Thursday, May 22

:: Why She's Still Fighting

Yes, its for the principle - and because she wants Democrats to win

Just thought I'd share a few poll numbers with the three of you. If you have any doubt about why Hillary is still fighting for the nomination, let these figures be your guide.

Quinnipiac University
McCain 45, Obama 41
Clinton 48, McCain 41

McCain 44, Obama 40
Clinton 48, Mccain 41

Obama 46, McCain 40
Clinton 50, McCain 37

Rasmussen Reports
McCain 50, Obama 40
Clinton 47, McCain 41

Survey USA
McCain 48, Obama 45
Clinton 48, McCain 46

North Carolina
McCain 51, Obama 43
Clinton 49, McCain 43

I'll be the first to say "snapshot" head-to-heads are pretty useless in terms of predicting the eventual results. That said, these numbers are pretty bad for Obama with regard to the argument of the moment.

Now, in related business, let's check in with our favorite constituency - those white female swing voters - the compassionate conservative women - who should be the holy grail of any Democratic presidential campaign. You know, one of the constiuencies Obama ignores.

Gallup has some new research to share.

May 21, 2008
Obama Faces Uphill Climb vs. McCain Among
White Voters
by Frank Newport

Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee, will likely enter the general election with more of a handicap among white voters than would have been the case if Hillary Clinton had been the nominee, based mainly on Clinton's stronger performance among white women.

A new Gallup Poll analysis of Daily tracking data collected between May 1 and May 17 shows that Clinton's edge among white voters is not, as some have hypothesized, based on Obama's problems among blue-collar white men, but reflects more the fact of Clinton's strength among white women.

White Male Voters

In general, Obama and Clinton perform exactly the same among non-Hispanic white men when pitted against presumptive Republican nominee John McCain. Both Obama and Clinton lose to McCain among this group by 21-point margins, 36% to 57%.

There has been discussion of Obama's presumed problem among blue-collar white males should he win the Democratic nomination. The current analysis shows that relative to Clinton, however, Obama does not suffer from a large "blue-collar male" deficit as has been hypothesized. Obama loses to McCain in a hypothetical matchup among non-college-educated white men by 25 points, while Clinton loses by 20 points.

Additionally, Obama has a compensatory strength among white-collar men, defined here as those with a college education. Among this group, Obama loses to McCain by 13 points while Clinton loses by 22 points.

All in all, these data suggest that the Democrats' probable nomination of Obama rather than Clinton does not mean Democrats will enter the general election with a bigger deficit among white men than they would have if Clinton were the nominee. The data from May suggest that Clinton may have done only slightly better than Obama against McCain among blue-collar white men, and that this slight advantage likely would have been offset by Obama's slight advantage among college-educated men.

White Female Voters

Among non-Hispanic white women, however, there is a significant difference in the way the two Democratic candidates perform against McCain.

While Obama loses to McCain by 16 points among non-Hispanic white women with no college, Clinton ties McCain. And while Obama does manage to squeak out a four-point advantage over McCain among college-educated white women, Clinton has an 11-point margin.

Although there has been a great deal of discussion of the problems that await Obama among white men should he win the Democratic nomination, this analysis suggests that while McCain certainly has a strength among this group, it is no more of a strength against Obama than it would be against Clinton. Clinton's slight advantage among blue-collar white men is offset by Obama's advantage among white-collar white men.

The bigger issue appears to be Obama's problems among white women, when compared to how Clinton would perform among this group.

Obama loses to McCain by nine points among white women, while Clinton wins by three points. Clinton does better than Obama among both blue-collar and white-collar white women.

All in all, although both Democrats are to a degree handicapped against McCain among white voters, Clinton would perform better than Obama in a general-election matchup among non-Hispanic whites. Combining white voters of both genders, the current analysis shows that McCain wins over Obama among whites, 53% to 38%, and beats Clinton by a considerably smaller 51% to 42% margin.

It is important to note that Obama runs about as well vs. McCain as Clinton does, and both Democrats currently maintain a slight advantage over McCain in general-election trial heats. So any weaker relative performance for Obama vs. McCain among a demographic group (such as white women or lower-educated voters) is made up for by a stronger relative performance among another group (such as blacks or higher-educated voters).

This would not be so much of a problem if the Obama campaign did not appear to be pathologically unable to reach out to any constituency that does not catagorically prefer him. Okay, that was not well put. I'll try it a different way. He hasn't done a single thing to reach out to white women specifically, even thought the campaign knew he had a problem there as far back as the New Hampshire primary election night, and Axelrod talked about writing off working class whites, saying they never vote Democratic anyway.

This is echt Obama. Remember how he ignored Hillary at the SOTU? His body language at the last three-way debate? When Obama feels dissed, he disses back. He tries to cut the person / group off. He shuns them. He disengages. He's the opposite of Senator Clinton, who carefully and systematically won over her many of her enemies by engaging them on substantive matters. She is a fighter. He cuts his losses and turns his back, literally and figuratively.

My prediction: lowest gender gap among independents since 1996, advantage goes to McCain.


Common Sense Gram said...

Loved the post- and love the name of the blog! Good work!

Nina Miller said...

Cool! The readership jumped to 4 people. Unless that's you, Zippy, just toying with my emotions.

Now if I could only get my mother to start reading this again we'd be up to 5!

RS said...

"He tries to cut the person / group off. He shuns them. He disengages."

Ummm... Senator Clinton as your lone example is not a good idea. If you go back and read Maureen Dowd's column about The Snub, you'd find that it was Clinton who started off, and persisted with, the pettiness. And she still hasn't stopped - turning her own earlier positions upside down, doing anything - everything - to win. And unlike what you say, Senator Obama's actually playing nice, now that the heat of the moment has passed (for him, anyway). Like holding up Senator Clinton as an icon for his daughters.

You also (conveniently) forget that Senator Obama went on a six-day bus tour of PA with Senator Casey, to try and win over folks (including Catholics) in in PA's Alabama. Even bowled a 37 (and reaped all the humiliation that followed). In TX, PA, and OH, he campaigned hard, and came back from 20% deficits to much smaller losses. And now, he's out trying to win over Jewish retirees in Florida, Republicans/independents in Cape Girardeau, setting the stage for a GE campaign in Iowa (Kerry loss, Gore win).

I doubt white-women-w/o-college degrees (WWwoCD) favor Senator Clinton on the issues only. Note the big difference between this group (Obama -16% against McCain; Clinton ties) and college-educated white women (WWw_CD; Obama +4%; Clinton +11%). The 7% Clinton-Obama gap among WWw_CDs I attribute to "Ciccinas" ;-) and women who think Senator Obama has stolen the nomination (but should know better).

The 16% Clinton-Obama gap among WWwoCD is IMO a combination of White racism and Female Pride. Mind you, some WWwoCD do figure out that Senator Obama's not a Black Radical Christian/anti-American Muslim, and equals Senator Clinton on the issues - hence he does better among WWwoCD (-16%) than WMwoCD (-25%). Or maybe they hold their nose and vote Democrat.

Anyway. Long semi-rant. Still five months to the GE, we'll see how and what Senator Obama does. Because ya know, on the issues, there really ain't much separating Senators Clinton and Obama (whatever nuance you may try to pry out). And much as you'd like to think otherwise, he does engage. Heck, he even gets heat because of his willingness to engage.

Nina Miller said...

RS, dear, you lost me at "Maureen Dowd." That woman is pathological nut case. Instead, if you look at the video footage, you can clearly see Obama doing the "I don't see you la la la" move.

There was also his body language in the last three-way debate, the one where all three were seated side by side. Obama was in the middle, and he kept turning slightly towards Edwards, as if to exclude Clinton from the conversation. As if he couldn't bear to look at her. Again - you've got to go to the videotape for it. I don't know where that would be though - I watched the debate live.

I'm not sure how you can on the one hand say that Clinton doubles back on her statements, yet say Obama held Clinton up as an icon to his daughters. This is the same man who was calling her corrupt and dishonest (and his campaign still does). That's a pretty clear example right there.

In addition, Obama went on his PA bus tour to win votes. But what did Axelrod say after they lost? We don't need these voters - the Dems never win the Reagan Democrats. That's what I'm talking about. This sense of - you're not going to vote for me? Fine, to hell with you.

I don't know of anyone who has said Obama has "stolen" the nomination. "Stolen" is not the right verb. Is not the best candidate? yes. Is not qualified? yes. Isn't ready? yes. Is a huckster with no substance? yes. Wants to win because he mastered the technical aspect of the rules, rather than persuading a clear majority of Democrats? you bet. Doesn't deserve it? ditto. But "stolen"? no.

I realize that if you don't like Clinton, and you really like Obama, its hard to put yourself in the heads of voters who prefer her. And certainly there are racists out there. But Senator Clinton is so much more clearly appealing to women like myself - the experience, the issue positions, the competence, the fight, the values. The way she makes sure she learns everything there is to learn about an issue before she sits down with someone, no matter how obscure. Just because some people are racist doesn't mean there aren't dozens of valid reasons why white women prefer Clinton.

What I keep seeing, over and over again, is that whenever the women's vote is talked about its always in terms of minimalizing it. After NH it was "oh, they feel sorry for her." After she loaned her campaign money it was "oh, they feel sorry for her again." And what's being said about support for her now? "oh, its sour grapes" or "oh, the sympathy vote."

Sorry. Women voters who prefer Hillary are just as smart and make their decisions for a just as many reasons as women who prefer Obama, or men who prefer Obama. You know, I'm pretty sure people call you a racist if you say, oh, those black voters only vote for Barack because he's black. Because its reductive, and its not true. You only have to look at the votes Alan Keyes didn't get to see that.

You can stop your thinking at "they're just supporting her because of x" - that's your perogative. But the truth is more complex, and interesting, I think you'll probably want to look into it more, if only because it is one of those good puzzles that keep people like us delving into this stuff even though (at least in my case) no one is paying us to do it.

Cheers :-)

RS said...

You haven't addressed the substantive parts of my comments. Senator Obama's reaching out to Jews, Republicans/independents even in Limbaugh's hometown etc. So your assertion that he turns his backs on folks who are not well-disposed toward him without making an effort is not justified. Using Senator Clinton alone to make a generalization is... shall we say, not so logical?

[Axelrod's comments were after they put in a good-faith effort.]

I also pointed out that Senator Obama wins non-Hispanic White Women with College Degrees 49-45 over Senator McCain - compared to Senator Clinton's 53-42 victory. This is a much better performance for Obama than among non-Hispanic White Women without College Degrees, who he loses 35-51 (Clinton ties) - almost the same as WMenwoCD (41-54; Clinton does worse, 36-58).

[I'd say he probably does better than Clinton among WMwoCD because of sexism.]

I expect that educated folks make a decision based on the issues - more so than folks who are not well-educated (maybe I am prejudiced). Obama's support among non-Hispanic College-Degreed White Women is only 4% less than Clinton's, not as large as the 11% less support in the "nH no-CollegeDegree White Women" group.

So - I am not saying all women (or men) make decisions based on gender or race. I make an explicit distinction based on their expected level of knowledge (which is why, presumably, Gallup makes the distinction as well). And the data does help make my point - college-educated Clinton-supporting women voters who might stay home or vote for McCain out of aversion to Obama are in the minority.

By the way, calling a US Senator a "huckster with no substance" and other such choice phrases - you can dance around it all you want, but all you are saying is Obama doesn't deserve the nomination and has stolen the election from the rightful nominee.

Even if it is high time a woman POTUS was elected (as I think), and even if it is somebody's "turn" - I am sorry, but that chance/turn has to be earned. Despite all the sexism and misogyny, Senator Clinton could have still won if she had competed in the caucuses and the post-SuperTuesday contests. She would have tied Obama in pledged delegates, or come much closer than the current 150+ gap. For the failure to do that, she has nobody to blame but herself.

Nina Miller said...

RS - I hear what you are saying about Obama campaigning for the votes of blue collar whites and voters of the Jewish persuasion. To that extent, I agree. Where I think he falls down is by giving up on those constituencies too soon. One of Sen. Clinton's hallmarks is that she circles around again and again to reach some kind of understanding, even with people who have been terribly, actively unfair to her. I'm talking sitting down with Scaife, O'Reilly, etc. I'm not saying she does this purely out of the goodness of her heart or anything - the purpose is political - but the woman never gives up on anyone. Obama - he hasn't shown the ability to overcome his personal feelings so he can keep trying and trying to win a certain group over. Now I will also grant that this is not always a strategic thing to do. But Obama has given up on awfully large constituencies very early in the game. I am doubtful that he'll be able to overcome his feelings about them - but perhaps he will.

I disagree strongly with you, however, regarding the distinction you draw between voters with and without much formal education. Ultimately, no matter how much education you have, the major criteria for making your decision is the same: would this candidate act as my proxy in office. put another way, would this candidate act the way I would want him/her to act in x given situation. Whether the voter decides to support a candidate because "he shares the same moral values" or because "she's got the right position on the environment" - the meaning is essentially the same. Would this person act the way I would want them to. Is this candidate "like me." And I think for every voter, that decision is arrived at by weighing a medley of criteria - issue positions, intuition about the candidate's character, sometimes demographic characteristics, accent, etc. Sometimes a social issue takes on symbolic importance, standing in for a general attitude towards social issues - abortion certainly works that way, whether you are pro or anti choice. If the candidate does not share your views on Roe v. Wade, that's a big honking signal that the candidate isn't "like you" when it comes to the culture war. Sometimes they go by the candidate's folksy, down home demeanor.

A highly educated voter might say he supports Obama based on the issues, but this is simply a different way of saying "shares my values." The underlying reason is the same: will this candidate act the way I would want him to act in x situation(s). Is this candidate "like me." Unless the voter is making his decision based on misinformation about the candidate, it really doesn't make a qualitative difference whether that value is support for the environment or support for the "traditional family." Sure, you and I might agree that the former is more important (or not), but that purely a subjective judgement.

The big exception to this is when a voter chooses a candidate mainly because s/he opposes the other choice. I think this is what the Obama campaign is banking on esp. with white women independents, judging by the evidence I see now. But this scenario didn't work out well for Kerry... the latest Pew poll has this question - comparing people who say they are supporting Obama vs. opposing McCain (and the reverse), with historical comparisons to 04, 00, 96, 92 and 88 (gotta love that). Its interesting stuff.

onelight321 said...

You are a brainwashed nutjob, Ciccina. Your arguments on this POS site are pure garbage, filled with half-truths and lies. Only a deranged fanatic a la Lanny Davis would find any of it logical.

I'm sorry your deeply flawed, unscrupulous, despicable candidate lost.
Ok, I'm not really sorry, as she is an insane sociopath.

I know that you were heavily invested in her just because she is a woman.....and nothing else. Apparently her positions and the issues mean NOTHING!

How sad.....