Sunday, February 10, 2008

Comment from a friend

One friend, who isn't supporting either candidate, takes issue with the importance of Obama's red state wins on Tuesday. 
I agree that Obama had a strong night.  And it is impressive that his vote grows over time as people get to know him.  This is not as impressive as it sounds at first because Hillary has broad but shallow positive name recognition among Dem voters (why she led all along as did Giuliani for a long time) that ought to yield some as voters get to know a real alternative.  Still, impressive.
But the argument that his electability is higher because he won in some red states!  That is positively stupid!  It was a freakin' Democrat primary.  Kerry won all those primaries except for South Carolina, I believe.  The problem in red states is not winning the primary, it is winning the general.  There were more voters in the Republican primary in Alabama than in the Dem one and Georgia was nearly even.  Further, the data is clear when you look at the cross-tabs, he won big there because he got nearly all of the black vote.  Democrats in those states always get most of the black vote.  Republicans win in the general because they dominate the white vote.  So, to be direct, which candidate has likely got more crossover appeal - the one who can win white voters or the one who wins black voters?
And who brings out unexpected voters?  When the polling in advance and even the exit polls are wrong, that means either sentiment shifted last minute (NH) or that unexpected voters showed up.  Who keeps exceeding these expectations?  HRC.
I think he makes some good points, but I have zero doubt that Obama will play much better in red states than Clinton in the general election.


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