Friday, April 25, 2008

Short Attention Span Musing - Presidential Campaigns Edition

...One of the arguments that the Clinton campaign is using to try to persuade the Democratic Party's superdelegates that Senator Clinton is the better candidate is that she has won the primaries in important general election swing states and that if Senator Obama can't win in the primaries there, he won't win in the general election there either.

A bit of research shows that race for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination was not as tight as this year's race (that one was pretty much over after Super Tuesday), but in spite of that, there were 11 primaries/caucuses that weren't won by Bill Clinton -

New Hampshire
Rhode Island
South Dakota

Using the current logic, that must mean that he didn't win those states in the general election, right??

Not so right - he won 9 of those 11 states, the exceptions being Arizona and South Dakota.

Something tells me that isn't a statistic that the Clinton campaign is bringing up to anyone.

The simple fact is that a candidate's primary performance in a given state isn't much of an indicator of his/her general election performance in that same state.

...Other statistics that probably aren't getting brought up by the Clinton campaign is the likely negative down ballot effect of Clinton at the top of the ticket.

From the Kos diary entry (by Kos himself) on the subject of Obama and Clinton in head-to-head matchups against McCain (thanks for the heads-up go out to Lauren!) -

Obama even makes a difference in the "blowout" states, like McCain's home of Arizona.

Rasmussen. 4/15. Likely voters. MoE 4.5% (No trend lines)

McCain (R) 57
Obama (D) 37

McCain (R) 60
Clinton (D) 32

"But", say the Clinton apologists, "what does it matter if we lose by 28 points or just 20? A loss is a loss!" It matters to the two House Democratic freshman running tough reelection campaigns this year (Mitchell in AZ-05 and Giffords in AZ-08). It matters to the Democrats running in our two targeted races in AZ-01 (Renzi's old seat) and AZ-03 (Shadegg's seat). The smaller the margin at the top of the ticket, the fewer ticket splitters they need to win their races.

There's also the legislative races to consider - with McCain topping the Republican ticket, it's going to be tough enough to maintain status quo in the lege, much less gain ground or even win a majority in one or both chambers of the lege. At least with Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket, a lot of the new voters that Obama has brought to the table will stay engaged; if he doesn't head the ticket, particularly if it appears that he lost the nomination unfairly, most of them will stay on the sidelines come the general election.

...John McCain, while pretending to take the high road, sent out an email after the Pennsylvania primary that tried to make a case that Hillary Clinton is the stronger Democratic candidate. Perhaps he hasn't played the race card here, but he did play the class and religion cards in playing up Sen. Clinton's strengths.

I think (I'm really not sure here) that his intended implication to his supporters is that he, McCain, will win with the particular demographic groups come November if Obama wins the Democratic nomination.

From the email, sent out under the name of campaign manager Rick Davis (which I can't link to, but will be happy to forward upon request) -

Subject: Strategy Memo: Democratic Primary Results


Hillary Clinton cleaned up with Union households - like she did in Ohio.


Clinton did better than Obama with lower income voters.


Clinton won Catholic voters.


Clinton won Jewish voters.



I suppose McCain could win Union voters if they aren't paying attention to his actual voting record and his economic policies (I think Reagan did, though McCain is no Reagan), but lower income workers? That's asking a *lot* of people to ignore McCain's record.

...Perhaps the McCain campaign really *does* consider Senator Clinton to be the stronger opponent (really!), but the rest of his party isn't on board with that. They're attacking him all over the country.

From the New York Times -

G.O.P. Now Sees Obama as Liability for Ticket

Senator Barack Obama is starring in a growing number of campaign commercials, but the latest batch is being underwritten by Republicans.

In a sign that the racial, class and values issues simmering in the presidential campaign could spread into the larger political arena, Republican groups are turning recent bumps in Mr. Obama’s road — notably his comment that small-town Americans “cling” to guns and religion out of bitterness and a fiery speech by his former minister in which he condemned the United States — into attacks against Democrats down the ticket.

...On a much lighter note, check out the YouTube video of Senator Obama's post-results speech on Tuesday.

Note the three guys in the 2nd row, directly behind the Senator, and ask yourself -

How much did Abercrombie and Fitch pay them for their ability to get A&F logos such prominent placement?

I mean, there's no way that three people in the middle of a throng of campaign workers and supporters stood next to each other, in the one spot most likely to be constantly on camera, all while prominently wearing the same mall-trendy overpriced t-shirt brand, and it was all just coincidence?

Expect the Obama campaign's event staffers to scotch similar moves in the future.

Have a good weekend!

1 comment:

tempe turley said...

You make some really good points here. While I have been an Obama supporter for a long time (I'm one of those independent voters who registered Democrat just to vote for Obama), I haven't thought of the effects the top of the ticket has the the races down the line. Thanks for making the point.

Hillary is definitely playing unfair, and Obama has trouble countering effectively considering he's trying to run a new kind of campaign that is more issues driven than not. I hope most people see through it. Thanks for a well thought out post.