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Maybe Obama is just a good politician? Maybe he's good at winning the votes he needs to earn the Democratic nomination?

He probably could have won the Latino vote in California at the time, but it would have cost too much, taken too much groundwork away from the states he was working on elsewhere. Obama's team has so far managed to balance the costs of campaigning against the gains he needs to become President. There is no magic line that stops him from getting any one group's votes.

Posted by elenchos | February 12, 2008 9:10 PM

"Looks like Catholic voters are still an Obama weakness, but there’s some movement in his direction. "

did you look at those numbers? how can you say he's weak at all with catholics? he's doing better than HRC -- either he's got the catholics, and she's a little behind. Or the difference is big: When she stomps him, she wins by 11 points. When he stomps her, he wins by 16. Sounds like catholics like him a tad bit more. Or maybe I didn't understand what you meant by weakness?

I went to an all girls catholic high school too, but we didn't have calculus back then.

Posted by idaho | February 12, 2008 9:40 PM

Hey Annie --

Since you're into crunching the numbers, here's something you should take a look at: Hillary's camp continues to float this notion of the popular vote could end up showing she has more vote-votes.

A missing link in this assertion is that the vote totals for caucus states are not individual votes, as they are in primaries.

Ultimately, it's not knowable just how many people voted one way or the other in the caucuses -- but one could take a swag at estimating the ratio of voters to delegates in each state.

My count has Obama up by about 2% -- not including tonight's vote.

Since the popular vote meme is one Clinton is likely to push harder and harder, methinks it'd be great exposure for you to get out front of debunking it.

Posted by oneway | February 12, 2008 9:47 PM

Oh, please. Shut up.

Posted by Mr. Poe | February 12, 2008 10:09 PM

How well does Obama poll among the "sexy nun" demographic?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | February 12, 2008 10:09 PM

This doesn't really break by religion - it's not the Republican vote.

You're just seeing correlations with other things, IMHO, and thinking they're trends.

Posted by Will in Seattle | February 12, 2008 10:29 PM

my gf was a sexy nun for halloween. i love it.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 12, 2008 11:17 PM

thanks for following up.

But the focus on the microtrend you see in Va and MD is a bit off.

You do link to the NYT story but gee, why not focus on the well established macro trend instead of the non-established pro Obaam microtrend ??

The well established macro trend is that Catholic voters which are the largest group of swing voters in US presidential elections and which sided with the winning pressidential candidate in the last 9 presidential elections are with HRC 2:1 over all the states so far.

Wow. This is contrary to the conventional Establishment wisdom tht OBama gets swing voters and thus is more electable.

In other words: The facts show HRC is more electable because she does really well among this, the LARGEST group of swing voters whose swinging has DETERMINED the out come fo the last 9 presidential elections.

Here's how I interpret this shit.
It's not about theological stands. Any Catholic can tell you they/we don't give a shit about most of that crap.
Catholic voters are 25 % of the electorate. Who are these Catholic voters ?
--Archie Bunker conservatives Irish Italian and other "ethnics" whose parents moved up into Queens or the suburbs and who are many of the Reagan Democrats who left the Democratic party over the turbulence of the 1960s.
--Same groups in the upper Midwest, but more Polish types. Think Sipowitz on Hill Street Blues. Culturally similar to NE Archie Bunker types.
--German types including some farmers in the upper midwest. See Kevin Phillips' books. These folks are softspoken, anti Wall Street and corporate elites, distrustful of big governments starting wars that kill their sons and now their daughters, their grandparents fled Germany to not be drafted in the last century, but culturally are not limousine liberals, far from it they believe in thrift and industry and husbandry.
--Latinos -- claro!

The stats you cite from Md. and Va. don't show anything. First of all, we are talking about "cultural Catholics" not those who attend church weekly. Most Catholics DON'T attend Churchat all, don't follow Catholic rules, DO use contraception, and (thanks be to God!) have lots and lots of premarital sex. I hope you would agree with that.

I would suspect the real churchgoers are antiabortion and aren't ever voting Democratic.

Anyway, I suspect Md. is a slightly higher Catholic percentage than average due to history (Lord Baltimore and Lord Calvert and all that) and Va. lower than normal being Southern and all that. Hey, we have google, you can look it up!

has a table of adherents as % of population and I was half wrong: Md. is only 18%, lower than the average of 25% I think the NYT said. And Va. is way down there at 8.6%.

So, Annie, the results in Md. and Va. confirm the overall theory, I would say.
Two States with lower than average Catholic percentages went for Obama.

What else does this table with % Catholic show us?

Well, it confirms the overall theory. The states with over 30 % Catholic populations are NH NY NJ NM MA (MA is 40% !!) all won by HRC. Also in the over-30% group is WI RI PA not yet up, watch out Obama!

And also in the over 30% group is BHO, LA CT and IL. Gee, generalizations are always just generalizations and in this case we see anecdotal explanations for IL (home state) CT an outlyer with the Lamont experience, also ultra rich and educated so pro Obama, and LA (I bet thowse white Catholics down there didn't vote for Obama. Laissez les bon temps roulez but not that much!)

So, in general, with some exceptions, for which there are obvious ready anecdotal explanations, HRC wins the high Catholic states.

Cal is just under 30% and HRC won that, too.

In the 20-30% Catholic band we have Vt TX SD ND NV NE MN MI ME and DC. I suspect here HRC is winning the Latino types and the urban/suburban Archie Bunker and Sipowitz types while BHO is winning the high-plains antiwar German farmer types.

I thought the NYT focus on nuns running big organizations was downright silly and yet another gender-denigrating type story on HRC. I think it's more of a cultural thing where experience and making small economic gains is trusted and those are HRC's strengths. The hope / transcendence / we can all be unified thing is not particularly trusted among the Archie Bunker and Sipowitz types.
My interpretation.

But the main point is this:

1. Catholics are the huge block of swing voters and they determined, the last 9 presidential elections.

2. Why? They are the ones prone to being moved by the typical GOP smear machine attacks. Fucking Kerry WAS Catholic! But these swing voters get scared when told he is a cowardly traitor hippie who threw back his medals. Same with Dukakis, Mondale, McGovern, etc. these voters didn't care that Dukakis was an "urban northern ethnic" just like them he was a card carrying member of the ACLU who let some bad guy out of jail!!!!
These voters are economically prone to voting Democrats (when the Democrats speak economis to them) and culturally prone to being against Democrats if Democrats are defined as liberals who want to give away welfare to people who don't work and who want mayhem in the streets a la 1968, acid amenesty and abortion, or soft on crime.

OR in this year: soft on terrorism.

3. QED HRC is the better choice on electability because she is winning these votes, already, there is data and evidence to show it. They trust her.

There is NO EVIDENCE of any trend to the contrary in Md. or Va. I mean unless you have some polls from those states showing how Catholics voted, but the high level data cited only shows Obama won 2 states with lower-than-average Catholic segments.

Meanwhile, what about overall electability?

We hear a lot about how many states OBama has won but that's not important becuase electoral colelge votes are mainly based on population.

Even after the latest victories for Obama, if you looked at the electoral college weight of all states won by Obama (22 states including DC which should be one for purposes of rep.) and HRC (13 states) the winner is still....

Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It's 205 to 176.

Sources: that NYT state by state map, and where you can click on each state and get a running total of EC points.

Clinton still is ahead if you throw out Florida or MI or if you go ahead and give Obama WI.

If you play the electoral vote game and give Obama every yet to be decided state except TX RI and PA you end up with a nail biter with HRC at 264 and Obama at 274. Puerto Rico (which is not in the electoral colelge game, yet another REAL lack of representation that dwarfs this opportunistic brou ha ha about superdelegates) could put Clinton slightly ahead. Or, HRC HAS to win Ohio.

I hope she does try to do that by going for Patriot Corporation Act Sherod Brown is talking about.

Posted by unPC | February 13, 2008 7:32 AM

I hope Obama goes for the Patriot Corporation Act, too.

Posted by unPC | February 13, 2008 7:34 AM

unPC, do your posts get longer the more hillary loses?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 13, 2008 7:46 AM

also, basing electoral college voting based on primary voting is flawed. how many primaries did kerry win in 2004? did he win all the states he won primaries in?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | February 13, 2008 7:50 AM

Speaking for UnPC postings: I just scroll past them when they take up 5 damn pages! Get your own blog already!!

Posted by Andrew | February 13, 2008 7:57 AM

Yeah, I also scroll past posts by unPC (and linus, lineout fan, etc.). No logical arguments; just venom. And there is no reasoning with those folks either. IF Obama gets the nom, they will vote for McCain, 3rd party, or stay home.

Posted by blah blah blah | February 13, 2008 8:08 AM

@2: In previous primaries, his portion of the Catholic vote was much smaller than his portion of the overall vote--in fact, sometimes he lost the Catholic vote in states he won overall.

This time, he won the Catholic vote, for the most part, but he won it by smaller margins than most other subgroups, hence: weakness.

@8: Why don't you ever make sense? The table clearly breaks down the percentages of weekly churchgoers versus nonweekly. I'm not saying it's a trend yet, and I conceded that he lost the Catholic vote in the Northeast. I just asked, what's happening now? And since Catholics apparently made up 17 and 21% of D voters in Virginia and Maryland respectively, it doesn't much matter how small their percentage is in the overall population. They're voting, and they voted for Obama. Let's see what happens in the next states with a high percentage of Catholic voters.

Posted by annie | February 13, 2008 9:28 AM

Keep saying it to yourself: Just because we can arbitrarily group voters by race / religion / income / whatever, doesn't mean that they monolithically vote according to race / religion / income / whatever. People are different.

Posted by Greg | February 13, 2008 3:13 PM

That Post article was particularly illuminating regarding Obama's stance on the death penalty (I caucused for the man, but my beliefs are more closely aligned with those of Steve "Down in the Hole" Earle). I forwarded it to a friend, who responded with this alarming article. Definitely worth a read for those concerned about this issue. Capital punishment isn't getting much attention now, but that will change with regards to future judicial appointees.

Also, Ron Paul (!) is anti-death penalty--and pro-life--but Mike Gravel (the crazy mofo from my home state) is the candidate most vehemently opposed.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | February 13, 2008 3:41 PM

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