATED]

Once or twice a day, I’ll do a quick scan through Google News to see if I can find any polls that haven’t yet been picked up in the mainstream media. (BTW, for the true addicts out there, this time of night can be good to get “BREAKING” news, since this is about when many morning newspapers publish their online editions).

My search a few moments ago turned up a new PPIC poll in California (PDF), which shows McCain within 3 points of Hillary Clinton, and 9 of Barack Obama in the state.

Is Hillary likely to lose California? Not in a competitive election; Hillary is still 92% to win the state even after this poll is included, and for all its electoral votes, California does not yet show up on her Swing State list.

Still, there are some troublesome internals in here for Clinton, most notably her favorability ratings: 45 favorable, 52 unfavorable. Obama, by contrast, is 61/34 (McCain is 49/45). This from a solid, nonprofit pollster that has been polling its state for many years, and over a particularly large sample (2,002 respondents).

That means Hillary has something of a ceiling in California. On the other hand, it should not be too hard for her to reach her ceiling if she has any success at all in tying John McCain to George W. Bush, who is ridiculously unpopular in the state (just 57 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of independents approve of his performance).

UPDATE: McCain is also within three points in Connecticut, according to a new poll from Quinnipiac. Obama is ahead by 17. Also, as in California, Clinton’s unfavorables beat her favorables (47-46). Connecticut has a relatively high number of independents (33% of the electorate in 2004, as opposed to 27% in California) and I find it more plausible that McCain could compete there than in Cali.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.