WASHINGTON -- As the March 4th primaries near and new polls help give campaigns a better view of the electoral landscape, new strategies begin to emerge. For weeks now, Hillary Clinton and her staff have been pointing reporters to the importance of Ohio and Texas, so much so that a senior source once called Texas "the big one" and her husband said that she must win both to stay alive.
But new polls are now showing Clinton in a dead heat with Barack Obama in the Lone Star State.
"Texas is a very diverse state and both candidates have groups of voters that have been turning out for them," said a source close to the campaign who downplayed recent polls showing a tight race there.
"Texas is a notoriously difficult state to poll because of its diversity."
The campaign source compared the polls in Texas to polls in California that showed Clinton losing that state – she later won California by double-digits.
Texas has always been viewed by the campaign as a state with all the right demographics for Clinton, a large Hispanic population and a large female voting base. But despite the large number of Hispanic and female voters there, Clinton finds herself at a disadvantage in key areas of Texas like Houston and Dallas; areas that tend to have higher African-American populations and may weigh more due to the delegate allocation method that will be used next week.
However, new national polls show Clinton with a strong lead in Ohio and her campaign feels that her economic message has been resonating with voters, primarily because Ohio is a state with a large working class base, many of whom lost jobs in recent years as the economy began taking a turn for the worse.
So why would a win in Ohio mean more than a win in Texas? Because the next big contest is Pennsylvania on April 22, a state that has very similar demographics as Ohio.
"It's correct to say that the demographics are similar in Ohio than Pennsylvania," the campaign source pointed out. "We know Ohio is huge. The Democratic nominee has to win Ohio, or we don't win the White House."
It's no surprise that the campaign is looking beyond Texas and Ohio, but in all reality she most likely will have to win in both states for Clinton to make it to Pennsylvania.