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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Thursday, March 13, 2008

On to the "big state"/electability spin

Allright, we're entering the next spin front as the Clinton campaign tries to claim that Obama (for whatever reason is convenient today) is unelectable.
On the Clinton call earlier, Mark Penn said, "We believe that [the Pennsylvania primary result] will show that Hillary is ready to win, and that Sen. Obama really can’t win the general election."

The short answer is this. Where's the national polling comparing Obama vs. McCain and Clinton vs. McCain which quantitatively shows an electability advantage for Clinton? Virtually all of these comparison polls over the last month and a half show them even or Obama with a slight electability advantage.

Next, to the "big state" argument, that Obama can't win based upon the general election map because somehow winning and losing primaries equates to general election results.

First, the obvious bat down from NBC: The primary vs. general election fallacy. (Like California and New York are not going to vote Democratic.)

Digging a little deeper, we have some actual data to look at. SUSA did some electoral college state by state polling (it's the only survey we have,) and it showed Obama and Clinton both beating McCain by just about the same margins.

(Kos (an inveterate Obama shill at this point) broke down the SUSA numbers to make the argument that Obama is equally competitive in the big states, and more competitive in the close states.)

Look. I understand the Clinton camp trying to sell the unelectability of Obama as it's really the only argument they have before the superdelegates, but the data I've come across doesn't really bear the unelectability argument out.

If there's a counter unelectability argument out there that's actually backed by some sort of coherent data (not cherry picked - one polling firm here, another one there,) I'd be really curious to see it.

(And, FirstRead has a couple of good paragraphs on the NBC poll.)


  • The Polls on Monday have HRC up 20 points in PA. That is where the goal posts are and that is where the expectation is set. Anything less than a 15 point victory and it will be impossible for her to claim anything resemlbing momentum (of course they will claim mo' just like they did after winning Oh and losing Tex and finish the week a minus 12 delegate-wise).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:41 PM  

  • I don't know if you're reasoning will be the way it's read, but as Pa is the last "big state" on the calendar right now, I wouldn't be surprised if anything less than a big win would be considered a victory.

    She's got to close those gaps.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 9:55 PM  

  • I don't see an "unelectable" argument flying. Maybe a "less electable" argument... but I don't
    think she has to have conclusive data--because there CAN'T be conclusive data months and months out.

    It's really more about getting the superdelegates to project. That's their job, really. They have to predict which candidate can better weather the Republican attack storm, which can better avoid being caricatured a la Dukakis or McGovern, which can tack to the middle more believably.

    By Anonymous tg, at 3:22 AM  

  • Right. That's why the argument has been largely a soft argument. Too young, not across the threshold, too black.

    And again, it's the only argument the Clinton camp has right now, and, even if it's not effective on the supers in July/August, they also need an argument to justify right now.

    I'm not saying the supers are ready to call it today, but it would only take 20 or 30 in a little burst to even them on supers and change the dynamic of this race.

    Writing this, I realize I may have been interpreting alot of this wrong. I tmay be as much about staying alive as winning.

    Hmmm... Have to think about that.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 7:36 AM  

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