The Dartmouth Observer

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by Listed on BlogShares

Thursday, May 29, 2008
Why Obama Has a Pledged Delegate Lead

Sadly, it seems that Barack Obama wins elections through two tactics: (1) knock his opponent out the race (Alice Palmer, and attempted on Sen. Clinton) and (2) low turnout manipulations.

MyDD did an analysis of the caucus-primary in states that had both (NE, WA, ID, TX) and come up with this. In every state that had both a caucus and a primary, the primary had far greater participation and a stronger vote for Hillary Clinton – this was true in Texas, Washington State and Nebraska. When participation expands, Hillary’s vote expands. The figure plots Hillary's (blue) and Obama's (red) perfomance in the primary in each of those four states (y-axis) vs. their performance in the caucus in each of those four states (x-axis). A linear fit for each of Hillary's and Obama's data is generated (whose equation is given), each of which have a very high R-squared value, indicating a clear correlation.

For example, in the February 9 Nebraska caucus when less than 40,000 people participated, Senator Obama won with 68%, but in the May 13 Democratic primary when more than twice as many people voted – nearly 94,000 – Hillary’s and Senator Obama’s respective votes were 2 points apart (HRC 47 / BHO 49).

The irony of this is Obama is seen as the candidate who has inspired millions to come to the polls seeking change; the reality is that inspirational candidate, Sen. Clinton, is suffering from a caucus state hijacking. If you follow the link on millions, you will note that most caucuses range between 0.3% to 5.2% of registered Democratic voters. (The two exceptions are Nevada, at almost 10%, which Sen. Clinton won, and Iowa at 16%, which Sen. Obama won, but included far more candidates.) Primaries on the other hand, range between 25% to 40% of the eligible voters. (For comparibility purposes, the Michigan primary had a 20% participation rate, the Florida a 33.8%, and Ohio a 40.5%.)

In the states that held both primaries and caucuses, attendance at caucuses averaged 40% of the primary turnout. This is an invitation to distort the results. Consider two examples:

Washington (34%)
238,000 Caucus turnout
691,381 Feb 19 2008 State Primary

Nebraska (41%)
38,571 Caucus Turnout
94,905 May 20 2008 State Primary

The increase in participation in the primaries has been driven by core groups favoring Hillary, led by women, Latinos and older voters. Overall, more than 22 million Democratic primary voters were over the age of 45 this year, compared to less than 10 million who voted in the 2004 Democratic primaries. Women primary voters rose from 7.56 million in the 2004 Democratic primaries to more than 21 million to date in 2008 – from 54% to 58% of the Democratic primary electorate. At the same time, Latinos increased from 9% to 12% of the Democratic primary electorate, from 1.26 million in 2004 to 4.42 million in 2008. In Ohio, for example, women rose from 52% of the Democratic presidential primary voters in 2004 to 59% in 2008. And, in California, Latinos made up 30% of Democratic presidential primary voters in 2008, compared with 16% in 2004. In both the 2000 and 2004 general elections, 17% of voters were under age 30, while the percentage over the age of 45 rose from 50% in 2000 to 54% in 2004. Those results, and the 2008 primaries, suggest that any strategy built on an increase in the Democratic voting base should take into account women, Latinos and seniors.

How do we know that the Democratic Party nominating apparatus has been hijacked? Because Sen. Clinton has won the popular vote and substanitally more counties that Sen. Obama. (She has won 1,654 counties; Senator Obama has won 1,299 counties.) For example, in following states, Hillary won the following number of counties:

State Counties Hillary Won Total Counties in State
Arizona 13 15
Arkansas 72 75
California 39 58
Indiana 83 92
Kentucky 118 120
Missouri 109 115
New Jersey 16 21
New Mexico 27 33
New York (home state) 61 62
Ohio 83 88
Oklahoma 76 77
Pennsylvania 60 67
Tennessee 86 95
Texas 227 254
West Virginia 55 55

Her base extends into more parts of the country – especially rural areas – and offers a key benefit to achieving progressive change: she can assist House and Senate candidates win close elections in these parts of the country. For example, consider this 'primary boost' in the Kentucky Senate race.

Rasmussen. 5/22. Likely voters. MoE 4.5%

McConnell (R) 44
Lunsford (D) 49

Mitch McConnell, of course, is the Republican minority leader in the Senate. This Rasmussen poll was taken 2 days after Kentucky voted in its primary, giving Lunsford a resounding win in the primary to take on McConnell in the fall. But the general excitement and engagement created by the Democratic presidential primary doesn't hurt either. Check out Rasmussen's simple read of why Democrats may have a shot to pick up so many senate seats this cycle.

The underlying reason that so many Republican seats are at risk is that fewer and fewer Americans consider themselves to be Republicans.

Rasmussen elaborates in its May 3 partisan trends analysis:

During the month of April, 41.4% of Americans considered themselves to be Democrats. Just 31.4% said they were Republicans and 27.2% were not affiliated with either major party.

April was the third straight month that the number of Democrats topped 41%. Prior to February of this year, neither party had ever reached the 39% level of support. [...]

The partisan gap now shows the Democrats with a 10.0 percentage point advantage over the Republicans. That's the largest advantage ever recorded by either party. In fact, before these past three months, the previous high was a 6.9 point percentage point edge for the Democrats in December 2006.

The 10.0 percentage point advantage for Democrats is up from a 2.1 point advantage in December.

Remember when the Obama partisans wanted the primary to end and suggested than an extended primary was 'bad' for the party? Clinton, again, proves that it takes a fighter to make a party.

Historically, the Democratic Party’s success – and failure – with presidential nominees has hinged on winning in rural areas. Senator Kerry's underperformance in these areas cost him Ohio (-20 among rural voters); West Virginia (-11); Missouri (-33); and Nevada (-43) – all states with whose rural voters Hillary performs strongly. According to a recent poll conducted in NH, PA, OH, MI, WI, IA, MN, MO, FL, VA, CO, NM and NV by Greenberg Quinlan & Rosner and Greener & Hook for the Center for Rural Strategies, Hillary and Senator McCain both enjoy the support of rural America. Hillary ties Senator McCain among rural voters, who cast 23% of general election ballots; Senator Obama trails Senator McCain by 9 points with the same voters. Furthermore, Hillary has won 10 of the 15 districts rated “toss-ups” for 2008 by the Cook Political Report. They are: • AL 05 • PA 10 • TX 22 • AZ 01 • MS 01 • NJ 03 • NY 25 • NY 26 • OH 15 • OH 16. Without her strength, and indeed, if there is a rejection of Obama, we could lose.