Analyzing Pennsylvania

A good overview of the possible implications of Pennsylvania on the general election. The essential question boils down to this: is Obama’s perceived weakness with white working class voters worse in terms of overall electability than the sheer visceral hatred Hillary Clinton engenders on the Right?
My thoughts? I tend to agree with the argument that since McCain’s share of the national vote hasn’t broken 45% no matter what has happened to either Clinton or Obama, it may well be that he has already peaked. If that’s the case, barring a catastrophe between now and Denver, things should be okay for the forces of Good.

UPDATE: Further analysis from Charlie Cook, who usually has a pretty well polished crystal ball.

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Published in: on April 24, 2008 at 11:32 am  Comments (10)  

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  1. It’s hard to attach the slogan of “good” to Hillary’s past record of scandal and corruption (something Obama lacks) and her tendency to villify, insult, and make up stuff about her political opponents both left and right (yet another negative Obama also lacks).

    Good for corruption, “getting away with it”, racism by proxy (Ferraro statements) maybe, but not good for the country if the Hillary campaign keeps going on or has any more success.

  2. Right, right, right. I get it. Hillary = Antichrist. Fine. My point, and my only point, was: is she more or less electable than Obama? Are his weaknesses with white male voters worse electorally than the supposed hordes of conservative voters who will allegedly turn out in droves to vote against her? So far, the polls indicate that she does BETTER against McCain than Obama, tho’ admittedly we’re still pretty far out from November.

  3. < < McCain's share of the national vote hasn't broken 45% no matter what has happened to either Clinton or Obama >>

    It’s interesting that for all the media talk of anti-McCain hysteria within the GOP, it’s really within the DEMOCRATIC party that you have all these people saying they may vote for McCain if the other Democrat gets nominated. True, there are a few imbeciles like Ann Coulter who have said they would vote for Hillary, but that’s about it. All of which suggests a much stronger chance for McCain than the 45% number would initially indicate. Right now, a solid base of 45% is not all that bad. The real question Democrats ought to be asking is who will appeal most to the 15-20% population of swing voters in the fall, Obama or Clinton. All of the anecdotal evidence so far suggests the answer is Obama.

  4. Also, it’s worth emphasizing that Clinton won with something like 43% and then 49% of the national vote in 1992 and 1996. And Bush, without a serious third-party contendor, won with 51% of the vote in 2004 (we’ll leave the 2000 election out of this for the sake of sanity). If McCain has a solid 45% right now, that should scare the HELL out of Democrats. All it would take is about 6% of the swing vote to put him over the top.

    Of course, I also despise polls and don’t put nearly the same level of confidence in them that others do, so take this for whatever it’s worth.

  5. Yeah, I think the argument is that if McCain can’t break 45% now with nothing but negative publicity on his two possible opponents and pretty much nothing but glowing reviews of him, then maybe 45% isn’t his base; it’s his ceiling. And the real threat to McCain is not really that Republicans will vote for Obama or Clinton; it’s that not all of the millions and millions of new Republican voters who voted for Dubya in ’04 will come back for him. Remember, even with a historic record turnout, Dubya BARELY cracked 50%. But yet, I do see your point, that no Democrat has won more than 50% of the popular vote since 1964, and yes that does suggest tough sledding for the Dems.

  6. Well, the good news for Democrats no matter how you look at it is the economy. If it’s still weak in November, it will probably be irrelevant whether Obama or Clinton is the nominee. But if the economy is showing clear signs of improvement by then, then it may well come down to a personality contest, and I think Obama has the indisputable edge there.

  7. “Hillary = Antichrist”

    Anti-christ? No. Poor candidate who is likely to piss off both Republicans and moderates during the election if nominated, and if elected, likely to get nothing done? Yes. Campaigner who thinks that bashing Obama for his kindergarten actions is substantive and issues-centered? Yes.

    At least she is not as bad as Howard Dean, who says he hates half of America. That’s not a winning strategy either. I grant to Hillary that she does try to be a leader for all.

  8. I will never in my life vote to continue any political family in power, no matter what their political affiliation. In a nation of 304 millionk, where anyone determined enough can make it to the top, we can do better. All it requires is a smidgeon of mental effort for voters to look beyond the comfortingly familiar names and faces.

  9. “All it requires is a smidgeon of mental effort for voters to look beyond the comfortingly familiar names and faces”

    A woman once gushed to Adlai Stevenson, “Governor, you are sure to win! Every thinking man in America supports you!”
    To which Stevenson replied, “Ah, but madam, in order to win, I need a majority.”

  10. Eric: I take it you don’t want another 4 or 8 years of the Bushclinton dynasty?


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