Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

As Wisconsin Goes...

Wisconsin primaries show that Obama can win in the whitest of white states, with 58% of the vote. Exit polls show him winning almost every group except for white women over 60. If Clinton said that Virginia somehow "didn't count" because of all the black voters, the exit polls are now showing that a solid majority of Democrats of almost every stripe are voting for Obama. If these voting patterns continue to be seen, Obama will win Ohio, Texas, and the nomination. Already, polls are showing a much tighter race in Texas (Clinton's lead is 50-48 in one CNN poll) and in Ohio. The pattern continues: Clinton begins with a big plus for name recognition, but as election day approaches and the voters tune in, that lead vanishes. Even more amazingly, no poll predicted this big a victory. The Clinton vote matches the polls more or less, but apparently the undecided voters went for Obama in a big way.

For all those reasons, this is a very big day for Barack Obama. There's no way for the Clinton camp to "explain away" Wisconsin because it's too black, too young, or a caucus, or whatever. It is also a day of reckoning for the Democratic party. Obama is now clearly the frontrunner, ahead by approximately 150 in pledged delegates and leading overall including superdelegates. The math is becoming prohibitive. In two weeks, if these results are repeated, Clinton should do the honorable thing and pack it in.


Dr. Strangelove said...

Obama scored an impressive victory in Wisconsin. He more-or-less won every meaningful category. But as for the rest of Obama's victory march through February, I feel compelled to raise my hand and point out that a little perspective may be in order.

I refer you to your own prophetic post from two weeks ago, Split Decision - Eyes on Ohio?, where you explained exactly why Obama was expected to win every remaining contest in February. Exit polls later confirmed your demographic predictions. The only exception you cut out was Wisconsin--and that is one of the reasons I agree that Wisconsin is an important win for Obama.

But look... After the apparent "tie" of Super Tuesday, Obama faced his big test in the two weeks following. He had to win all the states that favored him--and he did so, with larger margins than most would have thought. Very impressive. Hillary's big test is still March 4th. (Very unlucky for her, that she has to go second, but that's the way the convention cookie crumbles. It would be a very different race if OH and TX had switched places with the Potomac Primaries.) Because Obama passed his test so well, Hillary now absolutely must win both Ohio and Texas to continue. I will even echo comments you have made, LTG: if Hillary cannot win both OH and TX in two weeks, then for the good of the party she should step aside.

But if, even in the face of Obama's momentum from February, Hillary can win in OH and TX, then she will remain competitive. These will be the longest two weeks of her life, no doubt.

Oh, one more note on perspective for Wisconsin. RbR has already given die-hard Hillary supporters a reason to hope Wisconsin might be a fluke: it borders Illinois, Obama's home state. You may recall RbR made quite a big point of dismissing Hillary's victories (by even larger margins) in both the Tennessee and Oklahoma primaries, merely because they border Arkansas. Just sayin'.

Dr. Strangelove said...

In all honesty, it looks like it is now Obama's race to lose and I will very probably owe some tasty steak dinners to a few people. The first battle in the Rust Belt is over and Obama won hands-down. For the past week I've been reciting "I'm fired up and ready to go!" in my head, trying to get used to what my political world may look like after March 4th. Because I will still be proud to have Obama as our Democratic standard-bearer, if that is what comes to pass.

But I'm still going to pull for Hillary 100% until March 4th. Because, despite all the snarky things that the allegedly hope-filled, post-partisan, non-divisive Obama supporters say about Hillary, a lot of us still really like her. A lot of us think she would make a better president. And that's something it seems a lot of Obama folks just don't really get. Hillary supporters are called "sheeplike". Her victories are chalked up to "name recognition".

If Obama wins the nomination,as seems likely, then I think it will very much behoove him and his supporters to start showing the Hillary folks some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And who knows... Maybe Hillary will want to be VP after all...

Dr. Strangelove said...

Just to clarify, Obama does show respect for Hillary on a personal and professional level. That is one reason I would be happy with him as the nominee. Obama gets why we like her.

And I promise to do my best to grok why increasing numbers of Democrats are coming to prefer Obama.

Raised By Republicans said...

I think it will be far easier for Obama to reach out to Clinton supporters given the way he's run his campaign than for Clinton to reach out to Obama - if indeed she would even consider it - given the way she's run her campaign. That's why I like him too (and why I have never really bought into the Hillary for President idea).

As for Wisconsin, yes, Obamba's home base being in Chicago was a big advantage for him in places like Milliwaukee. But then Obama was WAY behind here just a couple of weeks ago.

Also, the bad news for Clinton is in the details in Wisconsin. Green Bay and Appleton (NE Wisconsin) were supposed to be solid Clinton country. That city is full of older, whiter, less educated, lower paid, blue collar folks.

According to the New York Times election results (, Obama won in Brown County (Green Bay) and Outagamie County (Appleton) with 57% and 59% of the vote respectively.

Also, the Wisconsin democratic primary voters were nearly 60% women. Clinton has been the "white woman candidate" at least as exclusively as Obama has been the "black candidate." Now it seems as if women have started to turn away again. She split women 50-50 with Obama. Given that she lost decisively in every other demographic in the state, that's not a good sign for Ohio - which if anything differs from Wisconsin in that there are more Black voters and more richer, more educated voters.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Yes, Dr.S, I predicted Obama would win most of the states in February. Where is my kudos for being right? Anyway, take note: (1) I made those predictions based on the fact that, in those state, his core advantages were present. In fact, he is now winning by nearly 60% across the board demographically (see Virginia, Wisconsin). (2) I said on that date that Wisconsin was Clinton's best chance. It turned out to be a solid, wooden defeat. (3) The unpredictedly large margins of Obama's victories have led to an unanticipated 150+ pledged delegate gap. So, no, we aren't where I thought we would be as of today. It's much, much worse for Clinton.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Clinton gets plenty of respect. Think about it: if Obama had lost 10 straight contests in a row, most by double digits, was behind in the national polls, was lending his campaign money, had his top campaign advisors quitting, and was behind in the delegate count by a nearly insurmountable margin, EVERYONE would be demanding he quit. Everyone would be laughing at the idea of a "firewall" anywhere. Not so, Clinton. She is presumed to be a viable candidate no matter what.

As for "chalking up HRC victories to name recognition." The course of this campaign shows pretty conclusively that early polls in every state show her with close to 50%, which melts away as we approach election day. Either Obama is the best persuader ever, which I doubt, or those initial polls do not reflect solid support. I suspect the latter.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Previously, there was an argument made by Dr.S that HRC was more electable. Now we have added to that the idea that she would make a better president than Obama. I'd like to hear how. Obama has made the case that he may be able to get more 50%+1, to organize some working majority. He has made the argument that a president cannot be successful, no matter how hard he or she "works" if limited to a 50%+1 majority. Obama argues that she cannot do more. That argument was the most persuasive in getting me to vote for Obama.

Dr. Strangelove said...

1. Regarding why I like Hillary and why I think she would make a better president, look at my lengthy post back in January with that title. Nothing new here.

2. As for electability, the issue was always "known quantity" vs. "rolling the dice." I never disputed that Obama looks better with Independents now. But I think it won't last once Obama starts getting the kind of scrutiny Hillary has been under for years. And many of us believe that all this talk of "unity" is a crock and the Republican attack machine will reduce this to a 50% + 1 election--and 50% + 1 presidency--no matter what. Nothing new here.

3. I hoped I gave you kudos by calling your post "prophetic" and saying exit polls confirmed exactly what you said. But I'll be clearer: your analysis was spot on. I am personally impressed.

4. The Clinton campaign organization gets respect for being viable, I agree. But Hillary herself does not receive much respect as a person. And her supporters receive far less. Hillary remains viable because she has won 46% of the pledged delegates allocated so far, and continues to hold a lead in superdelegates.

5. I don't see Hillary actually "behind" in most national polls. In the last week it has gone from a Hillary advantage to a dead heat. This is bad news for her, of course. To my mind, that is the biggest reason to believe Obama will take the nomination.

6. I agree that Hillary's initial very high poll numbers in many states are due to name recognition--they are inflated. Much of the precipitous drop in her numbers that Obama supporters smile at is due simply to expectations returning to reality. But then I think what remains is not "name recognition" or "sheeplike devotion" but solid support. And when she wins, she deserves credit for that.

The Law Talking Guy said...

"When she wins, she deserves credit for that."

If it ever happens again, I'll do that...

Dr. Strangelove said...

Fair enough.