The state of race

Gallup has a post-Iowa national poll out. What it shows is on par with Rasmussen's findings. Basically, that the drop of Clinton is divided among gains by Obama and Edwards:

            Now       Dec
Clinton     33        45
Obama       33        27
Edwards     20        15
With an expected New Hampshire win, its betting-time on which of these scenarios plays out:
“I grant you, one scenario is that this guy (Obama) is a superhuman rocket ship that is never going to come down,” Trippi said as Edwards spoke to a rally in Hampton on Monday night. “The other scenario is that every time you have had one of these rockets go off, every time it becomes clear this guy is about to be the nominee, everybody steps back and reassesses it.”

“On Wednesday morning, people will wake up and say, ‘Jeez, this guy (Obama) is going to be our nominee,’” Trippi said. At that point, Trippi said, a closer examination will occur: “The world is going to say, who the hell is this guy?”

Markos thinks it's the former, calling Obama's rise of 3 percent in Rasmussen and 6 percent in Gallup, a "surge" and a "tsunami", and doesn't see how Clinton recovers. Readig through the congratulatory comments, it reads that "it's over" has become the conventional wisdom.

It's not over by a long shot.

Part of why, is Trippi's take:

“If you were going to fall under his spell, wouldn’t you have done it by now?”

Nationally, Obama, with 33 percent, is tied or trails Clinton currently. After New Hampshire, Obama will likely get another bump in the polls, but compare this with Kerry. In 2004, after Iowa, Kerry, at 30 percent, led by 13 to 16 percent over the nearest challenger; after New Hampshire, Kerry, at 42 to 49 percent, led by 30 to 35 percent over the nearest challenger.

Obama is not anywhere near the candidate-postion of Kerry. The other thing thing to recall, about surges and tsunamis, is that they are temporary.

Blogger fladem has a must-read here on the race, pointing out that "what history teaches about the current state of the race: it is far from over." There will be a big swing to Obama, but that bounce is reversible. True, with Kerry, there was no reverse, but there are three recent instances (1984, 1992 and 1996), when the bounce from New Hampshire substantially receded about 3 weeks afterwards.

Obviously, the race has shifted from "Clinton's to lose" to "Obama's to lose" but he certainly can. Let's look assume a clear NH victory by Obama (anything otherwise would awake the "its over" crowd on its own) and look at what follows:

Jan 15: Michigan
Jan 19: Nevada
Jan 26: South Carolina
Jan 29: Florida

Feb 5: Super-duper Tuesday

Obamafans will be quick to point out that Michigan and Florida don't count, which is ludicrous. Yes, the DNC has weighed in, but at this point that's largely symbolic. If it matters, there will be a battle and a convention vote of whether those delegates from Michigan or Florida will be allowed, and I will bet on the side that argues voters from Florida should not be disenfranchised- especially if not allowing them allows one candidate to win over the other (akin to a stolen nomination).

Edwards is the real loser in dropping out of Michigan, a state with a lot of pissed off voters, strong in labor, a democratic voter primary. Obama knew it was a potential drag to his Independent-Republican base for winning in the first four key states, and wisely cajoled Edwards into pulling out too. Given two first victories in IA and NH, if Obama had stayed on the ballot for Michigan, he could have continued his path to the nomination via Michigan and its delegates while doing nothing, which is why I've called it a blunder. You can argue all you want about the DNC committee's position on MI, the fact is that Clinton will get a symbolic win-- and pad her real delegate lead with real supporters that will be heading to the DNC convention.

There will be 10 days to pass between New Hampshire and Nevada; then 7 days till South Carolina, and 3 days till Florida.

Nevada is a bit of a wildcard. You have to assume that Trippi is correct, and Obama gets the Culinary endorsement, but 10 days is a ways, and that's going to provide a window. If Clinton, or Edwards, won in either Nevada or South Carolina, that would shake up the race, but Obama seems poised to win them both, and then Florida.

Now, unlike Michigan, Obama and Edwards are on the ballot in Florida. It presents a quandary for them: do they campaign there or do they ignore Florida? Do they wait and see what Clinton does first?

The Republicans are going to be battling it out in Florida for 10 days, following South Carolina. The media coverage will be huge. There will be polls on both sides. I don't see how Clinton can ignore Florida, and expect to go into Feb 5th with any kind of momentum. It's got demographics that favor her, and is a closed democratic primary. And if Clinton goes big into Florida, I don't see how Obama or Edwards can ignore the state's election, and then it matters even more, and a Clinton win in Florida is even bigger.

That's Jan, then on Feb 5th, Clinton is going to win a lot more states and their delegates. So will Edwards. They will both ensure that Obama does not have enough delegates to win the nomination on his own.

So there it is. This certainly isn't a new scenario that I've laid out, and is right in line with the expectation that Clinton would stumble out of the gate. I realize that now is the time to get swept away by the media swoon for a sensationalized moment of declaring it's over, but it's not. We can check back to this post at the end of the month to see who's right.

Tags: 2008 election (all tags)



Re: The state of race: Optimism

I think the scenario you have laid out is possible Jerome.

However, the scenario is not plausible at this point in time. I do think a majority of Democrats will get swept away post NH and then, well we saw this story in 2004.

Still, I respect and admire your optimism at this point, I just don't feel it is incredibly likely.

by Trowaman 2008-01-07 10:18PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race: Optimism

It's not optimism. It's a "false hope" that Edwards has any chance at all. When you get beat by HRC and Obama among union households, your message is not catching on.

I find it hilarious that Edwards touts his 2nd place finish in Iowa...he didn't even defeat HRC by .5 percentage points.

For the mean time, I like that he's around...for Obama's sake. It's also nice for him to make stupid comments about HRC's little breakdown. It allows a nice "class" contrast with Obama who declined to score political points.

by Louverture 2008-01-07 10:26PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race: Optimism

The problem with comparing Kerry's post victory bump with Obama's is that Kerry was not running against a former first lady and a very popular 2 term president. This just sounds like more of the Mark Penn, "where is the bump" analysis. Democratic voters who live outside of the primary states are just now getting to know Obama and you can see the very rapid shift toward him in SC and in the national polls. Right now, I just don't think there is a recent model to accurately predict the outcome of this race except for those who had to run against George Bush after his father had been president.

by commoncents 2008-01-08 04:44AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race: Optimism

It is really called wishful thinking not political analysis. When you begin with siding with some candidate, you end up suporting your words about them regardless of the ditch you are speaking out of. Down is not a pleasant direction for anyone who foolishly committed at the beginning.

by shergald 2008-01-08 08:45AM | 0 recs
Analysis vs wishful thinking

How up are you feeling?

Look this is a site for thoughtful looks for the data as they actually appear. You can disagree without calling someone "foolish". The level of dismissal on this thread is in retrospect stunning.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-09 01:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Analysis vs wishful thinking

I responded to this:

"the scenario is not plausible at this point in time. I do think a majority of Democrats will get swept away post NH and then, well we saw this story in 2004."

And I don't think calling an opinion, not a blogger, foolish is not beyond fair criticism, especially as an antiHillary supporter.

by shergald 2008-01-09 05:45AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Funny who no one is capable of analyzing this race but through the lens of the race in 2004. It's this same thinking that had everyone balking at and Iowa turnout of over 200K.

This isn't the same race. The Clinton brand name is still quite powerful. You thus need more victories before you can finally defeat it.

We need to dispense with the habit of seeing 2004 has a harbinger of anything.

John Edwards will not be the nominee. Period.

by Louverture 2008-01-07 10:22PM | 0 recs
He's looking better than she is.

Edwards is in a better position now than Hillary. Her collapse is the big story now, and it's dragging her campaign down. Edwards deftly joined in to help finish her off and frame this race as change vs. status quo. She sure didn't like being called "status quo" either, did she!

I think her inability to control her emotions the past couple of days have been very revealing, and voters have no doubt noted that as well.

by MeanBoneII 2008-01-07 10:28PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Jerome your scenario is plausible.

I don't even think the election would be over by Feb 5 , I don't think any candidate would pick up the delegates needed by then.

If your scenario plays out Clinton would be ahead in delegates but not enough to clinch the nomination.

I have suggested after NH , she signals to the media she is breathing new life into her campaign , dramatically reshuffle strategy , personnel and style.

I hope Mccain rises , might help her , because if he loses to say Romney then the whole discussion would be that change is in the air but if Mccain wins then experience is still in the game , then dem voters might do a double take on Obama and the media scrutiny of him might awake.

Dump a few people , especially Mark Penn , sideline Howard Wolfson  be more accessible.

Dump Nevada and South Carolina if there is no chance of you winning and signal to the media it is part of your new campaign strategy , it is depressing to watch concession speeches after concession speeches. Let Obama/Edwards fight it out in those states for once , in retrospect maybe that is what she should have done in Iowa . Let Obama/Edwards fight themselves not tag team her.

With the republican race still in flux , with Guiliani , Mccain still in it , the dem race would probably still be in flux too.

Change your campaign style , be more accessible to the media , throw away the tight control of message , answer tons of questions and make sure you win On Feb 5.

Leave the rest to the voters , at this point thats all she can do.

by lori 2008-01-07 10:29PM | 0 recs
Don't forget the super-delegates

The ones that are currently holding out may be hedging in case Obama makes a clear break out, there being no upside to publicly committing to what turns out to be the losing side. But absent a clear national preference for one candidate these people can and in my view probably would swing in line behind Hillary. After all her current lead among them is almost 2 to 1.

Joe Lieberman and Al Wynn are in office for a reason, the Washington establishment is just not in the habit of turning on their own. I am not (as yet) an Obama supporter but those that are might want to think about this: when you are running FOR generational change you are effectively running AGAINST just about everybody who automatically qualifies as a super-delegate. A nice clear win on Feb 5th for Obama and everyone comes together for a nice group hug. Whereas any scenario that has a relatively even split between Obama and Clinton or a viable three way race with Edwards still in the mix after Feb 5th means a scramble for the supers, who make up a full 20% of the overall delegate count.

Flipping off the Establishment is fun and may be a great way to motivate young and first time voters, but it carries its own downside risks.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

There is no hope for Edwards. Why does he think his message will ever catch on?

He is just as pathetic as Clinton.

Everyone needs to drop out now and let Obama and McCain go head to head.

by Louverture 2008-01-07 10:35PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

You do not wear the inevitability argument with any more class than the other guys did.

by Steve M 2008-01-08 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Oh yeah, and Obama takes the national lead big time after NH.

He's on the way up.

by Louverture 2008-01-07 10:36PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

wow, how about trying to say things all in one post and trying not to bash a candidate in 5 different other posts? how about trying to add an ounce of analysis instead of shouldering off any viewpoint because it disagrees with your own?


by KainIIIC 2008-01-07 10:52PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Edwards needs to stand down.

He can fight corporate greed at the Justice Department.

by Louverture 2008-01-07 10:37PM | 0 recs
He's in for the long hall!

Things are getting interesting. Besides I don't see why he should make it easy for either Clinton or Obama, both of whom are essentially running on the policies he put forth. Fuck 'em both, I say.

by cosbo 2008-01-07 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: He's in for the long hall!

That's fair.

by Louverture 2008-01-08 04:29AM | 0 recs

Not just a word in the dictionary, a good thing to add to political commentary.

There is a time and a place for endless cheerleading and pep talks. Like right now at the Obama website or perhaps on a diary, but maybe not on a front page comment thread.

I don't like to troll rate anything but pure hate speech and your comments certainly don't rise to that level, but I learned a valuable lesson watching the ratings wars at dKos back in the day: twelve comments on a thread equates to twelve opportunities to get down rated. I used to call it 'Hidden Comment Land', when you visited as I did from time to time you found whole sequences of back and forth exchanges of 'I know you are but what am I' between two posters that were simply put out of their misery by frustrated TU's. But still resulted in a huge hit to their respective mojo scores.

Make a point. Which you did. Respond substantively to people who disagree. Which you didn't. You might try the latter, you might even like it, who knows?

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 07:58AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Note: Gave this a 2 not because I necessarily agree, I just thought it didn't deserve a troll rating.

by X Stryker 2008-01-08 12:07PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

The prospect of a two-man race with Edwards is intriguing.  But in Trippi's comments, which you were leveraging from, he makes the following observation:

He's at 25 percent. The Rasmussen Poll, which is the only national one I've seen since Iowa, has him at 25. I'll tell you why: They have massive doubts about this guy -- on their own."

Doesn't that argument weaken with each point Obama gains nationally?  Isn't he taking a pre-NH snapshot and building his strategy from that?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-07 10:59PM | 0 recs
Not if it's erased by the hits...

in the next two weeks. You don't really think the Clintons are going let sail to the nomination do you?

by cosbo 2008-01-07 11:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Not if it's erased by the hits...

No, but I'm guessing that Obama won't necessarily be sitting on 25% either as we head into February.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-08 12:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Not if it's erased by the hits...

He now has an RCP average of 29% today. And why does everyone suggest that Barack Obama is simply going to sit on his > $100 war chest and allow Clinton to define him. It's laughable. He is heading to her home turf on Wed for a fundraiser and announcing more endorsements. He is going to fight her hard as he has until now.

It's as though everyone has forgotten that Obama' campaign was considered dead in the water over the summer. He has fought his way back into this and isn't about to passively hand it over.

by commoncents 2008-01-08 04:51AM | 0 recs
Dead in the water?

A little overstated methinks. Certainly there was a narrative of Clinton inevitability but I don't recall anyone equating that to Obama being hopelessly out of the race, if so he would not have been able to raise that $80 million dollars to start with.

Obama supporters have a right to be proud of his success to date but trying to build fictional 'come back kid' narratives around him is kind of nonsensical.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 08:04AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

D you really expect to get objective analysisb from Trippi?

My thinking is that after NV & SC that money starts becoming an issue, people start to.truly believe, not just bloggerw, that maybe she is done for. The crowds get smaller, the media coverage more derisive, Bill starts to crack, and close friends signal to her that she should consider dropping out. A Gore endorsement fr Obama might precipiate all of the above even earlier.

by highgrade 2008-01-08 03:36AM | 0 recs
Hillary raised $100 million in 2007

Chances are that all rent checks and all staff paychecks and most ad buys have already been paid for for January, the notion that the Clintons are going to be scrambling for spare change to buy another gallon of gas in the next couple weeks kind of ignores the huge amounts of cash that have been raised by both Obama and Clinton. This isn't 2000 where campaigns limped out of each primary flat broke and desperately hoping donors wouldn't pull the plug before the next one weeks down the road, the compressed calender and the large amounts of 2007 fundraising have changed the dynamic.

Back in the day of winner take all primaries and California holding theirs in June it was commonplace for otherwise strong candidates to simply be squeezed out by money considerations alone, but this year you just have to keep the lights on for a month. If you can point me to sources that suggest the Clinton campaign has been on a cash burn rate that will leave the cupboard bare in two weeks then I would appreciate seeing it, otherwise I can't see that money could conceivably be an issue in the short run.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 08:16AM | 0 recs
The fact is that...

It's quite possible that none of the candidates finish eachother off soon enough and we go into the disaster scenario that is a brokered convention.

by MrMacMan 2008-01-07 11:23PM | 0 recs

would that be a disaster?

Who is afraid of democracy? A lot of people seem awfully content to allow two or four states to call the campaign for the whole country. Christ on a crutch in 2000 the Iowa caucuses went off on January 24th, the NH primary on Feb 1st. This really odd notion that this year we can't wait until February 5th to sort this out is a little baffling to me. What's the damn rush?

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 08:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Why

A brokered convention is actually nothing like democracy.  Democracy means 50 states vote and the winners win.  A brokered convention means a very small group of people get together in a room and decide who the nominee is going to be.

by Steve M 2008-01-08 08:47AM | 0 recs
Not necessarily

It depends a lot on the makeup of the individual delegation. This isn't Chicago 1968 and the introduction of superdelgates changes the dynamic by quite a bit. The notion that fairly independent DNC committee members and 565 congressmen are simply going to let a small group of people get together is a smoke filled room to decide this thing is to be living 40 plus years in the past. Superdelegates total right on 20% of the total and in a close race have the power to swing the election.

It wouldn't hurt this country to have the nomination go to two or three ballots and let the delegates sort it out. In the days of winner takes all the kind of behind closed doors decision making was a lot easier, in these days of proportional representation I don't know if the model still works. These days candidates may be able to deliver individual delegates, which doesn't mean that can deliver delegations.

And to the extent the candidates do have the power to cut a deal well what is wrong with that? If we go through an entire primary season and everyone has their say and there is no clear winner then let the deal making begin. That is certainly a hell of a lot more Democratic than the people on this thread saying that this thing is so over that everybody should concede ahead of vote counting. Numerically this thing may be over by Feb 5th on the other hand it may not. Friends this is not a coronation no matter how happy you would be to see your man king.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

I want to go on record saying that I agree with Markos and I believe it is the former, Obama will continue to surge in the polls and barrel through all the competition, Democratic and Republican, with the momentum of a freight train. Expect a DOUBLE DIGIT victory margin in the GENERAL election.

by wiretapp 2008-01-07 11:58PM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

I agree with you. Jerome lays out an interesting argument but it feels like grasping at straws to me. If you believe that Dems were just looking for an excuse NOT to vote for Hillary and being curious about Obama, then you have to think the current momentum is going to carry Obama to a quick victory.

How many chinks can Hillary sustain before even her ardent supporters see her as damaged goods?

As much as I like Edwards message I think he is a non-factor right now.

We are seeing a tsunami of a movement.

by Greg The Wisconsin Democrat 2008-01-08 04:08AM | 0 recs
'You have to think'

Well no you don't. Your argument like most here simply relies on gut feeling combined with five days of poll movement. It is called the expectations game.

What if Obama wins but only by two points? What are the headlines tomorrow? How do you know the media won't decide that the message in that case should be 'Obama falters' or 'Hillary surges'?

A double digit win by Obama today combined with an endorsement by the Culinary Union backed by a real push in Nevada combined with pride backed huge turnout among African American's in South Carolina and then Florida and the end result is Obama tsunami. On the other hand not every earthquake actually launches a tsunami. Both Romney and Clinton thought they had a pretty sure path at one time, Obama supporters shouldn't allow themselves to get trapped into an entitlement/expectations trap.

I am getting a little concerned here. Because the Democratic Party really needs these new young voters and independent crossovers. I think it would be a tragedy if people got their hopes so pumped up that they stayed home on Election Day simply because Obama was not at the top of the ticket.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 10:24AM | 0 recs
Obama Rocket Approaches Zero-G

In Trippi's opinion, should Axelrod get a 5 or 6 million dollar bonus?

by mboehm 2008-01-08 12:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama Rocket Approaches Zero-G

NOW I know who you are!

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-08 12:19AM | 0 recs
by mboehm 2008-01-08 12:35AM | 0 recs
Re: how do you beat this?

Only the true believers, and there are hundreds of thousands of us, anticipated the outcomes of the Iowa caucuses and these momentous last few days.  And all these months we have been patiently predicting a landslide general election victory for Obama to howls of derision.  Yet anyone could have looked at the volunteer ride-boards on the Web a month ago and gotten a hint of what was going on.  In the first week of December I saw a message from someone looking for a ride to SC because the Obama campaign had already absorbed as many volunteers as they could handle in Iowa and NH.  That's when I realised we were really going to do this thing.

Man, that's some powerful, Kool-Aid we've been drinking, ain't it?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-08 01:11AM | 0 recs
I drank the Dean Kool-Aid in 2003

Tasted much the same. Iowa seemed like a total lock for Dean a week out. Plenty of money, plenty of emotion, plenty of kids in orange hats, we were riding an irresistible wave. And it felt mighty good at the time. But then the establishment candidates in alliance with the establishment media did a two-for on our change agent and we woke up baffled and angry. WTF happened?

Predicting that Obama will win New Hampshire today is simply a matter of analyzing the available data, every poll I have seen shows a 8 to 12 point lead, Obama is drawing rave coverage from the MSM while Hillary is still struggling with the challenge of Clinton Rules. But extrapolating from that to tsunamis and landslides and double digit General wins smacks more of fanboy talk than analysis.

The media wrote McCain off. Until an unexpected Huckabee win made them want to puff him back up. There are both legitimate and illegitimate openings to attack Obama and you can bet both will be exploited in the next couple of weeks. The notion that he will simply get a free pass to November is ridiculous. For example who is Goolsbee? I know who he is, where he is placed within the Obama campaign, and what implications that has for domestic policy in an Obama Administration. I also know that Obama's lead guy for foreign policy is Tony Lake. That too has implications for the shape of a future administration. These things are simply not going to go unexamined in an orgy of admiration. At some point there will have to be a transformation from the land of wish fulfillment to that of comparative policy analysis. Or at least one would hope we could raise the decision of who would be the next President of the United States somewhere above the level of electing a Prom King.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: I drank the Dean Kool-Aid in 2003

Having tasted both this recent batch is definitely sweeter.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-08 09:45AM | 0 recs
But we ended up choking on it last time

That you like the kool-aid better doesn't mean much, intensified blind faith is still blind faith.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: But we ended up choking on it last time

That's a bit of an assumption on your part.  Some Obama supporters have been at this for a long time for compelling reasons.  You can tell who they are easily at the moment, the folks engaged in this election with unexploded heads.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-08 11:00AM | 0 recs
I read polls

Moreover I follow this site and dKos and particularly the Obama threads. I know where his support was a month ago and where it is now. Most of the posts here simply assume that the surge has given Obama a firm base for further assent. Which is to say the Clinton position about two months ago. There is nothing inevitable about this.

Obama has mobilized a large number of people who didn't participate in prior elections and others who don't identify with the Democratic Party to participate in an open caucus and an open primary and that is a wondrous thing. He has erased a ten point lead in national polls and supporters should be happy about that.

But some of this has gone ridiculously beyond giddiness, this time around it seems the kool-aid ended up with a fresh jolt of Everclear.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 12:15PM | 0 recs
Re: I read polls

Everclear?  Is that like Red Bull or is it some kind of emetic?

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-08 05:18PM | 0 recs
That is what you get for being young

And bumptious.

190 proof grain alcohol. Available in not all states but popular at certain campus gatherings. I suggest combining it with some Clamato and a generous hit of tabasco to get over your otherwise inexplicable high from yesterday.

As for emetics my stomach feels fine this morning. Yours?

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-09 01:10AM | 0 recs
Re: That is what you get for being young

Young and bumptious?  I'm fifty-three and bumptious.  And my stomach is fine but otherwise badly hung-over this morning.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-01-09 10:38AM | 0 recs
This is the media stage, not the delegate stage

Who cares if MI and FL delegates get seated?

The main thing is, nobody will be saying, "Hillary wins Michigan!" because, like Harkin in Iowa in 1992, nobody gives a flip if you win when the other team doesn't bother to suit up.

By the time somebody seats those delegates, we'll have had a nominee for months.

But yeah, Edwards shouldn't have let himself be suckered out of Michigan.  Of all the early states, it was his best shot.

by RT 2008-01-08 01:24AM | 0 recs
I gave you a 2

Because of your point about Michigan being Edwards best shot.

But in point of fact every newspaper and political news site I read yesterday made a point of mentioning that Romney took Wyoming. Even though for the most part nobody else bothered to suit up.

So I don't believe the Harkin/Iowa 1992 comparison works for Clinton/Michigan 2004, Harkin had Iowa locked down for all kinds of reasons that don't apply to Michigan this year. Maybe the MSM will make an attempt to highlight the fact that most of the candidates were not on the ballot, but history shows most people don't get much past the headline which will be 'Hillary takes Michigan'

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 08:49AM | 0 recs
February 5th

You keep saying that both Hillary and Edwards will win states on February 5th, but that seems counterintuitive. Obama is close to having a lead in the national polls and will have a large lead by next week. If he does win Nevada and South Carolina like you say that lead will get larger. As much as Hillary and Edwards can try and fight in the February 5th states his national lead at that point will likely be immense. He might lose New York and maybe New Jersey, but he should win the vast majority of February 5 states.

by Obama08 2008-01-08 02:33AM | 0 recs
Clinton takes New York (I think)

And has a really good shot at California.

The levels of certainty that pervade this thread are a little eery. Particularly given certainty that is explicitly ground in intuition. For example the following would be a rational statement:
"Obama is close to having a lead in the national polls and SHOULD  have a large lead by next week."
Whereas this one is simply faith based:
"Obama is close to having a lead in the national polls and WILL have a large lead by next week."

You don't know the latter. You can hope that it will be so, you can work to make it so, you can try to convince people that the evidence is running in a way that makes it probably so, but you simply don't KNOW that it WILL be so.

Look almost nobody bought the DMR poll. There was simply no way that Independents and young people would turn out at the numbers that were being predicted. Then it happened, Obama caught lightning in a bottle, and supporters are perfectly justified to be happy and confident. Just don't get carried away. Deaniacs can tell you plenty about how enthusiasm by the end of the day doesn't always give the results you want.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Obamafans will be quick to point out that Michigan and Florida don't count, which is ludicrous. Yes, the DNC has weighed in, but at this point that's largely symbolic. If it matters, there will be a battle and a convention vote of whether those delegates from Michigan or Florida will be allowed, and I will bet on the side that argues voters from Florida should not be disenfranchised- especially if not allowing them allows one candidate to win over the other (akin to a stolen nomination).

If the delegates in MI and FL are used to turn an Obama nomination into a Clinton or Edwards nomination, that would be suicidal for the Democratic Party.  I have a strong suspicion that AA voters would be so pissed they would either sit out the election en masse or vote for the Republicans out of spite.  

by Will Graham 2008-01-08 02:34AM | 0 recs
You forgot the most important thing

Neither Hillary nor Edwards will have the money to compete by February 5th.

Obama will probably win Nevada on pure momentum, he will surely win South Carolina big by getting nearly all the African-American vote, MI won't matter not because of delegates but because there's no one else on the ballot, which leaves on Florida.

I don't see how anyone beats Obama in Florida just because of the African-American vote, but even if it happens, that's not enough time for an opponent to gather the funds necessary to compete nationally on February 5th.

This is a stupid primary calendar for just this reason; there's very little chance for any momentum shift in this calendar. And if one candidate has the African-American vote locked up like Obama will ... "very little chance" becomes "virtually no chance."

by BriVT 2008-01-08 02:58AM | 0 recs
Re: You forgot the most important thing

The african american vote isn't large enough in FL to make Obama win on that alone. He won't win in n. fl and doesn't seem to be doing well with the Hispanic vote. We'll really have to wait for a poll to see what happens.

by Ga6thDem 2008-01-08 09:22AM | 0 recs
Re: You forgot the most important thing

That's true, and I wasn't very precise in what I said ... what I meant was that I believe that Obama will have a massive majority in the African-American community, giving him such a large bloc of votes that simple buzz and momentum can give him enough in the rest to carry him to the finish line. Especially in a three-way race.

Not definite, and I'm not sure how likely it is, but it's certainly well within possible ...

by BriVT 2008-01-08 11:46AM | 0 recs
What's Hillary's burn rate?

She raised $100 million in 2007. Has she spent it all already? Where?

The only way Clinton has actually blown through all that money is if she has already paid the staff and rent bills for January and made all the ad buys in advance, which means she would be competitive through Feb 5th anyway.

According to one source at the end of the third quarter Clinton and Obama were roughly tied with $73 and $75 million apiece. cs/blog/2007/10/cash_on_hand_mano_a_mano _for_c.html
 Clinton released Q4 totals that brought her fundraising to $100 million for the year, the Obama camp to my knowledge didn't publicly release their Q4 numbers which suggests they didn't substantially out raise Clinton, otherwise they would likely have made it a bragging point.

On the other hand a more detailed report from Open Secrets showed Q3 numbers showing that Clinton had cumulatively outraised and underspent Obama to the point that she had a $14 million dollar lead with $50 million to $36 million for Obama. asp
Somebody throw me a link to back up this notion that the campaigns and particularly the Clinton campaign are living hand to mouth. Because I don't buy it. Show me the money.

(This Boston Globe story tries to sell this narrative but is kind of skimpy on details After spending in NH and Iowa Money May be Tight. After noting that Obama raised $103 million in $2007 and Clinton $110, it notes that all candidates all both sides combined spent $23 million on advertising in NH of which $4.2 million was spent by Obama compared to $3.7 million by Clinton.) Anyway you slice it the only way either campaign could possibly be short of money is if they actually had pre-paid expenses for January. Iowa and New Hampshire were simply not that expensive given the unprecedented amounts of campaign cash we are talking here.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: What's Hillary's burn rate?

"Not enough money to compete" doesn't equal "out of money." It just means she won't have enough money to compete with Obama's money across the quasi-national primary of February 5th.

She has money, but she'll need to spend a lot in Florida to try to grab a victory ... leaving her at a big cash disadvantage going into the one day where a cash disadvantage is a big, big problem.

Sure, she'll have money, but it's not good just to have money, you have to have enough money to compete with your opponent.

by BriVT 2008-01-08 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

You keep making the same argument and therefore so shall I:

Obama is more than rhetoric and charisma. He has built a super duper professional field-oriented campaign that is prepared for anything.

His ground game will get his people to the polls, including but not limited to, all those new voters, indies, african americans, and young people. His pool of potential voters is larger than Clinton's or Edwards. That helps him in his margin of victory.

You guys keep acting as if this is being run on momentum like Dean and other flash in the pan candidates. But it is not. There is significant professionalism behind the curtain. I think that you are going to be surprised.

by aiko 2008-01-08 03:02AM | 0 recs
Closed primaries coming up

Iowa and New Hampshire are potential outliers simply by allowing their caucus and primary be open to Independents. I don't know how many Feb 5th states allow that, I would think very few. And registration deadlines are looming. tial-primary-caucus-calendar.php
In Illinois it is today, in Louisiana and Missouri tomorrow. If we see a huge nationwide surge in the next week or so for Indies to register and for previous non-voters to sign up then the dynamic may play out like you predict. I don't know that that is happening.

And while Obama has a professional campaign team you give no evidence why it is super-duper in a way that Clinton's is not. Nor do you give any explanation of why his pool of potential donors is larger than Clinton's. Both of these may be true but consistent with much of this thread much of this seems more based on faith than actual data and numbers. Where are you getting this fascinating information? And can you supply a link?

Not all Obama-skeptics are Obama-haters by any means. But like the campaign Obama-philes are long on confidence but somewhat lacking in specifics.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Another "positive" frontpage entry by Armstrong about Obama. I guess it pays to try and keep this thing a horserace. The national media are not going to give much credence to the MI victory by Clinton.  On Meet the Press on Sunday, Russert showed a graphic of upcoming Democratic primaries (thru Feb. 5th) and it did not include MI. Maybe that is unfair but that is how it will be treated, as a non-story. My guess is the only story coming out of MI, in part, is likely to be MI voters mad that they did not get a chance to vote for Obama and Edwards. I also like Armstrong's dig at Obama that a MI pull out was part of some overarching strategy.  Laughable. Rather, how about it was simply Obama sticking by the DNC and their efforts to enforce Party rules. OBAMA 08.

by Lawdawg 2008-01-08 03:24AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

That's Jan, then on Feb 5th, Clinton is going to win a lot more states and their delegates. So will Edwards. They will both ensure that Obama does not have enough delegates to win the nomination on his own.

This is the major flaw in your reasoning. What makes you think that Clinton (or Edwards, for that matter) are "going to win a lot more states and their delegates" with no real wins pre-2/5? How many states? How many delegates?

Right now, we don't have any post-Iowa polls that I know of for the big 2/5 states, such as NY, CA, TX, NJ, etc. So we can only assume that all of these states are experiencing the same Obama bounce in SC (22 point swing) and the bounce we're seeing in national polls (13-17 points). That bounce will likely also increase after a NH win (and a Nevada win, SC win, etc.) Yes, fladem says bounces can reverse, but they also can stay constant. Without any real indicators that the bounce is actually reversing, you'd have to assume the dynamics of the race stay the same as they are now.

I'll go on a limb and say, unless something seismic happens between now and 2/5, Clinton will eke out wins in NY and AR (where Obama will still get a sizable share of delegates), Edwards will win nowhere, and Obama will hold at least a 2:1 delegate lead over Clinton after 2/5. At that point, if Clinton is still in the race, it will be largely symbolic.

by dwbh 2008-01-08 03:40AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of Jeroms's analysis

For months now, Jerome has been telling us how and why Obama can't win.  His posts are long and filled with all sorts of rhetoric and reasoning.....

There is only one problem, Jerome has been wrong far more than he has been right:

First it was Obama can't raise money, then it was that the money must all be big donors. Then when it was clear that Obama had nearly twice as many small contirbutors as Edwards and Clinton combined, it was because they counted bumper sticker sales.  Then we got to hear about how Obama's huge rallies were not a sign of a movement, just a cult of personality.  Then we were told for months that Obama was not a progressive and we were regailed with elaborate parsings of his rhetoric and voting record.  Obama has subjected to guilt by association attacks for anyone in his organization who had ever said anything centrist. On and on and on....

Well guess what, Obama did exactly what he said he would do:  he built the best grassroots organization in the history of Iowa.  His message and organizing were the driving force behind the lion's share of the enormous turn-out.  Obama won across a huge number of demographic and ideological groups.  

Now Jeroms says, "Obama knew it was a potential drag (referring to MI) to his Independent-Republican base for winning in the first four key states." What's wrong with this picture?  Obama won the Democratic vote in Iowa.  Obama won the liberal vote in Iowa.  Obama split the union vote evenly with JE and HRC.  Perhaps this was just a bit of sloppy wording, or given the context of the past few months, perhaps it is part of a pattern of sloppy analysis.

Now Jerome tells us that it isn't over and lays out a scenario based on the non-compliance of Michigan and Florida and tells us that Clinton is going to get back in the race by winning primaries that Obama will not be compeating in.  I guess it is possible, but it certainly looks like low odds to me.

What no one seems to be talking about is MONEY.  One of the reasons that momentum plays such a key role in the Presidential nominating process is because the candidate that has it can raise lots of money in a hurry, and those who do not, quickly find out that the spigot turns off abruptly.  Any strategy for "going negative" will require lots of paid advertising and huge amounts of money for the Feb 5th states.  

Here is a story from Karen Tumulty of Time e/0,8599,1701153,00.html about how Clinton is already facing a cash crunch.

I think Obama will be up nationally by 10-15% in a week.  Edwards can probably stay in running a low cost guerilla campign, if he so chooses; but it is hard to see the former front-runner and First Lady running that type of campaign.  According to the Time story, she is down to about $15 million in cash.  She is going to have to start choosing her battles carefully.

I think those, like Jerome, who think a Clinton resurrection is plausable are too attached to their candidate, or to their own previous analysis, to look at the facts with much clarity.

by upper left 2008-01-08 03:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of Jeroms's analysis

You haven't been reading, I've said that Obama would win Iowa, and other early states too. Unless you think that he's already won the nomination, that's what's played out so far.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-01-08 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of Jerome's analysis

I realize that your final prediction on the caucus outcome was correct.  Almost every pollster except ARG had it right.

My comment is directed at your many posts critical of Obama in the run-up to the caucus.  I think it is apparent to everyone on this site that you are highly critical of Obama, his rhetoric, his campaign, and his prospects as a nominee.

I would be interested in what aspects of your criticism you feel are still valid, and which, in light of recent developments, you would care to reassess. I think many, including you, badly underestimated Obama and fundamentally misread his intentions.  

Rather than selling out the party, Obama is doing exactly what he said he would do: he is building a majority for progressive change.  He is simply presenting progressive values in frames that are acceptable and accessible to those who are not self identified liberals and not hyper-partisans.  He did after all, win a plurality of both liberals and independents. That is no small accomplishment. Do you care to comment?

by upper left 2008-01-08 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of Jerome's analysis

It's still, lets see what happens and I'm sure I'll comment further on Obama along the way.

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-01-08 09:57AM | 0 recs
you may be right, but... you really think that the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire are that much different than the voters in the rest of the states- especially on the Democratic side?

Your predictions are based on the idea that people are basically very different in other states and therefore are looking for a very different candidate.

I don't buy it.

But, of course, Hillary could win today and prove that Obama does not have widespread appeal.

by d 2008-01-08 03:51AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

A few things Jerome...

1) Trippi made those comments before Obama showed tied or down by 4 in the National polls... He even says in the article that Obama is down by 20.  

2) While I think the delegates SHOULD NOT BE SAT, I agree they probably will be.  

3) It isn't the delegates in this scenario but the momentum and media coverage.  Michigan isn't even really being polled for Democrats and will NOT get the media play.

4) Yes, Edwards and Obama fucked up by dropping out.  THAT was a mistake.

5)  You ASSUME Edwards and CLinton will win a lot of Feb 5 states, but with little polling we have no idea the state of the race.  While I think she will win NY, Obama is going to campaign there (as a win there ends Hillary's campaign)... right now I would say he is better positioned financially than the other two.  Obama will hit Cali hard... he wins there and that will counter balance most things...

6)  I still think that the winner will win by a lot and this is not going to be brokered which seems to be the scenario you are putting forth.  

7) Florida is the question mark... If she DOES campaign there, expect Obama to as well...  I think she concedes NV, SC and FL and hits Cali and other Feb 5 states... She makes her last stand there... I just don't think it will be a good day for her there, but just my opinion.

by yitbos96bb 2008-01-08 03:54AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

The only stolen nomination will occur if MI and FL delegates ARE allowed to vote after they flagrantly flaunted party rules and were barred for it, and those votes change the nomination.  If someone has the nomination wrapped up, then the party will seat the MI & FL delegates and allow them to vote symbolically in the name of party unity since it doesn't matter anyway.  If it matters, they will be sitting on the sidelines watching.  Book it.

They disenfranchised themselves by not playing by the rules in a flagrant power grab that blew up in their face.  Next time, those states should be more careful about party rules.

by NJIndependent 2008-01-08 03:58AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

The cliques that run MyDD and OpenLeft still cling to their own politics of hope, that somehow they can impede the march of Obama and his movement to the nomination. The will of primary voters seems to be clear and the elites that run the blogs seem to be out of touch with that.

by cmpnwtr 2008-01-08 04:08AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

I think the blogger community tended to go two ways:

1) The first group I would call the "hyper-partisans."  This groups take away lesson from the Bush/Cheney/Rove years was a need for Democrats to stand up to the Repubs.  This group was highly suspicious of Obama's "turn the page" "unity" message.  Some bought Hillary's, "I'm tough enough to take on the Repubs" message, but most liked JE's "I will fight corporate greed with every fiber of my being" populist rhetoric.

2) The second group I would call the "cynics."  These folks are either cynical about the VRWC, in which case they tend towards Clinton, or they are cynical about corporate power, in which case they see Obama as lacking ideological purity and as some sort of centrist sell-out.

Neither of these groups were predisposed to support Obama.  Both underestimated the strength and resonance of Obama's message.  Both understimated his generational appeal and his ability to bring in disaffected independents to join his core of educated liberals.

by upper left 2008-01-08 04:46AM | 0 recs
How many primary votes have been counted?

Well we know how Dixon Notch went.

This whole 'the voters have spoken' before any voters have actually voted is spooky, as are talks of 'marches' and 'movements'. There is a line between calm confidence and blind assurance that destiny has spoken. A lot of people seemed to have crossed that line. This is an election and not a coronation.

The cliques that run MyDD and OpenLeft are also people with a lot of experience analyzing political races. They may have this one wrong but this incessant insistence they have have it maliciously and blindly wrong is more typical of a closed in cult than anyone open to a rational discussion.

That the 'will of the primary voters seems to be clear' to a guy that needs to buy a vowel is in the final analysis kind of meaningless. You really, really like Obama. Okay we get that. Me I am cool to Obama largely because of doubts about the specific individuals making up his economics team.

Well neither Jerome or I are demon spawn just because we haven't jumped on the Obamawagon.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 10:40AM | 0 recs
Keep counting those delegates

Have at it.  We'll certainly be voting on 2/5 - I know I will here in IL - and I absolutely hope both Edwards and Clinton stick around.  It's good practice and I'd rather see Obama have to spend a month in the driver's seat as the press and public kick the tires than I would crown him after all of 4-5 days in the driver's seat.  

I'll grant that Obama's not a lock.

But the whole delegate count, HRC can win on superdelegates, we're heading towards a convention floor fight, MI/FL are gonna make a difference is bunk... it's an intellectual exercise in the realm of highly improbable possibilities by a political junkie.  Nothing more.

The modern era is all about momentum, having it, keeping it, stemming it - if you can when you must.   We know where the momentum is.  The owner's doing a fine job so far of keeping it.  Increasingly, HRC at least looks completely incapable of stemming it.  

Trippi/Edwards - smartly, I think - are staying out of the way.  On one of the teevee punditaculars last night, someone related Trippi suggesting that they just need to keep from being swept down the drain and hope for a mistake.  That's probably the best strategy for an Obama challenger -- but it's entirely a longshot and I think any rational, honest person would admit the same.

How can we put some money on this?  I'd really like to make some cash on the importance of MI/FL and superdelegates.

How's this... 3-1 odds.  Obama ends up WINNING the most superdelegates at the convention, despite Hillary's current lead, because they'll line up behind the nominee like they always do.  Name your price - winnings to be donated to a downticket Dem candidate of the winner's choice.

Any takers?

by zonk 2008-01-08 04:14AM | 0 recs

...the superdelegates will end up choosing whoever wins the most in the primaries and caucuses.

It is not legitimate to count them in the tally before they cast their votes at the convention.

by d 2008-01-08 04:53AM | 0 recs
Zonk if it were winner take all

Then you would have a point. If Obama were a lock to take down double digit leads in New York and California you would have a point. But it isn't winner take all, and there are no signs yet that Obama doesn't have a ceiling. If Obama does not have 51% of the delegates selected to date by Feb 5th then this turns into a long term race.

I am afraid your momentum argument is outdated because of the changed way that campaigns raised money this time around. The crowd was largely cleared by Iowa and New Hampshire in 2004 because people needed wins to create momentum to raise money. Because of the compressed calender this year Clinton has the money to take it the distance as of course does Obama. In all likelyhood the January rent checks on the various state campaign offices have already been paid and ad buys lined up.

If Obama had come in third in Iowa and I was saying that despite having millions of dollars on hand and a vision of change that he should simply bow down in front of inevitability you would likely have been outraged. And justly so.

Hillary has money, she has drive, is pretty clearly at her last chance to run for the Presidency (whereas Obama can come back if he loses). The notion that she would, could or should drop out is really just wish-fulfillment talking.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 10:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Zonk if it were winner take all

Thing is - I'm actually NOT saying anyone, JRE or HRC, should drop and endorse.

I've got posts here, at TPM, and DK where I say precisely the opposite.  By all means, let's have a good month-long kicking of the tires.  We absolutely, positively shouldn't just crown Obama, not today, not tonight, not tomorrow, not Jan 19th, etc.  Hell, while I think the Clinton reputation and legacy gets a big tarnishing if the 527ing of Obama comes to pass, I'm not particularly worried about it from a tactical perspective.

I'm not trying to build up Obama inevitability, either.  This is site for political wonks and junkies to spout off their own brand of amateur analysis.   My own amateur analysis of the 'modern era' of political campaigns is that the new media and the internet are accelerators, reinforcers, and redoublers of trends... NOT chaoticizers (is that a word?) of them.  Sure - as we saw with Macaca, the Scream, and others -- trends can flip in stunning fashion, but they certainly don't seesaw back and forth.  

We've got our narrative.  Unless Obama makes an earth-shattering mistake, this is all over but the crying.

by zonk 2008-01-08 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Zonk if it were winner take all

BTW... I'm dead serious on the 3-1 odds downticket donation offer for anyone interested....


by zonk 2008-01-08 11:15AM | 0 recs
Still on?

E-mail me.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-09 01:24AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

No, I'm sorry. Michigan and Florida shouldn't count.

Or should suffer a penalty of some sort.

You don't get to break the rules.

by MNPundit 2008-01-08 04:51AM | 0 recs
A three-way race

What I'm wondering about is what happens if these remains a three-way race with a weakened Clinton dropping to mid-twenties nationally, a slightly stronger John Edwards finishing in mid-twenties to low thirties in some states, and Barack Obama continuting to do well, but rarely making it over 50 percent.  Since almost all of the Dem states award delegates on a proportional basis, how does Obama get a clear win if he doesn't break that 50% ceiling  in most states?

by katerina 2008-01-08 05:14AM | 0 recs
Re: A three-way race

He doesn't which is the point of the whole post (and apparently lost on most).

by Jerome Armstrong 2008-01-08 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: A three-way race

The problem is that it's hard to get continued funding for a primary campaign when all you're accomplishing is holding the frontrunner under 50.  At some point the money people are going to throw in the towel.

After all, if the only convention scenario under which Obama loses is 100% of the Clinton/Edwards delegates teaming up to defeat him, it's extremely unlikely to play out that way.

by Steve M 2008-01-08 08:52AM | 0 recs
Steve the money is in the bank

I searched around and could find little evidence that any of the major campaigns face any real strain. We have donations levels double and more of what they were last cycle at this point whereas I don't see any evidence that campaigning is proportionately more expensive.

Bill Clinton made it to the convention having spent $42 million in 1996 George Bush blew minds by spending a totally unprecedented $95 million in 2000. And this got each all of the way to the conventions. Unless someone can explain why running this time around is burning through dollars at vastly higher rates considering the hyper compressed schedule I am not buying the money argument.

If the positions were reversed I really doubt Steve would be arguing that Obama's power to raise funds had simply vanished. This go around the money people are not the money people of the past. Howard Dean let the genie out of the bottle and it is not going back in. You really can raise tens of millions of dollars in very short periods of time without relying on traditional large dollar donors. Until recently Ron Paul didn't register in the polls and even now is only reaching 10%, somehow that didn't cause the money people to stop reaching for their wallets. Because his money people are not really money people at all. They are enthusiastic people who each can throw in $20 bucks.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 11:18AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

That's Jan, then on Feb 5th, Clinton is going to win a lot more states and their delegates. So will Edwards. They will both ensure that Obama does not have enough delegates to win the nomination on his own.

Here's the 2/5 states -- tell me, worst-case scenario for Obama, which Clinton wins and which Edwards wins (and with what money?):


by Adam B 2008-01-08 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

First of all this is premised on four things:

(1) The media coverage of Obama shifts, in the next 10 days, from its current "glowing" state to something more sober and judicious.

(2)Southern states are slightly more resistant to national trends than other states.

(3)Clinton has enough money to mount a vigorous tv ad campaign

(4) John Edwards continues to mount a strong campaign through Feb. 5th and is included in all forums and debates; Bill Richardson drops out before Feb. 5th.

(5) Hispanic voters will continue to have a slight bias toward Clinton.

Certain for Obama: IL, MA, AK, DE, UT, ND, MN, ID, CO, AZ, MO.

Likely for Obama but contestable: TN, AL, GA

Strongly competitive: NJ, OK, NM, CA

Likely for Clinton but contestable: AR

Certain for Clinton: NY

Likely for Edwards: n/a

Expect that Edwards competes hard in CA, TN, AL, GA, OK. Expect that Clinton competes hard in NY, NJ, AR, TN, AL, GA, CA, OK.

by blueflorida 2008-01-08 07:42AM | 0 recs

I don't think (3) and (4) will be true, based on reports I've seen ... they will have to pick and choose their battles.  You've roughed out a decent list, but I think a third-place finish for Edwards in SC makes GA a dicey proposition.

I'd concede NY/NJ/AR to Clinton, but that's about it.  If Obama's really ballsy, he campaigns hard in New York and forces Clinton to defend her home turf, while Obama's field operation and CoH strength lets him win CA.

by Adam B 2008-01-08 07:51AM | 0 recs
Why the doubt on 3?

We know Clinton raised about $110 million in 2007. Why is that not enough to staff offices and run ads for what is only a four week period?

You mention "reports I've seen". Can you point me to some of them? Because I have been looking and beyond a vaguely sourced and detail lacking article in the Boston Globe from Jan 6th am not finding anything definitive to show that Clinton will be pinched on ad buys in any way that Obama is not.

'Obama's field operation'. Can you spell out specifically why Obama's field operation in California is superior to Clintons?

'CoH strength'. Likewise do you have any evidence that Obama's cash on hand position is actually any stronger? The Boston Globe piece said he outspent Hillary on NH (and Boston) TV by $4.2 to $3.5 million with a smaller amount raised to date.

Near as I can tell this cash advantage thing just came out of thin air and seems to be based on events in the future. Where's the beef?

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Why the doubt on 3?

TIME reporting the Clinton cash crunch, and Tom Edsall reports only $15-20M CoH.

There won't be new money for Clinton's campaign -- not without results.  Where would money come from?

Obama has field already set up in 17/22 of the 2-5-08 states, more than Clinton.

by Adam B 2008-01-08 11:59AM | 0 recs
Time was thinly sourced

And in retrospect this is too funny.

"There won't be new money for Clinton's campaign -- not without results"

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-09 01:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Time was thinly sourced

Well, she's got her results.  We'll see how much it cost to get them.

The downside of her winning is that now she has to compete in NV/SC.

by Adam B 2008-01-09 05:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

>>"If you were going to fall under his spell, wouldn't you have done it by now?"

But Jerome, you're assuming that the nation has been subject to the same level of face time that Iowa and New Hampshire has had with Obama.  To most of the nation, Obama is a guy they see on the news, they haven't seen the ads or the speeches, he hasn't been in their living rooms.

While the race isn't over, I think Obama could blow the race open by making a big NATIONAL ad buy ... I'm not talking ABC News, I'm talking NFL playoffs, American Idol, big, expensive old media.  He's going to have a huge money edge over Hillary post NH ... now it's time to introduce himself to the rest of America before Hillary has time to re-define him.

by Dan Conley 2008-01-08 06:53AM | 0 recs
Please Obama & Hillary for the last

year have been shoved down our throats and out our asses. EVERYBODY knows who he is. And he will be defined no matter what he does.

by cosbo 2008-01-08 07:31AM | 0 recs
Dan you might want to look at ad rates

Obama is not going to have a huge cash advantage over Hillary post NH. It is not clear he is going to have any cash advantage over Hillary.

A great deal of coverage I read finds that Obama is most effective when he can work a crowd directly. I suspect that effect degrades a bit when you reduce it to a 30 second ad.

Obama is not going to be able to work the rooms in California and New York the ways he was able to do in Iowa and New York. Moreover the people he is most strongly appealing to are people under 40. Funny thing about people in that bracket, by and large they don't have as much money as the fifty and older people.

Obama is running on a message of generational change, which translates to 'move over Boomers'. Well electorally it may work, I don't see much future in it getting Boomers and seniors to open their wallets. The more he focuses on 'change' and defining Boomers as the fundamental problem the riskier this strategy gets. I am not at all convinced that Boomer Democrats are the problem and that the solution is for Gen-X Dems and Reps to gather together and forge a new path forwards. The decidedly un Gen-X Republicans who control their party are simply not interested in change. I am not willing to finance a campaign that asserts the problems are not based on deep ideological divisions but instead on squabbling Boomers.

The money piece will sort itself out but I suspect Obama supporters are simply deluding themselves that he can open up some huge fundraising lead on momentum alone.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 11:44AM | 0 recs
I like this post

Because it ain't over.  And because all the early nominating states have selected a candidate who ultimately won't win, future nominating contests won't be decided this way!

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-01-08 06:55AM | 0 recs
Re: I like this post

Yes, we sure learned that lesson after 2004, didn't we.

by Steve M 2008-01-08 07:01AM | 0 recs
Open the pod bay doors, HAL!

How about zeitgeist 2008 = Obama.  Can't you feel it?  

by mboehm 2008-01-08 07:38AM | 0 recs

What I see is a bunch of mutually reinforcing wish-fulfillment.

There is all too much talk about 'zeitgeist' 'movement' 'marches' for my taste. The whole thing is taking on overtones of crusade with Obama destined to be the one to retake the holy land. In fact more than anything it reminds me of the Children's Crusade of 1212 (which ended badly for the children).

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 11:50AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

Obamafans will be quick to point out that Michigan and Florida don't count, which is ludicrous. Yes, the DNC has weighed in, but at this point that's largely symbolic. If it matters, there will be a battle and a convention vote of whether those delegates from Michigan or Florida will be allowed, and I will bet on the side that argues voters from Florida should not be disenfranchised- especially if not allowing them allows one candidate to win over the other (akin to a stolen nomination).

There's a HUGE difference between the delegates being seated and them making a difference, which you don't seem willing to acknowledge. The delegates from MI and FL will only be seated after the nominee is chosen without their input, so they can vote for the nominee in a show of unity for the party. If their votes can make any sort of difference in who we choose for our standard-bearer, then they won't get a voice (and rightfully so).

How well do you think it would go over if Michigan, a state where only Clinton is on the ballot, is allowed to vote for Clinton, and that is enough to put her ahead of Obama for the nomination? Michigan and Clinton broke the rules, while Obama followed them, and the powers that be in the party steal the election from Obama? It'll be on the same level as Florida 2000. If the party officials steal the nomination from the first African-American Presidential nominee by changing the rules in the middle of the game, it will spell the destruction of the Democratic party. And rightfully so.

The most important thing isn't the delegates, though. It's the media. And as was previously mentioned in this thread, the media is ignoring Michigan for the Democrats. It's not a real contest. And the perception created by the media is all that matters in this whirlwind of a Presidential race. If a primary takes place, and no one reports on it, did it really happen?

On another note, 2008 is not 2004, as you say. On one hand, we cannot expect Obama to have this thing tied up after New Hampshire because that is mathematically impossible. Even John Kerry didn't gain enough delegates to guarantee himself the nomination until April of 2004, but we all stopped paying attention long before then because he was leading nationally and in just about every state. Once that scenario arises for Obama, then it is over.

One last thing: Anyone who says that Obama isn't popular because he's not getting the same bounce as Kerry is willfully ignoring history. Kerry rose in the polls in a dramatic fashion not because he won, but because Dean lost in such a spectacular fashion. Dean imploded after Iowa, causing his massive ship to go down all at once. Clinton did no such thing, and is hanging around still. The fact that Obama isn't yet blowing everyone away in the polls (except the Republicans) isn't a sign of Obama's weakness, but rather a sign of Clinton's diligence.

by Kal 2008-01-08 08:34AM | 0 recs
About Joe Trippi's comment

In total I think you're wrong about how to perceive what's happening with Obama but in specific I can offer this rebuttal to Joe's comment, "If you were going to fall under his spell, wouldn't you have done it by now?"

I wrote about it last Wednesday.

Maybe I can hope now

Barack Obama won in Iowa last night. ...

I'm so relieved. I've wanted him to do well but a part of me has been hesitant to jump in with both feet. I did so with John Kerry in 2004. It took me a long time to recover from the hurt of his defeat ... Now here we go again.

I'd be happy with any of our top three nominees.  I see positives and negatives to the candidacies and potential administrative policies of each of them.  

But Barack brings hope.  And we need it.

by vbdietz 2008-01-08 10:12AM | 0 recs
Obama will win b/c people hate Bush

Obama will win it, b/c people are super hungry for something that does not stink of Bush, fear, and the last fifteen years. That's why so many new voters! Once Obama gets a few wins under his belt, it'll become a coronation, b/c every single person voting for him doesn't want him to beat Hillary or Edwards, but BUSH and whoever comes after him on the Rethug side. That's the battle.

This is just the first few games to sort out starting quarterback. Winning the White House is the real battle. People want new blood in the White House and they want it bad!! Hillary is done; she's from the past. The past smells bad these days.

by marqpdx 2008-01-08 10:18AM | 0 recs
you win a kewpie doll

It's a combination of the right message at the right time AND an exceptional candidate.

by mboehm 2008-01-08 10:52AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

I've been running campaigns for close to 20 years now.  This analysis, and similar ones from Chris Bowers at OpenLeft, reminds me of the mental process campaign staff tend to go through to fend off despair when working on a race that appears to be going down in flames.

The improbable and implausible always seem more realistic when you way behind.  But its still improbable and implausible.

It certainly ain't over, but the most glaring flaw in your analysis is the status of Michigan and Florida delegates.

If the DNC reverses course and seats those delegates contrary the established rules of the process -- and those states provide any candidate the winning edge -- it would tear the party apart at the seams.  It would make the 1968 convention look like a love-in.

Beyond that, Obama will now have a substantial money advantage going into Super Tuesday -- one that will continue to grow if, as is being reported, Clinton pulls out of Nevada and SC to focus on the big national primary day.

In short, your post reads like a whole lot of wishful thinking.

by Grady 2008-01-08 10:23AM | 0 recs
Can you supply links?

Obama seems to have outspent Hillary in NH from a smaller base. That he gets a financial boost is likely, that it is significant enough to open room between him and Hillary a lot more iffy. Is there really evidence that the new voters he is bringing on board are bringing cash with them? And is there really evidence that the establishment behind Hillary is going to be impressed with a message of generational change? Particularly since they are generally in the generations from which Obama is trying to change from? To the point that they will just stop giving to Hillary out dispair?

And where is that Clinton pullout of NV and SC being reported? A NV pullout in particular doesn't make sense to me, how much could it cost to keep the lights on and ads up in what is essentially a two media market state for two more weeks? You would think rent was already paid and ads booked by now.

Plus I think you are missing Jerome's point on MI and Florida. The question is not whether they will be seated, the question is whether the results serve to lower the Obama heat wave. The results will get reported just as Romney's Wyoming win was. It may not be big news but it will be news printed on the same page of the paper as the other campaign coverage.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-08 12:03PM | 0 recs
Trippi as a reliable source?

Uhh... Jerome?  I think you're mistaking Joe Trippi for a reliable source.  

There will be no two way race, only a scramble for who will fill out the top of the bottom.

Obama is already acting like the nominee

by IowaCubs 2008-01-08 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: The state of race

I completely agree with Jerome with one further addition.  What makes the scenario much more likely is that Obama is exactly the kind of candidate who would lose a surge in support.  By that I mean, and Obama supporters can protest it all they want, that Obama is winning intense support because of his story, his speeches, his personality, and his perceived ability to rise above politics and NOT substance.  People really are getting caught up in an obama wave of good feelings without recognizing that he was a state senator a few years ago, and he hasn't been forceful and outspoken about anything concrete, about anything other than some nebulous theme of "change."  That's going to come into play, and with another candidate in Clinton who is not going to disappear no matter how poorly she does in new hampshire and south carolina, there's an attractive and ready made alternative for the media to latch onto.

by wjr24 2008-01-08 11:03AM | 0 recs
Obama Will Win

It takes a bit of courage for Jerome to buck the tide on this one but I do think he is wrong.  I think it will be over not long after Feb. 5, I'd say Feb. 13 if I had to name a date.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Edwards.  There is no incentive for him to withdraw.  It will be interesting to see what happens later on with Edwards.  He can run a lean campaign more than Clinton.  Right now, I think he is the Number 2 candidate but NH may change that.

I've been through the most contested Dem. contest of a generation, back in 1984, as Wisconsin Director for Gary Hart.  With this schedule we would have won.  Hillary will be out of money and way behind in delegates after Feb. 5.  The Super-Delegates won't save her. New York won't save her.  Obama will do great in California.  Barack Obama won't make any super huge mistakes and, no, I don't think there is anything in his background that will hurt him badly.  It's all over but the shouting, consulting, attacking, strategizing and blogging.

by howardpark 2008-01-08 12:46PM | 0 recs
It's Over

This race is sooooo over.  Obama has this thing signed, sealed and delivered.

Anyone who thinks there is a way that Obama doesn't get this nomination when they look at the upcoming calendar and the current polls is in Fantasyland.  I mean, sure, when I was a Dean supporter, I was always trying to imagine a way that he could come back after New Hampshire, but it just wasn't happening.  It was over, but I didn't want to accept it.  That is what is going on here when people think there is some truly realistic way that Obama isn't the Democratic nominee.

In an hour or so, Edwards and Clinton SHOULD be dropping out of the election, but they both have a lot of money to still waste so they'll continue.

by KISSman 2008-01-08 01:59PM | 0 recs
Most mistimed post ever

"This race is sooooo over.  Obama has this thing signed, sealed and delivered."

Good song. Not so good political prediction.

by Bruce Webb 2008-01-09 01:45AM | 0 recs


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