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Post-IN/NC, Democrats Still OK With Continuing Campaign

Majority of Democrats favor Obama selecting Clinton as running mate

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows that 55% of Democrats say both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama should continue campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, while 35% say Clinton should drop out.

The new poll that included the update on this question was conducted May 8-11, after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries and amid much discussion in the news media about the inevitability of Obama being the nominee, given his current delegate and popular-vote count.

Compared to a May 1-3 poll conducted prior to last week's primaries, there has been a rise in the percentage of Democrats who say Clinton should drop out, and a drop in the already-small percentage who say Obama should drop out. Still, the overall structure of Democratic views has remained the same, with a majority in both of the May polls willing to sanction a continuation of the campaign.

There is -- not surprisingly -- a major difference in views on this issue between supporters of the two candidates. Three-quarters of Clinton supporters say she should stay in the race and that the campaign should continue (and only 14% say Obama should drop out). Six out of 10 Obama supporters, on the other hand, say Clinton should drop out, although this still leaves 39% who favor a continuation of the campaign.

On the issue of whether Obama, if he wins the nomination, should choose Clinton as his running mate, a slight majority of Democrats say "yes."

Fifty-five percent of Democrats say this would be a good idea, compared to 38% who think Obama should choose someone else.

There are again big differences in views on this issue between Obama supporters and Clinton supporters.

Clinton supporters appear enthusiastic about the idea of such an Obama-Clinton "dream ticket," with 73% saying they favor the idea. Just 19% of her supporters reject it.

Obama supporters, on the other hand, are much less enthusiastic -- although a sizable 43% say they would favor it, while 52% say they would not.

Bottom Line

Despite the sense of inevitability that has settled over the assumption that Obama will be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee, and the discussion of the possible negative implications of Clinton's continuing campaign, a slight majority of Democrats continue to say both candidates should keep campaigning. About a third -- most of them Obama supporters -- say Clinton should drop out.

There is also strong support among Clinton supporters for her to be chosen as Obama's running mate, should he win the nomination. The data show that Obama supporters at the moment tend to reject that idea, but their opposition is not overwhelming.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,017 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted May 8-11, 2008. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 537 Democrats or Democratic leaners, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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