Hope for Obama on February 5

primary_polls.bmp Over at the Economist‘s Democracy in America blog (no, not these guys), they point out that Obama tends to outperform polling pretty substantially. Check out their chart at right. In four of five states where the Democrats have held primaries—including Florida, where Obama didn’t campaign—Obama’s actual results have beaten the polls by 6, 12, 13 and 10 percentage points.

That means he could seriously surprise people in the February 5 states where polling shows him within striking distance: Alabama (-10), Kansas (-5), and New Mexico (-7). That said, the polling in the February 5 states has been very spotty. The most recent Rasmussen poll out of California has Obama trailing Clinton by just three, while the most recent CNN poll has him getting walloped by 17. That’s a phenomenon you see in Connecticut, Arizona, Colorado, and a number of other places. But here’s one thing you can take to the bank: when polls are averaged, which they are at pollster.com, Clinton has huge leads just about everywhere.