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Would Obama win the California primary today?

I haven’t had a chance to blog about this, but to add to Ben Smith‘s critique of Charles Krauthammer‘s assertion that Hillary Clinton has finally learned how to run the right kind of campaign–

Clinton has begun to run to Obama’s right as the primary calendar has shifted to more Republican-leaning states. That’s classic Clintonism and, for my money, pretty good politicking.

But how do you think the gas tax holiday would have gone over in California?

The correct answer is: “like a lead balloon”. A SurveyUSA poll shows that, if the California primary were held today, Obama would have won it by 6 points. Meanwhile, a Monmouth/Gannett poll released two weeks ago suggests that if the New Jersey primary were held today, Obama would have won that one by 7 points.

The bottom line is that the overall trend in the Obama-Clinton race has been essentially unchanged for months now. Obama was harmed for two periods of about ten days at a time when the Jeremiah Wright story loomed largest over him. And he may be getting a mini-bounce now after North Carolina and Indiana. But basically, it’s been Obama +5, give or take some noise, for a long while.

What that means is that if Clinton is gaining ground in certain areas, she is necessarily losing ground in others. Perhaps Clinton would have won a Missouri primary today; I suspect that she probably would. But she might have been vulnerable in states like California, New Jersey, and perhaps New Hampshire.

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