Monday :: Feb 11, 2008

The Complex Psychological Relationship of Voters to Hillary Clinton


by eriposte

Congratulations to Sen. Obama on his strong weekend wins - and advance congratulations on the anticipated wins tomorrow and later this month. He gets post-Super Tuesday bragging rights this month (although I wasn't surprised by his wins), but I'm not sure that his strong February performance will necessarily carry him in March and beyond (more commentary on this below). (You can read Steve's opinion on the state of the campaign here).

Here are a few posts from around the blogosphere examining Sen. Clinton and the race.

Noam Schieber at TNR (emphasis mine, throughout this post):

Is Hillary Momentum-Proof?

The conventional wisdom is that if, as now appears possible, Obama runs the table in February, his momentum could make him pretty formidable in Texas and (especially) Ohio, which the Clinton campaign considers its firewalls. That's certainly the way these things normally work. But I'm not sure it'll be true of this primary season. The strange thing about Hillary is that while voters don't necessarily want her to win, they don't seem to want her to lose, either. Every time it looks like she might do that--New Hampshire, Super Tuesday, during her post-Super Tuesday financial crunch--voters have rallied to her side. I wonder if we'll see a similar story on March 4 or before if it starts to look like Obama's running away with this thing.

Needless to say, voters' complex psychological relationships to Hillary makes her extremely difficult to run against...

Ha ha. That's good and is also correct, I believe. A large number of voters have been smart enough to see through the blatantly anti-Clinton media (and often blogospheric) coverage of this campaign and the fake conventional wisdom against Sen. Clinton; hopefully, they will continue to see through that in the coming weeks and months. Not only that, Sen. Clinton's large and relatively hidden base is just starting to turn out in impressive numbers to support Sen. Clinton financially. In just a few days after Super Tuesday, over 100,000 donors (most of whom were new) have contributed over $10M to her campaign online. As Marc Ambinder said:

Now these numbers are looked at with suspicion by Obama allies. They can't possibly see how Clinton could generate some of the same enthusiasm that Obama does -- they can't stand comparisons of his donors to hers.

But unless the Clinton campaign is just flat out lying, which I will stipulate is most likely not the case, something is going on here that we can't fully appreciate or understand just [yet].

On Saturday, Matthew Yglesias (not exactly a Clinton supporter) said the following:

On The Record

Predictions are a mug's game, but I was right about the Super Bowl, so I thought I might go on record with mine. I think Hillary Clinton's going to win this thing. I think the college educated men who dominate punditland have spent a lot of time missing the fact that there actually are enthusiastic Clinton fans out there -- they're just mostly working class women and thus mostly not in the room when this CW gets hashed out. [Eriposte emphasis] On top of that, I think Clinton's succeeded in managing the expectations savvily. If she wins anywhere at all between now and March 4, that counts as a win for her, then Ohio is mildly favorable ground for her and Texas is extremely favorable ground. That, I think, will seal it for her as the anti-Obama backlash brewing in the press hits full stride. [Eriposte note - I seriously doubt there will be any anti-Obama backlash in the press].

Actually, I'm not sure it is just the campaign's spin on February. After all, here was Obama supporter Harold Meyerson writing in The American Prospect shortly after Super Tuesday:

Now that the dust is settling from Super Tuesday's Super Stalemate, the Democratic contest looks headed for a bright February for Barack Obama, though March, April and May may tilt towards Hillary Clinton. This weekend, the Democrats hold a primary in Louisiana and caucuses in Nebraska, Maine and Washington state, and the following Tuesday, hold primaries in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Obama could well sweep all of these. On the Tuesday after that, the 19th, there are two primaries, one in Obama's native Hawaii, the other in Wisconsin, which could well prove to be a key contest.
[...]
Or, as my friend Ron Brownstein might put it, February is a wine track month, but March, April and May look good for beer track candidates. Obama has to win more working-class whites to do well enough in the closing primaries to go to the convention with a fighting chance.

In fact, Daily Kos diarist Poblano published an analysis of voting patterns prior to the results of the past weekend and his analysis suggested Obama would sweep the February states based on the voter demographics of those states.

We'll have to wait and see if Sen. Clinton's base is strong enough to power her to the nomination or if Sen. Obama's base will have the last hurrah in the ongoing see-saw battle.

P.S. Don't miss Prof. Stanley Fish's new post at the New York Times blog "A Calumny a Day to Keep Hillary Away". It is an another must-read and a follow-up to his earlier post "All You Need is Hate".

eriposte :: 5:47 AM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!