firstly the question is why are you using in your example, if you only want one space between words then you use the space bar.
The problem arises when you require more than one space between words, as markup ignores the spacing in the source code when rendered, unless wrapped in a <pre> tag.
Our old graphic designer used to create an underlined hyperlink that had a huge preceeding blank space before the hyperlinked words. It didn't seem to affect our ranking.
Though I didn't like its use, so recoded it using CSS.
It's not good to use tables for layout, in the same way it's not good to use spaces to line things up.
The one place an is really needed is ...
<div class="clear"> </div>
When you want a blank div to clear all floated elements, just putting a space between the div tags doesn't seem to be seen as having content in some browsers and the height atribute for example is ignored until you place the escape coded space character!