February 11, 2008


As voting pattern emerges, so does need to break it (John Harwood, February 11, 2008, NY Times)

The pattern stems in part from what is sometimes called identity politics — not surprising in a race with two history-making candidates.

Clinton, of New York, who would be the first woman to be president, has dominated among women; according to exit polls, they have consistently constituted 55 percent or more of the Democratic electorate. Obama, of Illinois, who would be the first black president, has dominated among blacks by even more lopsided margins.

But with the exception of a few states like South Carolina and Georgia, where blacks represented a majority and Obama won, they have represented a far smaller share of the vote.

Clinton, drawing on memories of prosperity during her husband's presidency, has held steady advantages among Hispanics, older voters and blue-collar whites. Obama's inspirational "Yes We Can" message has produced an edge among young people, independents, college graduates and higher-income Democrats.

Those disparate collections can to some degree be distinguished using labels — Clinton's as more moderate, Obama's as more liberal. But "the ideological differences clearly seem to be driven by demographics," said Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster.

Those differences have helped define another important element.

While Clinton has performed best in primaries, like New Hampshire and California, Obama has excelled in caucuses that turn on organizational prowess, from the kickoff event in Iowa to the Washington and Nebraska contests over the weekend.

That is partly because Obama invested more heavily in grass-roots organization in his bid to overcome Clinton's establishment advantages. Moreover, the time and information required for caucus participation attract demographic elites drawn to the Illinois senator in the first place — his "Starbucks Democrats," rather than Clinton's "Dunkin' Donuts Democrats," as Chris Lehane, a former aide to Al Gore, puts it.

Thus it is easy to project coming areas of strength for each candidate.

For instance, in order to win the presidemncy Senator Obama would require, at a minimum, that we switch from voting to caucusing.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 11, 2008 2:19 PM

Caucus participants cannot afford to be branded racists by not siding with Obama. Same is true with superdelegates. Voters, however, can vote "racist" vote behind closed doors(curtains?)

Posted by: ic at February 11, 2008 2:50 PM


Posted by: Luciferous at February 11, 2008 3:52 PM

From "coffee with cream and sugar" to a "half-caf, latte, half fat, with a whisper of cinnamon..."

Posted by: Bartman at February 11, 2008 5:32 PM