Tuesday :: Jan 8, 2008

Is There a Race After New Hampshire?

by eriposte

Fladem at Open Left writes (emphasis mine):

In June of this year I became increasingly frustrated by the political discussion in blogsphere.  It was all about the National Polls, and how Clinton could not be beaten.  This disappointed me - it was really no different than what you would read in the Washington Post or Time.  It also angered me, because in a way the national polling was being used as a weapon against dissent within the Democratic Party. 

But what really made me mad was that is completely wrong.  I have been involved in Democratic Politics for nearly 30 years, and the one thing I do know is that National Polls are meaningless before New Hampshire.  And yet these polls were being used to create the impression that resistance to Clinton was futile.

The point of the diary is not to say I told you so.  OK, so it isn't the ENTIRE point of this diary.  I am a strong believer that history can provide guidance about how primaries affect each other. 

Here is what history teaches about the current state of the race:  it is far from over.  After the diary about Iowa and New Hampshire, I wrote another diary about how New Hampshire changed National Polling.  On average, it found that when a front-runner loses New Hampshire, there is a 33-point swing in National Polling.  Since that time I have done more detailed analysis that shows when you include GOP contests since 1980, the average is 34. 

But the data also shows something else: This bounce is reversible.  In at least three instances (1984, 1992 and 1996) the bounce from New Hampshire substantially receded about 3 weeks after New Hampshire.  The reasons for this are complex, and I will write more about this tomorrow. 

But here is the key point I want to make: This race will not be over when Obama wins NH tomorrow.  The people who are writing that are the same people who told you this summer that Clinton had the race sewn up.  In short, this is another example of a press that does NOT UNDERSTAND THE PRIMARY PROCESS

It is also my view that the race is far from over. So, let's buckle up.

P.S. A piece of advice to the Clinton campaign. Just let Sen. Clinton be herself. She has nothing to lose. The media and the fever swamps will hate her regardless. If she does lose the nomination, I'd much rather that she lose it after people see the real, emotional and inspiring Sen. Clinton than the Senator who her campaign strategists like to restrict and control.

eriposte :: 5:35 AM :: Comments (16) :: Digg It!