January 9, 2008


Hillary Clinton's Firewall: Will Barack Obama's anemic standing among Latinos be his undoing? (John B. Judis, December 18, 2007, New Republic)

Hillary Clinton was once thought to have had the Democratic nomination sewn up, but if current polls are any indication, she could conceivably lose not only the Iowa caucus, but also the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Since these states became the major test of presidential aspirations, no Democrat or Republican has ever gotten the nomination after losing all three. But even if she fails to win any of those three critical early states, Hillary Clinton still has a chance. That's because of her strength among Hispanic voters.
Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.Credit: Getty Images
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Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail.

Hispanics will play a negligible role in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, but they will be a major factor in the Nevada caucus on January 19 and in the primaries in New Mexico, Arizona, California, Colorado, New Jersey, and New York on February 5. Those states together account for 1025 delegates; only 141 are at stake in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. And if the contest is at that point between Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, then Clinton's edge over Obama among Hispanics, as seen in opinion polls, could prove decisive.

In a poll from the Pew Hispanic Center released earlier this month, Clinton led among Latino Democrats with 59 percent, compared to 15 percent for Obama and four percent for John Edwards. In polls taken last week in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas by ImpreMedia, the largest Hispanic news company in the United States, Clinton led Obama by an astounding average of 55 to six percent among Hispanic Democrats. Edwards got only 1.8 percent. Of course, even with this kind of support from Hispanics, Clinton could still lose those primaries, but it certainly gives her an edge.

To have a prayer against John McCain, Barack Obama would have to pick Bill Richardson or another Latino as his running mate. Otherwise, Hispanics will vote against him and for the Hispanic-friendly Maverick, especially if the latter picked Jeb.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 9, 2008 6:42 AM

What do you make of the fact that total votes cast for dems far exceeded those cast for republicans in the first 2 states? Sounds ominous for McCain to me.

Posted by: jab at January 9, 2008 9:26 PM

Hillary and Obama stir enthusiasm in unusual cohorts. One will lose and turn off their supporters.

Posted by: oj at January 10, 2008 7:22 AM


The same phenomenon occured in 1988, and the Dems pointed to it as a sure win.

Check the numbers, though. The number of General election voters dwarfs the number of primary voters, hence the primary turn-out raw differential is un-important.

A woman v. black smackdown is bound to draw more people, as the dems are steeped in the cancer of "identity politics."

Come November, McCain wins "easily" both (absent a wildcard issue like crying, a gaffe, or a disease)

If the Reps are smart, they will start fronting potential "October surprises" in mid-summer, and let the Blogosphere do the rest of of the dirty work on the MSM.

Posted by: Bruno at January 10, 2008 11:41 AM