Thursday, February 14, 2008

On Wisconsin

Recent primaries featured states that overrepresented Obama's constituency--African-Americans and elite (high income, high education) whites. His victories were still impressive in their size, yet isn't it a bit odd that the Democrats seem ready to pick their winner in what amounts to a 50-50 race simply due to who has the most beneficial states coming up?

In other words, if the huge March 4th primaries of Ohio and Texas, where Hillary was leading by wide margins in recent polls (she's got to lead somewhere when national polls show her about even with Obama), had been held on February 4th, would she seem to be the unstoppable front runner? Would voters be moving toward her because they figure it's time to vote for the winner?

Unfortunately for Hillary, March 4th is still pretty far away, and there are states coming up first that could be close but look like Obama victories. He should take North Carolina, though the question is will he be helped by Obamamentum elsewhere? A week ago, Hillary looked to take Rhode Island, but who would bet on her now?

The state to watch is Wisconsin. Obama's expected to win, but if Hillary can stay close, she can then hold on until March 4th, and if she wins (less and less likely), she can claim the people have turned to her. I still suggest she try the "They're saying it's over but you know better" approach.

Because of how the Democrats award delegates, Hillary has little chance of catching up to Obama, but I don't see why that should matter. First, if she can rack up the big victories, they'll only be separated by a small amount, and she can claim the people have turned back to her. (Could the Dems easily turn her away if the most recent contests had her beating him big?) She can also claim if Michigan and Florida had counted, she'd be ahead. The main thing is at this point, no one can get far enough out front to not need the super delegates to make it over the top.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a point (and Mike Huckabee has reached it) when 'they say it's over but you know better" doesn't work anymore because it is over. This is certainly not where Hillary is right now. Still perceptually she is fading fast.

9:42 AM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger LAGuy said...

And that's what fascinates me. Hillary and Obama are the same candidates they were a week or two ago, yet somehow just because one of them has won some primaries, the voters in other states change their minds on which one to vote for.

10:49 AM, February 14, 2008  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

Backing a winner is a time honored tradition in America. But the Democrats are dealing with a unique problem. At this point, if Obama doesn't win the nomination, it will severely depress his supporters - and Independents will probably move toward McCain. But Clinton is the more experienced, battle tested candidate. She has not been able to show her stuff because she agrees with Obama on nearly everything. All she can do is exploit Obama's lack of experience, and you know that will be the primary claim asserted by the Republicans in the full campaign.

11:03 AM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger New England Guy said...

Obama has been crushing Hillary in states where she held a commanding lead less than 2 months ago. He has won a few of her demographics and poking holes in her arguments (about electability). Politics is a good news/bad news business- all we have about Hillary is bad news lately- she got no bumps from her Super Tuesday wins because Obama won many states at the same time. I don't want to get into the momentum controversy but I will say that the perception of momentum probably helps the candidate with recent wins. (Does the perception of momentum create momentum?)

Its weird enough year that maybe Hillary's playing the underdog anti-establishment candidate might work but I think its hard for someone whose campaign was premised on being the organization's inevitable candidate just 8 weeks ago. Appealing to upsetting the talking heads predictions might work too. People I talk to get more of a rise out of thinking they are sticking their finger in the eye of the cable and network loudmouths than in supporting their candidate.

I can't wait to read the books about the lessons from 2008 about the "new realities" of campaigning for President in the instant media era (most of which of course be proven wrong in the next election)

1:00 PM, February 14, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One legitimate way that momentum can help a candidate is for a set of voters who preferred the candidate originally, but tended away from him because of fears he could not be elected. As he seems to sweep people up, that fear recedes and the natural preference may surface.

9:38 PM, February 14, 2008  
Blogger LAGuy said...

Obama's momentum related to his electability may have made some sense at the start, but I'm referring to events since Super Tuesday, when that question had already been answered.

Look at how McCain rose and Giuliani fell. I don't think that had anything to do with electability.

11:51 PM, February 14, 2008  

Post a Comment

<< Home

web page hit counter