Obama looks to the West
by Jerome Armstrong, Tue May 27, 2008 at 06:40:07 AM EDT
Obama has been campaigning in the states of NV, NM, and CO, in a campaign swing. I remember questioning a few months ago, what his electoral strategy would be, around February. At that point, that line of questioning looked obscene to those that viewed Obama as the candidate whom would be competitive "everywhere", but clearly now, we know he's not.
Take a look at the Rasmussen poll for Kentucky:
Obama does not compete well at all throughout the Appalachia and Ozark areas of the country, and those traditional battleground states that Presidents win, Kentucky and West Virginia, are off the map for Obama, and in states like Virginia and North Carolina, he wouldn't be following the roadmap that other Democrats have traditionally used to win statewide; even in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Obama would need larger urban percentages to offset the Appalachia losses he's likely to incur, likewise in Missouri and Arkansas where he's not shown pull in the Ozarks.
So getting back to Obama and the SW:
Bush lost New Mexico by 366 votes in 2000, and won it four years later by only 6,000 votes.
Nevada has proven similarly competitive, with Bush winning the state both times by less than four percentage points.
In Colorado, Bush's margin of nine percentage points in 2000 dipped to five points in 2004. Democrats have since won a Senate seat, the governor's office, two congressional districts and control of the state legislature.
"I believe as a Western senator I understand the issues, the challenges of the future for these ... states, whether it be land, water, Native American issues, preservation, environmental issues," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press.
He said his positions on a number of issues -- "pro-life, pro-military, pro-small business" and immigration -- "will allow me to receive the consideration of the Hispanic voter."
And win over Latinos:
Obama, an unknown on the national stage until 2004, had two problems at the outset, Richardson said. Hispanics were not familiar with him, and the Clintons had built strong support within the community over the years.
"Obama clearly has work to do," said Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a progressive think tank and advocacy group that has studied immigration and the Hispanic vote.
But Rosenberg and Democratic strategists say, despite the slow start, the Illinois senator will win over the constituency, if only because the issue environment favors him . Hispanic voters, like other demographic groups, feel the effects of the economic downturn and have turned against the war, they say.
Obama advisers are mapping out a strategy that targets Hispanics, who make up 37 percent of the eligible electorate in New Mexico and 12 percent in Colorado and Nevada, according to the Pew Hispanic Center. It will include exposure in the Spanish language media, paid advertisements, heavy campaigning in Hispanic areas, registering Hispanic voters and sending well-known Latino leaders such as Richardson out on the trail.
Aside from the SW, Obama 'may' have a better draw in Florida than those traditional battleground states listed above. Perhaps we'll know more on June 2nd, whether he has pull among Puerto Ricans, which compose a strong constituency in FL, and that could point to a more favorable landscape than the current outlook in FL.
It's an oddity that Clinton has become the stronger GE candidate against McCain. When I voted for Clinton back in Feb, she wasn't any stronger than Obama, but as the campaign has went on, Clinton has become stronger against McCain than Obama, even as her chances to win the nomination dwindle. As someone that just wants Dem to win the presidency, Clinton wasn't my first choice, but her chances look pretty good now.
A few months is a long time, because also back in Feb, I thought that Clinton would be stronger in the SW, and as we've seen, it's actually the Appalachia/Ozark areas that put her over the top against McCain in these battleground states, but Florida remains a key for Clinton as well.
With Obama as the Democratic nominee, a lot of states are going to be in play against McCain, going both ways, and in the coming months the states could change, but its also becoming clearer which states are in play, and which are not, in a McCain-Obama match-up. Anyone who thinks its a slam-dunk either way isn't paying attention.