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 05, 2008

Split Decision - Eyes on Ohio?

There are many ways to analyze what happened tonight. In terms of delegates, it's nearly even, although probably HRC will pick up more because of a superdelegate lead even in states that voted for Obama. The bottom line is that there was no decision in the Democratic race tonight, as widely expected. In fact, it is more contested now than it was a week ago, because it is clearly a two-person race with each candidate able to rack up big wins (Illinois, New York) and close wins (Connecticut, Missouri, Arizona, New Mexico).

In CA, according to CNN exit polls: Clinton won 69% of the Latino vote and 75% of the Asian vote. Obama won 78% of the black vote. White vote in CA was 45 Clinton, 42 Obama, 9 for Edwards (whoops). Gender split also. But these preferences are not ideological - it's all about identity politics.

The road from here is tough. February will be, or should be, Obama's month.
Feb 5-12: Democrats Abroad (plays to Obama's strength in wealthier, more educated voters)
Feb 9: Louisiana (large black electorate), Nebraska caucuses (see Kansas), Virgin Islands caucuses (black vote), Washington state caucuses (very educated, youthful Democratic electorate)*
*Note: Washington state has both caucuses and a primary. The caucuses select delegates to the state convention, the primary is non-binding.
Feb 10: Maine (no Latinos; often supports insurgents)
Feb 12: DC, Maryland, Virginia (large black electorates)
Feb 19: Hawaii (home state for Obama), Washington primary, Wisconsin primary (HRC's best chance to win another state this month).
March 4: Texas, Ohio, Vermont, Rhode Island (all primary states, only VT obviously favors Obama).
March 8: Wyoming caucuses (nobody knows or cares)
March 11: Mississippi primary (black electorate)
... then nothing until...
April 22: Pennsylvania (probably a Clinton win with blue-collar Dem vote).
May 3: Guam (nobody knows or cares)
May 6: Indiana (Clinton), North Carolina (Obama).

So Clinton's goal is to avoid a public perception of defeat until March 4, when she may nail a ton of delegates. Texas is good for Clinton with the Latino vote. Obama's strategy is to create a public perception of victories in February to tip the scale in Ohio and Texas.

Ohio will -as usual - be a showdown state.


Dr. Strangelove said...

Other than Arizona not being an especially close race, I agree with your assessment. (And I would have noted California as a significant win for Hillary, but never mind.)

In terms of delegates, Super Tuesday was essentially a draw on the Democratic side. But the real story for the Democrats is what LTG politely hints at: it was Obama's night. Until last week, most of us believed Super Tuesday would tilt the scales heavily in Hillary's favor, and that didn't happen. As LTG and RbR pointed out in many earlier posts, it looks like it's going to come down to the delegate count. At present, the candidates are nearly tied.

It's worth noting that Clinton won 8 primaries and Obama won 7(New Mexico is still too close to call) but Obama won all 6 caucuses. Does it surprise anyone else that the "insurgent" candidate would win all the caucuses?

For the Republicans, it was McCain's night. Winner-take-all rules in the the big prize states gave him a huge delegate lead, even though he lost many states. To me, the big surprise is that Huckabee had a strong showing. With his opposition truly divided, McCain should conquer the Republican nomination soon.

Raised By Republicans said...

Because of the proportional distribution of delegates, the close wins are essentially ties - although depending on the district map, Hillary could end up taking more delegates out of Missouri. California is a big one for Hillary. Her win was big enough that she could really dominate the delegate count there.

Another feature that we see is that Clinton benefits from well documented "Black-Brown" conflicts. This bodes well for Clinton in the biggest state remaining, Texas.

One other thing. Nebraska may be more like Iowa than Kansas. There aren't a lot of African-Americans in Omaha (unlike Kansas City). But it could still go for Obama.

Raised By Republicans said...

As for why Obama wins in Caucuses. He does better among better informed voters. Several exit polls have shown that.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I hate to make an ugly suggestion, but I will. Race matters primarily in the sense that black voters favor Obama by a wide margin. Gender matters in that women generally favor Clinton by 10 points. These aren't the big deals in this race. While age is a big factor in one sense, it's not in another: it's simply true that under-30 voters are a small portion of the electorate.

The big deal for non-black voters is social class. The plainest divide is by income and college education. Clinton wins the blue collar vote; Obama the white collar vote. This trend is broadly true everywhere. The Latino vote for HRC is really as much about social class as it is about race, if not more so.

So, Obama wins caucuses because except where there are organized voting blocs (e.g., unions, Mormons) caucuses are the province of the politically active, college-educated middle class. Caucuses also have an age bias, in that the very old and infirm (who might use mail ballots) don't have the stamina for a nght of caucusing.

For the general election, I think this is an argument for Obama. Independent voters are far more likely to be white collar voters than blue collar (in part, this explains the Obama results - many white collar independents are voting in primaries too). The Republican electorate is also more educated and wealthier than the Democratic electorate as a whole, so there is some crossover appeal there.

Note, this comment about Republicans being more college-educated seems counterintuitive to some, who see college towns and college profs as Democratic. This is true, but that's about university crowd, not about the alumni. Given the cost of college, college students in general are more likely to be upper-middle class than working class. As a consequence, there has always been a very, very clear vote among those with college degrees for the Republican party.

(I must say, I can hear the Clinton camp bemoaning these results and the split primary: Why can't those Obamanauts just shut up and vote for Hillary like they're told? She's earned it. She's the party regular. She put up with the blowjobs and the other women. It's her turn, dammit).

The Law Talking Guy said...

Please ignore my parenthetical gripe if you prefer. As for California being a "big win for Hillary" I must ask: really? She was leading by 20 points in the polls until last week. To then win by 51% of the vote is not exactly thunderous. For a front runner, the polls should be heading in the opposite direction. The gap should be widening (a la McCain) not shrinking.

Dr. Strangelove said...

To win the largest prize of the night--the largest state of all--by 10 points counts as a big win for anyone.

If California had been Hillary's home state, we would have put a mental asterisk next to the win, as we do for Illinois and New York. If it had been a closed primary or a caucus, we might have called it unrepresentative. But Hillary won with 52% of the vote, as high as the most optimistic poll had shown for her. That her victory was widely anticipated does not make it less of a victory, though it does not add "momentum".

Dr. Strangelove said...

Side note: Presidential elections do not always follow the education trend LTG noted.

In 2004, Kerry beat Bush by 11 points among those with post-graduate degrees. Kerry tied with Bush among all college-educated voters. Bush won because he won non-college-educated voter segment by 6 points.

I wonder... if Hillary had won the caucuses instead, would you have sung the same tune, or instead dismissed the results as unrepresentative?

The Law Talking Guy said...

Dr.S - if HRC had won only caucuses, yes. We don't have that situation here. Obama won primaries in MO, DE, GA, AL, IL, CT, and NM. So it's not about caucuses vs. primaries.

It does seem to me now that it is almost unthinkable that we would have a ticket without both Clinton and Obama on it. Can Clinton swallow her pride and be VP if she comes up short in delegates? Will the superdelegates crown Hillary no matter what? I hope very much that a bargain is struck between the two of them that preserves at least the veneer of democratic legitimacy for the presidential nominee, and guarantees "participation" by the losing candidate as vice-presidential nominee.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I followed the CNN/exit poll link from the 2004 race. I want to correct the record as to the voters for each party.

First, the income/party continuum is very clear: wealthier voters favored Bush.

Second, among those with some college or a college degree, Bush won 54% (that is over 50% of the voters). This reflects the income vote, I argue.

Only among those with post-graduate degrees did Kerry win (just 16% of the voters). This probably captures the fact that Ph.D. holders and academics are not well-paid and liberals. It also probably captures the fact that many underpaid liberal teachers have masters degrees.

Dr. Strangelove said...

If you would care to look one box further down that CNN/exit poll link, you will see that among ALL with a college degree, Kerry and Bush tied at 49%.

Bush's lead among those with an AA or BA was countered by Kerry's lead among those with a post-graduate education, which I remind you in addition to "Ph.D holders and academics" also includes groups like nurses, doctors, lawyers, MBAs...

Among those without a college degree, Bush won 53% to 47%.

The Law Talking Guy said...

I looked at that box, but then I looked further. "All degree holders" includes post-graduate holders. I was pointing out that if you exclude post-graduate degree holders, the college-educated voted for Bush.

Dr. Strangelove said...

Your original statement was, "The Republican electorate is also more educated... than the Democratic electorate as a whole... there has always been a very, very clear vote among those with college degrees for the Republican party."

I replied, "Side note: Presidential elections do not always follow the education trend LTG noted. In 2004, Kerry beat Bush by 11 points among those with post-graduate degrees. Kerry tied with Bush among all college-educated voters."

Your response was to write smugly, "I want to correct the record as to the voters for each party." But you agreed completely with my figures. So you weren't correcting ME or "THE RECORD" at all. Rather, you were correcting YOURSELF.

Because your original statement (read it again) was inaccurate and misleading. In the 2004 race, just as many people with college degrees voted for Kerry as for Bush. The only difference is that those who voted Democratic tended to be BETTER educated, not less.

The Law Talking Guy said...

For someone who agrees with me (and is therefore brilliant) read Gerard Baker of the Time (Latte Liberals vs. Dunkin Donuts Liberals)

Dr. Strangelove said...

Gerard Baker's article is about divisions among Democrats.