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Opinion: A Florida revote might not be a slam dunk for Hillary Clinton

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As the Democratic imbroglio continues over what to do about the out-of-bounds Michigan and Florida primaries, a recent poll offers a reminder of how tantalizing a true, fully engaged face-off between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in those two states would be.

The survey, sponsored in part by the St. Petersburg Times, asked Floridians a number of questions -- some strictly local -- on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. But the one that caught our interest focused on the two Democratic presidential candidates. It found Clinton ahead, with 46%, but Obama within shouting distance, at 37%.

Even more intriguing, 16% said they were undecided -- meaning an aggressive, persuasive campaign could make all the difference in determining a victor.

Also, the figures represent slippage for Clinton since she won Florida’s Jan. 29 primary -- the one the Democratic National Committee ruled wouldn’t count and the one that, as a result, proceeded without the candidates actually pitching for support. In that contest, Clinton received 50% of the vote, compared with 33% for Obama and 14% for John Edwards (still an active candidate at the time).

Michigan’s unsanctioned primary, held two weeks before Florida’s, was even more problematic. As most no doubt recall, Obama and Edwards -- to show their solidarity with the DNC -- asked that their names be removed from the ballot. Clinton kept hers on, and we remember being struck at the time that the 55% she won in the vote didn’t seem particularly impressive under the circumstances (‘uncommitted’ voters tallied 40%).

All the more reason to think that, as in Florida, a real Clinton/Obama race in Michigan would be worth the price of admission (or, more to the point, whatever it costs to make it happen).

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For the latest on the impasse surrounding the two state, see here.

-- Don Frederick


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