Let's Stop the Polling Foolishness and Special Pleading

Here are many of the latest poll results as compiled by RealClear Politics.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/ 2008/latestpolls/index.html

It should be noted,

  1. It's notoriously difficult this far out from November to make predictions based on current polls.  
  2. Knowing #1, how could anyone look at these polls and use them to determine who should win the Democratic Contest?

The fact is that Obama has played by the rules and is winning in the delegate count.  In addition, the national popular vote is a myth. It is a bogus metric.  And the media has done the country a disservice by not explaining this adequately.

See, "The Myth of the Popular Vote (or why caucuses may be hazardous to your representation)" and "A New Game: The Metrics Game" http://msa4.wordpress.com/

Democratic Presidential Nomination    Gallup Tracking    Obama 53, Clinton 42    Obama +11.0
California: McCain vs. Clinton    Rasmussen    McCain 35, Clinton 54    Clinton +19.0
California: McCain vs. Obama    Rasmussen    McCain 38, Obama 52    Obama +14.0
Democratic Presidential Nomination    Rasmussen Tracking    Obama 50, Clinton 42    Obama +8.0
Virginia: McCain vs. Obama    SurveyUSA    McCain 42, Obama 49    Obama +7.0
Pennsylvania: McCain vs. Clinton    Quinnipiac    McCain 37, Clinton 50    Clinton +13.0
Pennsylvania: McCain vs. Obama    Quinnipiac    McCain 40, Obama 46    Obama +6.0
Ohio: McCain vs. Clinton    Quinnipiac    McCain 41, Clinton 48    Clinton +7.0
Ohio: McCain vs. Obama    Quinnipiac    McCain 44, Obama 40    McCain +4.0
Florida: McCain vs. Clinton    Quinnipiac    McCain 41, Clinton 48    Clinton +7.0
Florida: McCain vs. Obama    Quinnipiac    McCain 45, Obama 41    McCain +4.0
General Election: McCain vs. Clinton    IBD/TIPP    Clinton 44, McCain 39    Clinton +5.0
General Election: McCain vs. Obama    IBD/TIPP    Obama 48, McCain 37    Obama +11.0
California: McCain vs. Clinton    PPIC    McCain 39, Clinton 51    Clinton +12.0
California: McCain vs. Obama    PPIC    McCain 37, Obama 54    Obama +17.0
General Election: McCain vs. Clinton    Battleground    Clinton 43, McCain 51    McCain +8.0
General Election: McCain vs. Obama    Battleground    Obama 49, McCain 47    Obama +2.0

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The Incredible Shrinking Talking Point

I wasn't around a television Tuesday night so I didn't get a sense at all of how the speeches played or what the media was obsessing over in its coverage of election night. So it was interesting to read this from Poblano on Wednesday:

Last night, Barack Obama clinched a majority of pledged delegates excluding Florida and Michigan, as well as under certain Florida/Michigan scenarios. But, in spite of a big win in Oregon and a well-executed speech in Iowa, the milestone did not quite produce the sense of euphoria and closure that his campaign might have been after. The circumstances of the day -- Hillary Clinton's overwhelming margin of victory in Kentucky, the late hour at which Oregon ballot boxes closed, the subdued tone of the evening necessitated by Senator Kennedy's diagnosis, and some relatively effective pushback from the Clinton campaign on the pledged delegate metric -- conspired to prevent that.

Notice the loaded language..."clinched"..."conspired"...he sounds like he actually thinks a majority of pledged delegates means something concrete as opposed to merely psychological. I mean, the Obama talking point was successful to a point; it got covered by traditional media as though it meant something real and even confused NPR's Michelle Norris who conveniently left off the word "pledged" when describing the delegate milestone Obama would reach Tuesday night. Mara Liasson had to correct her.

Now, I'm not saying the milestone is entirely meaningless, all I'm saying is let's call it what it is: a meme pushed out by the Obama camp to influence superdelegates and the media and to manipulate public perception. I can see how psychologically it would have some power, but let's not pretend the Obama campaign wasn't being manipulative; clearly they were hoping hearing "majority" and "delegates" in the same sentence would confuse people into thinking the race had been won and thus make it so. Alas, it was not meant to be, but good try. It's about time they started playing on that playing field.

Look, the second it became clear that pledged delegates alone were not going to win the nomination for either Obama or Clinton, the use of psychological warfare was fair game; it's superdelegates' jobs to be influenced by things like popular vote, majority of pledged delegates and electability and as far as I'm concerned it's the campaigns' jobs to try to use any argument at their disposal to make the case to them.

What I find remarkable is that the same people who are brazenly spinning this Obama talking point are ridiculing the Clinton campaign for spinning theirs.

Again Poblano.

Yes, [Byron York] really did make this argument about Hillary Clinton and the primaries:

There have been four quarters in the Democratic presidential nomination battle. We're late in the fourth quarter now, and when it's over, Hillary Clinton will likely have won three of the quarters -- and won the most votes overall -- but lost the game.

Mr. York? Mr. York? There's a Mr. Wolfson for you on line four.

I'm not saying York was entirely artful about expressing it, but that argument is no more absurd or off limits than the majority of pledged delegates thing. The problem for Hillary Clinton, though, is that it's just the latest argument that they've advanced that will fail to sway the superdelegates into shifting her way.

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Next Up: MI & FL

While the next actual primary contest is Puerto Rico on June 1, clearly Hillary Clinton sees the May 31 DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting as her next opportunity to net a large cache of delegates and to bolster the foundation of her popular vote argument. At every opportunity during a swing through Florida today, Clinton seemed to put the pressure on the Rules Committee members.

At a campaign stop, Senator Clinton likened not seating Florida's delegates to thwarting the will of the people, a la the 2000 recount.

At an appearance on Wednesday afternoon in Palm Beach County, Mrs. Clinton sharply argued that the party should seat the Florida delegates at the convention. [...]

"The outcome of our elections should be determined by the will of the people, nothing more, nothing less," Mrs. Clinton said at a retirement community in Palm Beach County. [...]

"The lesson of 2000 here in Florida is crystal clear -- if any votes aren't counted, the will of the people isn't realized and our democracy is diminished," Mrs. Clinton said.

Clinton also told The AP that she would take the cause of seating Michigan and Florida to the convention if the DNC's Rules & Bylaws Committee rules against seating the delegations.

Asked whether she would support the states if they appeal an unfavorable rules committee decision to the convention floor, the former first lady replied:

"Yes I will. I will, because I feel very strongly about this."

"I will consult with Floridians and the voters in Michigan because it's really their voices that are being ignored and their votes that are being discounted, and I'll support whatever the elected officials and the voters in those two states want to do."

Does she really intend to take it to the convention? Probably not. Realistically, no matter what the ruling of the Rules Committee is, it's not going to change the fact that Barack Obama is virtually assured to be the nominee. But an affirmative ruling accomplishes several things. For one, it brings closure to Hillary Clinton's fight for the enfranchisement of those states -- giving her a moral victory to end on -- and takes part of the asterisk off her inclusion of MI & FL in her popular vote tally, which could be important in arguing for the VP slot if she's so inclined. As for the DNC, it would allow them to end this historic primary process with all 50 states having had a say, thus mitigating any residual bitterness that might remain among voters in those states. And finally, it would allow Barack Obama to claim an untainted nomination win, having achieved it even with the results of two of our largest states -- not to mention Clinton strongholds -- factored in.

Greg Sargent feels a satisfactory result will come out of the RBC meeting on the 31st and at this point I'm inclined to agree.

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Power to the People

The people are speaking.  Is our party listening?

Early in the primaries, Barack Obama promised that he would win more people over the longer he campaigned.  He said that every state becomes an "Obama state" once he goes there.  But an interesting thing happened as winter turned to spring, and the people kept voting in record numbers.  Hillary Clinton stole the momentum.   Her popularity soared; her appeal broadened; and she steadfastly became the darling of the masses, even as Barack was crowned darling of the mass media.

It started back in New Hampshire, when Hillary "found her voice," but what really happened is that the American people have found Hillary. And there's nothing like raw data to illustrate the point:  

*The Electoral Vote "Poll Watcher" shows Hillary gaining steam against McCain, now leading 310 to 228, with Hillary winning key states like Florida, North Carolina, and West Virginia.  (Obama trails McCain by over 30 EV's.)

*Over the last three months, Hillary has won more contests, gained more votes, and earned more delegates. Since March 4th, she has gained nearly 500,000 more popular votes than Barack Obama as voters in crucial battleground states have made their voices known.

*More Americans have voted for Hillary than any other presidential candidate this cycle. In fact, more people have voted for Hillary than any other primary candidate in history - nearly 18 million so far.

*Just yesterday, Hillary won 150,000 more votes than Obama in Kentucky and Oregon, even though delegate counts will be split fairly evenly.

*Hillary has now won nearly 64,000 more votes than Obama in total, when all caucuses and primaries are included.

Hillary Clinton just keeps winning.  She is the candidate who closes the deal with voters. Despite being out-spent by margins of up to 4-to-1; despite anxious efforts by Obama, his surrogates, and an obedient press corps to convince people that the race is over.  They keep voting for her anyway.  Thankfully there's a stubborn gene in the American people, a natural resistance to authority, and maybe that's why the people love Hillary.  They see her get up with the roosters every day, work herself to exhaustion in pursuit of a dream, and never give up or give in to the nay-sayers.  Hillary, in spite of all the odds, has become a genuine Made in the USA hero, a leader for the people and no longer just "Bill's wife," the other Clinton.

My candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, said in her Kentucky victory speech last night:

It is not just Kentucky bluegrass that is music to my ears. It is the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence even in the face of some pretty tough odds. Some have said your votes didn't matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn't stop you. You've never given up on me because you know I'll never give up on you.

Funny thing...that pesky notion of one-person-one-vote-rules in a democracy, such an irritant to the power-brokers who want Hillary Clinton to pad dutifully back to her seat in the Senate, and forget about the 18 million people who want her to be President, including 2.3 million in Florida and Michigan who knew exactly what they were doing.

Power to the people, that's the lesson from November, 2000.  It's not too late to take it to heart.  Hillary Clinton can close this deal for the Democrats in November.

Note: popular vote statistics from Real Clear Politics

Cross posted at texasdarlin

TexasDarlin, all rights reserved
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign

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Breaking: Early Exits Show Division!

Yes, the title is meant to be sarcastic. While the media will inevitably frame the division found within the early exit polls out of Oregon and Kentucky released today as "Democrats divided," (in fact, they already are) what we're seeing is actually a nation divided -- the stark differences that exist between the voters in two very different parts of the country.

In Kentucky:

In Kentucky, just 33 percent of Clinton voters said they would back Obama in the general election if he is the Democratic nominee - 41 percent said they will vote for McCain, and another 23 percent say they won't vote.

Meanwhile, in Oregon:

Oregon voters felt differently on that question, according to the exit poll. A majority of Clinton and Obama voters in the state would be satisfied if their opponent got the nomination. And 68 percent of Clinton voters say they will back Obama in the general election if he is the nominee and 80 percent of Obama voters say they will back Clinton in the general election.

Last week, the media's narrative had no counterbalance or context to it since WV was the only contest, so they merely projected the West Virginia results onto the the nation as a whole; tonight, thank goodness, the media will have Oregon to serve as a reality check.

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