The Pennsylvania Primary

Tom12-2007-200 After a long layoff, voters finally became the focus of attention again as they went to the polls in Pennsylvania in the moat hotly contested Democratic campaign in my memory. Clinton went in needing a decisive victory of fifteen points or more to but a dent in Obama’s delegate lead. Obama went in needing a close result to pull the remaining super delegates into his corner. Neither happened. Clinton won, as expected, but with only a ten point margin 55%-45%, giving her only a net gain of ten delegates. How we interpret these results depends largely on whose spin you want to hear. The Huffington post has the spin from both camps plus criticism of both from the NY Times:

senator-clinton2The Hillary Victory Spin: Ben Smith reports that Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee at the Park Hyatt in Philadelphia said: “There’s beginning to be a subtle shift of psychology of a lot of the uncommitted supers. [They] are beginning to wonder why Obama has been unable to win this thing despite all the advantages he has.

“There’s a lot of questions that are beginning to surface about him,” he said, while superdelegates are learning that “every time she’s got her back up against the wall, she delivers.”

Here’s her victory speech, where she told a spirited rally in Philadelphia that the “tide is turning” in her nomination contest against Barack Obama.

obama2 The Spin From Obamaland: “Sen. Barack Obama was en route from Philadelphia to Evansville, Ind., when the race was called,” the Washington Post reports, “but the candidate and his advisers were all smiles when they boarded the plane, relieved that the dreaded blowout had not occurred. The news of a projected single-digit win for Clinton — a projection that might yet change — was transmitted via BlackBerrys as the campaign landed.”

“We’ve been very clear from the beginning, we didn’t come in with oversized expectations,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political adviser. “We wanted to get our share.” More here.

In Evansville, the Democratic presidential front-runner told supporters that he was able to narrow the gap in Pennsylvania, register a record number of voters and rally people of all backgrounds to his campaign. After the bruising Pennsylvania contest, Obama said bickering and tit-for-tat politics obscured the great issues of the day – two wars, a recession and a planet in peril. Watch the speech:

NYT Blames Clinton For “Mean, Vacuous, Desperate” Race: The Obama campaign is sending out a New York Times editorial released tonight that blasts Hillary Clinton — whom the Times endorsed. Here’s a sample:

The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.

Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.

If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.

The editorial also knocks Obama:

He is increasingly rising to Mrs. Clinton’s bait, undercutting his own claims that he is offering a higher more inclusive form of politics. When she criticized his comments about “bitter” voters, Mr. Obama mocked her as an Annie Oakley wannabe. All that does is remind Americans who are on the fence about his relative youth and inexperience.

… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <The Huffington Post>

I agree with both criticisms, and call on both to argue issues between themselves and save the vitriol for McConJob.

The Delegate Count:

Pledged Super Total Pledged Super Total
Clinton 1302 254 1556 47.1% 52.5% 47.9%
Obama 1464 230 1694 52.9% 47.5% 52.1%
Total 2766 484 3250

Since I reported delegates on Sunday, Clinton has gained eight net delegates.

Overall, the Democrats will have 4049 delegates at their convention. Of those 3,253 will be pledged delegates and 796 will be super delegates. I oppose the inclusion of the super delegates, because they give roughly 20% of the power to nominate to party insiders. They include Senators, Representatives, Governors, DNC members, and other party hacks, and they are not bound to represent the will of the voters.

As time progresses, it looks more and more like the convention will be brokered with the super delegates deciding the nominee.

The Demographics:

Clinton Obama
Male 48% 52%
Female 57% 43%
HS Grad 64% 36%
Some College 53% 47%
College Grad 48% 52%
Postgrad 51% 49%
Under $15,000 48% 52%
$15-30,000 55% 45%
$30-50,000 56% 44%
$50-75,000 57% 43%
$75-100,000 51% 49%
$100-150,000 60% 40%
$150-200,000 47% 53%
$200,000+ 40% 60%
Party ID
Democrat 56% 44%
Independent 45% 55%
White 32% 38%
Black 11% 89%
18-24 34% 66%
25-59 45% 55%
30-39 13% 57%
40-49 53% 47%
50-64 56% 44%
65+ 63% 37%
Protestant 47% 53%
Catholic 69% 31%
Jewish 57% 43%
Other 41% 59%
None 36% 64%

There’s plenty to analyze there. It’s clear that Clinton needs to improve her image with young people and Obama needs to improve his with blue collar workers.

As I see it, Clinton will not close the gap in pledged delegates, and Obama will go into the convention with a lead in that department. Unless Clinton wins the remaining primaries with decisive victories, I do not believe that the super delegates will tip the balance in her favor. Even then, it would be a toss-up, because deciding contrary to the popular will would thoroughly alienate African American voters, without whose support a November win would be tenuous at best. Therefore I think it most likely that Obama will emerge as the nominee.

In the interim, I call on the supporters of both candidates to reserve your attacks for McCain and support what’s good about your candidate.

All articles cross-posted from Politics Plus


3 Responses to “The Pennsylvania Primary”

  1. lonewordsmith Says:

    This is interesting stuff.

    I wonder how things would go if we began a column (blog) that started work right now on “WHAT OBAMA MUST DO NEXT”?

    I mean after all, we couch potato Guchi political pundits know a thing or two don’t we (in my case: an old-retired PR hack who survived politics, Queensland Australia style)? So let us offer the OBAMA team our sage advice on this.

    Here’s a starter: Laying into ” Washington” was a no-no, Obama, ol’ mate! Try this. ” My fellow Americans from sea to shining sea: Now Yarl know how I feel about those shadow- boxers in Washington don’t you? Well here’s secret: I have great friends among that crowd. THEY know who they are. But I confess before the Lord, honest to Betsy – I goofed. I went ahead and a forgot that many of the big bad guys I really need in the future if elected, actually LIVE in Philly and take the train to Washington every day to do mischief and arrive back home late on the Paoli Local. Shame on me … my friends!”
    …and so on .

    Next: announce a Foreign Policy (go on!) and mention other countries in your next speeches man! It’s the world that needs leadership from the USA and others, not just the good ole USA! I mean, look at the Stock Market and the Dollar. What other ammunition do I need … to tell you how things have been handled up till now? It affects the world..and we need the supporters we have out there – even in old Europe – to start lobbying the party (Democratic that is) folks who caucus and nominate the candidate for the election. THEY are the voters you need, those guys in the real world outside!

    And finally, you NEED A WINGED KEEL mate! Remember how Australia won the Americas Cup from America? A winged keel …that the Ozzies kept under wraps until the last round of the event.
    Do likewise, and switch tracks in your campaign and stop following Hilary’s rabbits down themi burrows!

    Return to the “YES WE CAN” SPEECH and start afresh. Yes you can. But do you have a winged keel in the bag! I hope so. Those Clintons and their helpers know the game and will play it hard. Force them to play with themselves. Excuse the pun. Bur stay out of the sand pit. OK?

    Anyone got some advice for the lad?

    As the late Norman Mailer once said about the Democrats:
    “They have no habits of success.” This man Sen. OBAMA could muff this one and we will all pay the price. Someone please tell him to remember the main game and stick to it. Schnell!

  2. politicsplus2 Says:

    Welcome LWS. My advice to him is to formulate his policy and tell the truth about it without policy.

    The winged keel might help him sail into the White House. 😉

  3. lonewordsmith Says:

    Thanks. I’ve been away. I think that the Georgian disaster is going to force the candidates back to the drawing board, don’t you? Irak has (sadly) slipped from view for a time but should not be allowed to (nor the mere existence of Guatanamo Bay) and now it is boogieman Putin (German for “turkey”) (not his dummy) and the leader in Georgia and his suicidal tendencies that should focus their attention. Where is dear of Kissinger? Can he be stoked up to outrogue the rogues? Talk about Sarejevo 1914 all over again. New ballgame, launched by the likely-lads in Moscow exactly as the light was lit in Beijing. New motto for this election could be: “It’s the oil , stupid!” Lonewordsmith in Schroederland

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