Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Obamaptimism

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In all the hoopla surrounding South Carolina and the Kennedy endorsement, it’s tough to remember that Obama is still heading into Super Duper Tuesday at a significant disadvantage, especially in big states like California, New York, and New Jersey. (Note: as of 2 PM on 1/29 the charts on polllster.com haven’t taken South Carolina and the possible Kennedy bump into consideration yet.) But there’s reason to be hopeful—the latest Survey USA poll has him down 11 points, 49 to 38, up from 15 points down two weeks ago and 30 points down in December. Nor have the polls been especially reliable this time around; the likely voter models haven’t really been reliable in any state, most recently and most notably in South Carolina, where a twelve-point projected victory turned into twenty-eight points.

The always reliable Douchebag of Liberty Bob Novak writes in the Washington Post today that Clinton’s lead in California may be significantly softer than it looks:

Clinton’s double-digit lead in California polls over Sen. Barack Obama is misleading. Subtract a Latino voting bloc whose dependability to show up on Election Day always has been shaky, and Clinton is no better than even here, with Obama gaining.

The poll’s demographics are more important. Clinton has dramatically lost support among blacks, now trailing Obama 58 percent to 24 percent. It is a virtual dead heat among white non-Hispanics, 32 percent to 30 percent. The 12-point overall lead derives from a 59 percent to 19 percent Clinton edge among Latinos.

In California, the Latino vote is notoriously undependable in actual voting, especially when compared with African American turnout.

Novak also notes that independents (who can only vote in the Democratic primary in California) and young voters (who are notoriously unpredictable) are two additional wild cards that may work in Obama’s favor.

In the New York Times, David Brooks echoes the thoughts of a lot of people when he writes that “something fundamental has shifted in the Democratic party”:

Then, in the speech’s most striking passage, he set Bill Clinton afloat on the receding tide of memory. “There was another time,” Kennedy said, “when another young candidate was running for president and challenging America to cross a New Frontier.” But, he continued, another former Democratic president, Harry Truman, said he should have patience. He said he lacked experience. John Kennedy replied: “The world is changing. The old ways will not do!”

The audience at American University roared. It was mostly young people, and to them, the Clintons are as old as the Trumans were in 1960. And in the students’ rapture for Kennedy’s message, you began to see the folding over of generations, the service generation of John and Robert Kennedy united with the service generation of the One Campaign. The grandparents and children united against the parents.

Matt Yglesias and his commentators even offer some slim hope for a close finish in New York City and State, albeit with a possible assist from the Good Lord himself:

A big icestorm upstate and a light rainstorm in the city on Feb 5 could be very good for Obama. Remember there is no early voting in NYS. To vote absentee you have to specify a reason why you can’t make it to the polls.

All I’m trying to say is this: Keep hope alive, bald people.

Written by gerrycanavan

January 29, 2008 at 7:57 pm

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