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Thursday, April 3, 2008

An Inconvenient Update

posted by on April 3 at 17:10 PM

At my February 9 caucus, the big argument from Obama supporters was: “He beats McCain in the polls and Hillary doesn’t.”

As I gear up to attend this Saturday’s LD caucus, I bring this news: Averaging the most prominent polling, Clinton is actually doing better nationally against McCain than Obama. Both Democrats win, but Clinton wins by slightly more.

Meanwhile, as for the pivotal state of Ohio: McCain beats Obama by 5 points while Clinton beats McCain by 2.5 points. (Racists!)

I quote Megan Seling, and all teenagers of the earth: “Just Sayin.”

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Ohio is certainly pivotal to Clinton's electoral map. Not so much Obama's.

From First Read.

"From Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro
*** Two different maps: On TODAY and Morning Joe, NBC’s Tim Russert took at a stab at November’s electoral map. And this morning, we do the same, to show how different Clinton’s and Obama’s paths to 270 are. This is where we start, and we will be updating this regularly between now and November.
Obama vs. McCain
Base Obama: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, NY, RI, VT, WA (168 electoral votes)
Lean Obama: NJ, MN, OR, WI (42)
Toss-up: CO, IA, MI, MO, NV, NM, NH, OH, PA, VA (112)
Lean McCain: AR, FL, GA, LA, MS, MT, NC (81)
Base McCain: AL, AK, AZ, ID, IN, KS, KY, NE, ND, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY (135)

Clinton vs. McCain
Base Clinton: CA, CT, DE, DC, HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, NJ, NY, RI, VT (172)
Lean Clinton: AR, MN, OR, WA, WI (44)
Toss-up: FL, IA, MI, NM, NH, OH, PA (101)
Lean McCain: CO, LA, MO, NV, VA (47)
Base McCain: AL, AK, AZ, GA, ID, IN, KS, KY, MS, MT, NE, NC, ND, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, WV, WY (174)

*** Mixing and matching: Obviously, there's a lot of mixing and matching one can do, as Russert did this morning. Check out how Obama can win without BOTH Ohio and Florida, as long as he wins Kerry's states plus Colorado and Virginia. Or toss in New Mexico, Iowa, and Nevada and he can lose Michigan, too. Clinton's path looks more traditional as long as she doesn't lose Oregon or Wisconsin. If she adds Ohio or Florida and loses Oregon, she can get it back by adding Arkansas. If she carries Oregon, but loses Wisconsin, she'll need Florida and Arkansas; Ohio and Arkansas won't do it."

Posted by Mike in Iowa | April 3, 2008 5:19 PM

For some reason, I didn't fully think through how much political spam I was signing myself up for when I volunteered to be an alternate delegate for Obama. I also didn't realize they'd expect me to be there at 9AM (!!!) on a freaking Saturday.

Posted by Peter F | April 3, 2008 5:26 PM


But how come the Washington Post disagrees with you on the poll numbers ... and even The Fix gives Hils only a 6 point lead in PA (down from her former 30 point lead) ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 3, 2008 5:30 PM


Christ, I know! I've had four party flacks call me to "remind" me in the last two days, plus at least one robo-call this afternoon.

And I'm just an alternate!

Posted by A Non Imus | April 3, 2008 5:42 PM

Obama has the leadership style and transparency that would make the best President.

Don't try to outguess the polls. I think Dan tried to do that in 2000 and suggested crossing the aisle to vote for Bush in the primaries and look what happened.

Posted by dat | April 3, 2008 5:44 PM

OK, but those polls are based on people who currently intend to vote in the general. It can't predict the change in attitude after the Dem candidate is picked.

I stand by my prediction (which will hopefully never be tested) that if Hillary wins the nomination, Republicans and other conservatives will literally pour out of the woodwork to vote against her in November. HRC is the right wing's absolutely most hated Democrat after possibly Teddy K.

Obama, not so much.

Posted by K | April 3, 2008 5:52 PM

OK, but those polls are based on people who currently intend to vote in the general. It can't predict the change in attitude after the Dem candidate is picked.

I stand by my prediction (which will hopefully never be tested) that if Hillary wins the nomination, Republicans and other conservatives will literally pour out of the woodwork to vote against her in November. HRC is the right wing's absolutely most hated Democrat after possibly Teddy K.

Obama, not so much.

Posted by K | April 3, 2008 5:53 PM

To precinct delegates and Peter:

Spam sucks, but mail from campaigns and the local party doesn't exactly belong in the same folder as porn and pills. They may go overboard with volume of mail, but its purpose is to keep you informed. Skim and archive.

Being involved in the process of choosing a nominee can be a worthwhile experience, if you can spare the time. 9 AM on a Saturday once a year is not so bad, and as an alternate you may get to go home early! Bring a snack and water, and maybe a cushion if your caucus is in a gym. Democracy is slow.

Posted by V | April 3, 2008 5:56 PM

At least they contacted you.

See you on Saturday at Garfield High School in Wallingford (Lincoln High School site, right behind the Wallingford Public Library)

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 3, 2008 6:01 PM

Slightly more meaning 0.1%? Are you kidding? Do you understand basic margin of error? Why couldn't you just say that they were doing equally well?

Posted by F | April 3, 2008 6:03 PM

Man, Josh, I'm going to miss you!

Posted by arduous | April 3, 2008 6:03 PM

V @ 8, I fully intend to go and to somehow find time to get around to reading the huge packet of stuff I was sent in the mail; no worries.

Posted by Peter F | April 3, 2008 6:13 PM

#7 (and 8) are spot-on. The numbers are dancing all over the place. The fact is Obama moves independents and Hilliary moves nobody but Republicans to try and eliminate her. And that Bosnia thing wasn't just a lie, it was a damn lie. It is a great dishonor to anyone who has gone under fire for their country to make up a story saying you did. And McCain, should Clinton make it through Denver, will beat her with that lie until he is guaranteed a victory, and she cannot escape it, cannot spin it. It is indelible.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 3, 2008 6:18 PM

I mean #6 and 7. Worth repeating, even by accident.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 3, 2008 6:19 PM

It's been clear for the last month or so that:

1. there is no evidence today based on polls that Obama has better chances than Clinton.

2. there is certainly no reason to think Obama will have a sweeping blow out election as previously suggested by Obama folks.

3. in key battleground states CLinton does better:

from real clear:

McCain-Obama McCain-Clinton
National Obama +0.6 Clinton +0.7
Pennsylvania McCain +1.0 Clinton +0.8
Ohio McCain +5.0 Clinton +2.5
Florida McCain +8.0 McCain +3.0

Clinton does better in each of these four metrics.

5. Yes you can find a way for Obama to win without Ohio. Duh. And, you can find a way for Clinton to win without Ohio, too. Duh.

6. Look at the polls above: Obama loses OH PA and FL. That sucks big time.

Posted by unPC | April 3, 2008 6:26 PM

Can we commence with and get over the buyers' remorse with maximal efficiency, please? There's a general election coming.

Posted by tsm | April 3, 2008 6:29 PM

Best projections I know of from current ("if the election were held today") polling data are Darryl Holman's Monte Carlo simulations at

Obama leads Clinton in these projections. Both trail McCain substantially. And all the results jump around from day to day as fresh state poll head-to-heads are factored in.

I don't think pre-campaign polls tell the tale at all, but if you're gonna use 'em, use the best.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | April 3, 2008 6:38 PM

Can we just stop obsessing over polls?

It reminds me of Spalding Gray's anecdote about directing, and playing the narrator, in a production of Our Town. He stupidly read the reviews, all negative, and it killed his ability to give an unselfconscious performance.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 3, 2008 6:43 PM

Election polls are utter shit, especially this early. Go look at polls from April 2004 if you don't believe me. There really is just no good reason to analyze this.

The only polls I really consider at this point are favorability/unfavorability polls. (Clinton's unfavorability is unnervingly high, in case you were wondering)

Posted by w7ngman | April 3, 2008 6:47 PM

Not sure why either camp would point to GE polls. They aren't very reliable this far in advance of November. Remember Kerry had a huge lead over Bush in the Spring of 2004. We know how that turned out.

Posted by Fitz | April 3, 2008 6:53 PM

News Flash: John McCain is going to be tough to beat.

Posted by collie | April 3, 2008 6:55 PM

and I've been commenting on the importance of Ohio for how long?

Posted by LMSW | April 3, 2008 7:10 PM

Ohio is soooo 2004. It's all about Missouri this year. Actually, Obama's strategy is all about turning red states purple, as well as helping downticket candidates. And hey, so long as he can win. A victory by Obama will cement an entire generation as die hard Dems.

Posted by Gitai | April 3, 2008 7:12 PM

Door. Ass. Way out.

Posted by elenchos | April 3, 2008 7:24 PM

Josh you forgot to mention something.

Posted by Trevor | April 3, 2008 7:24 PM

I wonder why McCain has had so much time to shore up his image against the Democrats?


I'd vote McCain over Clinton, and it's not really a difficult decision.

Posted by Steve | April 3, 2008 8:25 PM

Dear Josh,

In case you handn't noticed, Obama won every precint in the state of Washington.

Every. Single. One.

So, who are you representing as a delegate? The people of Washington or Ohio? Just askin.

Posted by montex | April 3, 2008 8:26 PM

So what you're saying is that this data is completely meaningless too, right? If it flops in two, that means we have 3-4 more flops (at least!) before the election.

Maybe for once we should stop grabbing at every little piece of polling data and ask: who would be the *better President*?

Grasping at electability at this point is just dumb. We don't even know who the vice presidential candidates are, let alone everything else we're going to find out between now and November. Forget the polls; go for the person.

Posted by Cow | April 3, 2008 8:51 PM

God damn it. Can we start up the "Towers in the Park" debate again? That brought me nothing but joy.

Posted by Looptid | April 3, 2008 9:17 PM

Josh - Not in Washington state she isn't and to a legislative delegate, winning this state is what matters. Useless supporting Clinton if she can't win Washington state.

Posted by Daniel K | April 3, 2008 10:34 PM

Clinton makes me even angrier when I'm drunk. God damn, what a lyin' ass.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 3, 2008 11:23 PM

Any other East Side SLOGsters going to the LD Caucuses at Pacific Cascade Middle School on Saturday? Jessica?

I'll be caucusing for Clinton, of course.

Posted by Big Sven | April 4, 2008 12:26 AM

Of Obama, Duser said: "I'm not crazy about voting for a colored guy, but that's not why I don't support Obama. I'm not prejudiced. I just like Hillary."

Posted by clintonsupportexplained | April 4, 2008 1:24 AM

Gee, back in Feb. the argument was "Obama's so Vastly More Electable!!" wooo-hooo, now we hear "grasping at electability is just dumb." Changing the goalposts. Just another form of deception and bullshit and false argument. Yawn. Typical.

NYT polls today confirm other overall trends:

1. The O-C contest is close in terms of nos. of people for each. 2. There is no evidence either is more electable; either would be in a nail biter against McCain. 3. Obama is likely to win the nomination but HRC has a ton of popular support, too, and brings in folks WE NEED TO WIN IN NOVEMBER such as Archie Bunkers/Dogpatch/Jacksonians/Latinos/Catholics generally.....folks some of us here in SEattle fled from when moving here? Democrats lose over and over by losing those folks' votes to a Nixon (law 'n' order not riots) a Reagan (morning in America, not mourning) or a Bush (got 40% from Latinos). 4. So put her on the ticket & build a bigger coalition to win in the Fall. Bash her all you want but data shows people around the nation do not share your hatred and scorn (which if shared around the nation would put her down at a Mike Gravel level instead of tied or close on the heels of Obama).

Here's what the NYT says today:

--Obama leads McCain by 5 points, down from 12 in Feb., yup, you were warned back then, he has flaws, too, he was initially a stock bubble.

--Clinton also is 5 pts. ahead of McCain too. Um, seems like all this Hillary hatred you see on Slog ain't showing up across the land.

--Clinton and Obama are "effectively tied" (w/n m of e) among Democratic voters, 46-43, Obama’s lead among men has disappeared, & his lead has shrunk among whites, rich Democrats and younger voters.
Um, seems like all this Hillary hatred you see on Slog ain't showing up across the land.

MLK said an unjust law is no law. So rules giving NH and IA seats at the front of the bus sucked.

So FL and MI were right to challenge that and disenfranchising 4-5 million Demo. voters is wrong like Bull Connor was wrong.

Obama should today say that in respect of MLK no one gets special seats at the front of the bus, and FL and MI should be seated.

(This cuts his lead in pledged delegates from about 160 to 115 he is going to win the nomination anyway; this boosts him in FL and MI for the Fall election; this avoids a blood bath on national TV at the convention over FL and MI; so this is a smart realpolitick move. Just like it was smart of him to throw every other candidate off the ballot in his first state senate primary, leaving voters with just one choice: Him. Shhhhhh don't tell anyone what is right coincides with realpolitick, just leave that glamour shining bright, okay? That's be what Jack and Bobby K. would do after hearing what old Joe K. thought.)

Unity rah rah rah.

Posted by unPC | April 4, 2008 7:06 AM

Yes, Josh, as you point out, polls DO CHANGE. And change back. And forth. And back.

Despite the advantage of having their primary contest ending earlier, a large part of the Republicans are NOT comfortable with their nominee. The Republicans' record is a mess--disasterous wars, economic downturn including the looming mortgage crisis, corruption, incompetence, ignoring climate change--the list goes on ad nauseum. The GOP has nothing positive on which to run.

The Democrats IN GENERAL have the advantage. It's theirs to lose.

Posted by Andy Niable | April 4, 2008 8:24 AM

can we call a moratorium on "just sayin'"?

Posted by jon c | April 4, 2008 8:32 AM

Here's what the polls DON'T say: the new voters aren't being counted, according the AP wire this morning.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 4, 2008 8:56 AM

I don't even know where to begin on how wrong this is.

She scoffs at the idea of voting for Obama: "I don't want to be a Muslim!" She looks dubious when told Obama is Christian. "Then why did he go see what's-his-name over in Iraq, that Lama?"

If her stupidity wasn't so scary it would be hilarious.

Posted by Colin | April 4, 2008 10:34 AM

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