As an Obama supporter, I have mixed feelings about the calls from people like Leahy and Dodd and other Obama supporters for Clinton to get out of the race. Clinton sometimes seems to do better when voters believe she is being bullied or dismissed or mistreated by the other candidates or the press (think New Hampshire), and she is of course going to exploit that (thus the strategic leak to the Times that she has told people she is being “bullied out” by the “big boys”). So having Obama supporters, with an assist from the pundit class, urging her to go away might increase her chances of winning in places like Pennsylvania and Indiana, and thus have the effect of prolonging the race rather than shortening it. (Obama seems as if he may have similar fears, which would explain why he changed his own tune somewhat by saying she should stay in the race, after his line the day before about the campaign being like a movie that goes on too long.)
Of course, it’s possible that the calls for her to drop out, and the press’s sudden discovery that she has very little chance of winning, will cause more voters to flock to Obama than to support Clinton — most want to vote for a winner, after all. And if the trend shown in the national Gallup poll is meaningful, then it looks like the “sympathy support” for Clinton may be outweighed by the desire to go with the perceived leader (or perhaps outweighed by dwindling respect for the Clinton campaign). Gallup says his lead is the largest he’s had this year, which I assume means it is the largest lead he has ever had:
This is a nationwide poll, so it doesn’t tell us
anything a lot about what voters in the states still at play are thinking, but there are signs that things are tightening a bit in PA and that Obama has fully recovered from what may have been a Wright-related dip in North Carolina. In the (almost meaningless!) Gallup general election polls, he still trails McCain by a few points, as he has since mid-March (Clinton also trails McCain, by a point or two more than Obama).