Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Shwing!
The latest Quinnipiac swing state polls have bad news for Pat Buchanan and other political analysts who have created a mini cottage industry out of Barack Obama's supposed inability to win over women and blue collar voters in the traditional battleground states, the way Hillary Clinton did.

Not only does Barack Obama lead John McCain in three crucial battleground states -- Ohio, Pennsylvania, and for the first time this political season, Florida -- his lead in PA is the largest of them all. I guess those "real Americans" in Appalachia are closet Adlai Stevenson fans? The numbers:
  • Florida: Obama edges McCain 47 - 43 percent;
  • Ohio: Obama tops McCain 48 - 42 percent;
  • Pennsylvania: Obama leads McCain 52 - 40 percen
The poll also reveals ongoing demographic challenges for John McCain:
In the three states, Obama leads McCain 10 to 23 percentage points among women, while men are too close to call. The Democrat trails among white voters in Florida and Ohio, but gets more than 90 percent of black voters in each state. He also has double-digit leads among young voters in each state.
And as to the idea of Hillary Clinton on the ticket, even in Clinton Country (Florida and Pennsylvania,) the idea leaves crucial independent voters cold:
  • Florida: Democrats want Clinton on the ticket 57 - 33 percent while Republicans are opposed 59 - 17 percent and independents oppose it 46 - 37 percent;
  • Ohio: Democrats want Clinton for Vice President 58 - 31 percent, but Republicans say no 60 - 19 percent and independents turn thumbs down 47 - 31 percent;
  • Pennsylvania: Democrats say yes to Clinton 60 - 31 percent, while Republicans say no 63 - 20 percent and independents nix the idea 49 - 36 percent.
"If Sen. Obama seriously is thinking about picking Sen. Clinton as his running mate, these numbers might cause him to reconsider. The people who really matter come November - independent voters - turn thumbs down on the idea. And, many say they are less likely to vote for him if he puts her on the ticket," Brown added.
The crucial finding here is that women are quickly consolidating behind the Obama candidacy, or against McCain, however you choose to spin it. As McCain's views become more widely known, he will become even more difficult to market to women, and to younger voters, for whom issues like the environment, ending the Iraq war, holding the Supreme Court and ridding the country of Bush era policies are paramount, and for whom McCain's very real sacrifices in war, frankly, age him all the more because they stem from a war younger voters only know as the father of unnecessary wars like Iraq. Add McCain's newfound zeal for offshore drilling, and you can imagine his stance helping him close the gap somewhat in Pennsylvania, but widening it in the Sunshine State.

By the way, the other problem with McDrilling is that the notion of despoiling Florida's coastline will, as Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times put it on MSNBC this morning, instantly activate a legion of environmental groups like the League of Conservation Voters, who might otherwise have been less exercised by the McCain candidacy. These groups have lists, and they consist of mainly older, supervoters. If McCain's new stance touches off a very real push for drilling in Florida, his stance could fuel increased coordination by environmental groups and perhaps elements of the tourism industry, not only against his candidacy, but against other vulnerable Republicans in November.

I dig deeper into the Florida numbers on the Flapolitics blog, here.

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posted by JReid @ 9:13 AM  
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Re-revenge of the white women
More than a year ago on the radio, I said that if Hillary Clinton became the Democratic nominee, she would be almost irresistible to white women over 50. In fact, I said it all the time. And if you've conversed with women in that demographic, you know that it's true. I predicted that even some Republican women would cross over in November to vote for her, believing it might be their last chance to see a woman win the White House (Gerry Ferraro having been a dud.)

I still believe that's true. What Hillary Clinton primarily has going for her in this election is older white women, who exit polls in Pennsylvania bear out (and New Hampshire made the same case) will stand by her no matter what the polls and pundits say, no matter how much left leaning talk radio and the bloggers dump on her, and no matter how vicious and negative her campaign becomes. Hillary's demographic is tuning all of that out, and if she is not the nominee, white women over 50 will be the biggest challenge facing Barack Obama. Younger women I doubt he'll have much trouble with, except for the fact that they traditionally don't vote in proportion to their population share (ditto with young people.) But older, white women will have to be won over. It may not be easy, because I've also observed that Clinton voters are among the most rabid, the most insistent on their candidate, and frankly, the most angry voters in this campaign.

To that base, Hillary and her team have been very straightforward in adding generic white voters. The conventional wisdom has been that Bill Clinton played the race card by trying to marginalize Barack Obama as "the Black candidate," thus "scaring the hell out of" lower middle class white voters, just as he accused Republicans of doing back in the early 1990s. In this case, the conventional wisdom was right. The Clinton campaign has skillfully isolated white voters, male and female, into their camp, leaving only the most highly educated, and thus most liberal, white voters, plus young voters and Black voters, for Barack. Mathematically, in a state like Pennsylvania, which is significantly older, and significantly whiter, and where white residents have enough proximity to urban Blacks to have a "certain view" of them, Barack can't win, and Hillary, by consolidating voters on the basis of age, gender and race, can. (By way of proof, exit polls show Clinton won ALL white voters, regardless of race.)

Going forward, Barack's challenge will be to begin to peel off white men. Forget older white women until the general: they're as untouchable for him as Black voters are for her. The game, right now, is white men. He can do that through endorsements, he can do it through ads, but at some point, he has to do it directly, probably through a populist economic message that white men who earn around $50,000 a year can relate to. He can also do it by pushing hard against John McCain on the subject of Iraq.

If I were advising Barack's campaign, that's what I would tell them to do.

Previous:

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posted by JReid @ 10:29 AM  
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
No we can't


The margin in PA is 10 points with 91 percent of precincts reporting, and she could pick up 200,000 popular votes out of the state, cutting Barack's lead down to about 500,000. Oh, the Hillary people are gonna be impossible to live with now...

Bitterness update: Exit polls show the Democratic race is getting ... to use a fave media word these days ... bitter. It's not limited to PA. My sister, who lives in Los Angeles, just informed me that the bitterness has so calcified in her that she's lost the ability to feel. OK, maybe that's a little bit dramatic, but I can assure you, the numbness is setting in, I'm sure, for Obama supporters everywhere...

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posted by JReid @ 10:34 PM  
Clinton wins Pennsylvania
The crusty old state of the union goes for the gentlelady from Arkansas/New York/Scranton... All we're waiting for now is the margin. If it's not close to or greater than 10 percent, I think Hillary will have a hard time getting much of a fundraising (or superdelegate) sling shot into next week's primaries in North Carolina and Indiana. And since her campaign is broke, and her big donors tapped out, she desperately needs that sling shot.

In the exit polls, nearly 30 percent of newly registered voters say that if Hillary became the nominee, they would not support her. Still, more Hillary voters say they would be dissatisfied with Barack as said the reverse. We're looking at a hardcore, entrenched Democratic support for Hillary Clinton that's mostly based on age -- prehistoric voters are sticking with the Clintons, it appears based on the belief that they would provide a stronger hand on the economy (I suspect that a lot of the old gals and fellers figure Bill will be running the country anyway. Sorry, that was mean...)

All jokes aside, the exit polls make it clear that age was a key factor in Hillary's favor tonight, as was the fact that 59 percent of the electorate in PA were women, and 37 percent were between ages 40 and 59; another 32 percent are 60 and over. Older voters clearly were not ready to go out on a limb with Obama. They stayed with the safe candidate: Hillary. Similarly, Hillary won white voters across the age spectrum (I guess they're no different from Black voters, eh?) Interestingly, Barack appears to have won men tonight, 52% to 48%.

And with 22 percent of precincts reporting, it's 53%-47%.

Awaiting the margins and speeches. Balloon drops optional.

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posted by JReid @ 9:41 PM  
They're votin' in PA
It may be a bit over-the-top to say this is an election about whether white men "hate Blacks more than they hate women," as Nora Ephron delicately put it on the Huffpo, but the Pennsylvania primary will tell us something about the demographics of the Democratic party -- namely, which demos are more motivated: white, working class men and older women, or affluent whites, Black voters and voters under 30. If the former are more exercised, Hillary wins. If the latter are more 'bout it, Obama will make it close, or could even pull off an upset. And boy, what an upset that would be.

Coverage watch:

Pittsburgh (Post-Gazette)
Philly (Enquirer, Daily News)
Allentown (Daily Call)
Erie (Times and News)
MSNBC
CNN

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posted by JReid @ 9:16 AM  
It's 12 a.m. ... do you know where your voters are?
PA votes this morning! Get some sleep, Matthews and Olbermann...

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posted by JReid @ 12:06 AM  
Friday, April 18, 2008
Newsweek poll: Obama pulling away (nationally)
For all the media's efforts to close this race up and keep it going, a Newsweek poll shows Barack Obama pullling away:
Despite her campaign's relentless attacks on Barack Obama's qualifications and electability, Hillary Clinton has lost a lot of ground with Democratic voters nationwide going into Tuesday's critical primary in Pennsylvania, a new NEWSWEEK poll shows.

The survey of 1,209 registered voters found that Obama now leads Clinton by nearly 20 points, or 54 percent to 35 percent, among registered Democrats and those who lean Democratic nationwide. The previous Newsweek poll, conducted in March after Clinton's big primary wins in Ohio and Texas, showed the two Democrats locked in a statistical tie (45 percent for Obama to 44 percent for Clinton). The new poll puts Obama ahead among women as well as men, and voters aged 60 and older as well as younger voters. (For the complete poll data, click here).

One of the more devastating results for Clinton was that a majority of all registered voters now see her as dishonest and untrustworthy. According to the poll, just four in 10 (41 percent) registered voters view the New York senator as honest and trustworthy, while 51 percent think the opposite. This compares with solid majorities of voters who see Obama and McCain as honest and trustworthy (both polled 61 percent).

The results suggest that Clinton was damaged more by being caught in a tall tale about landing in Bosnia under sniper fire than Obama has been by his recent controversies, including the firestorm of criticism provoked by the Illinois senator's remarks that blue-collar voters "cling" to religion, guns and other issues because of their bitterness. In addition, over half (53 percent) of voters say they believe Obama shares their values, more than those who say the same thing about Clinton (47 percent) or McCain (45 percent).

Even so, the poll indicates that both Obama and Clinton have been harmed by the fierce attacks they have aimed at each other. While Obama has a 57 percent favorable rating among all voters in the latest survey, that represents a 4 percent drop from March, and his unfavorable rating has jumped from 28 percent to 36 percent. Clinton is viewed favorably by just 49 percent, compared to 56 percent in March, while 47 percent view her as unfavorable, compared �"This is not a year for negative campaigning and Clinton's pounding of Obama on his controversial description of small town voters in Pennsylvania does not seem to be working. Obama leads in the Philadelphia and eastern part of the Commonwealth, among African Americans, and Very Liberal Pennsylvanians. He also has a slight lead among voters in union households and has an 18 point margin over those who have lost a job. Clinton maintains her lead among whites, Catholics, Liberals, and Hispanics.

"The gender gap is huge with Obama leading among men by 15 and Clinton leading among women by 15. But Clinton holds a wide advantage on the question of understanding Pennsylvania (58%-27%) and handling the economy of the country (47%-38%). She also is ahead in understanding the personal financial situation of individuals (41%-35%).

"On the other hand, Pennsylvanians by a two to one margin (60% to 29%) are more likely to agree with supporters of Obama that voters in Pennsylvania are bitter about their economic situation than with Clinton and critics of Obama that he is an elitist who does not understand working people.

to 40 percent in the previous poll. Even so, the unopposed McCain has also suffered a setback: his favorable rating has dipped to 52 percent from 55 percent, while his unfavorable rating has increased to 42 percent from 35 percent. ...

Time is running out for Hil. Look for her to take the really big clubs to Obama's knees going forward.

Full poll results here.

Meanwhile Zogby, who's been very unreliable lately (maybe it's because he's partnering with Newsmax...) has the PA race down to 1 point. The undecideds in the Zogby poll: 9 percent. Here's Zogby's take:

�"This is not a year for negative campaigning and Clinton's pounding of Obama on his controversial description of small town voters in Pennsylvania does not seem to be working. Obama leads in the Philadelphia and eastern part of the Commonwealth, among African Americans, and Very Liberal Pennsylvanians. He also has a slight lead among voters in union households and has an 18 point margin over those who have lost a job. Clinton maintains her lead among whites, Catholics, Liberals, and Hispanics.

"The gender gap is huge with Obama leading among men by 15 and Clinton leading among women by 15. But Clinton holds a wide advantage on the question of understanding Pennsylvania (58%-27%) and handling the economy of the country (47%-38%). She also is ahead in understanding the personal financial situation of individuals (41%-35%).

"On the other hand, Pennsylvanians by a two to one margin (60% to 29%) are more likely to agree with supporters of Obama that voters in Pennsylvania are bitter about their economic situation than with Clinton and critics of Obama that he is an elitist who does not understand working people. ...

We shall see. But most polls show Pennsylvania closing. Rasmussen has Clinton up by 3% (47%-44% with 9% undecided in a poll taken the night of the ABC debate debacle) but with 6 percent of Obama supporters saying they could still change their minds (to 2 percent for HRC.)

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posted by JReid @ 7:32 PM  
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
I'd hate to be Alabama
And apparently, so do rural Pennsylvanians. How backward does a state have to be to have its very name be considered an insult?

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posted by JReid @ 9:06 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
Listen now:


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