April 22, 2008


In Democrats' fight, the numbers count (John Harwood, April 21, 2008, NY Times)

The 2008 Democratic contest has been fought on the terrain of change. Yet the contest itself, after taking shape in early February, has changed remarkably little.

Obama has won more states: 28, compared with 14 for Clinton.

He has accumulated more votes: 13.3 million, roughly 700,000 more than she has.

He has raised more money: $237 million, to her $193 million.

Most critically, Obama possesses more delegates to the party's national convention this summer in Denver. He has 1,635.5, while Clinton has 1,474.5, according to a tally by The New York Times. And the lead keeps slowly growing as uncommitted superdelegates — elected officials and party leaders — move his way.

Behind those figures, however, are the patterns that give Clinton hope in Pennsylvania and beyond.

Obama thrives among fellow blacks and younger, higher-income, better-educated Democrats, but Clinton has held the upper hand among women, Hispanics and white, working-class Democrats.

Consider the numbers. As Clinton and Obama split the overall vote in the 22 states that voted on Feb. 5, exit polls showed that she led by 9 percentage points among whites, 6 points among those earning less than $50,000, 9 points among those without a college degree and 20 points among those over 65. In Ohio, the site of her comfortable primary victory on March 4, all of those margins were at least twice as big.

Those demographic patterns explain why Clinton entered the Pennsylvania campaign as the favorite. Pennsylvania's electorate is similar to Ohio's, except even older and less affluent. The same is true in Indiana, which has fewer black people and more blue-collar voters than Ohio. By contrast, North Carolina's black population is nearly double that in Ohio and helps to give Obama the edge there.

Not only are the polls all over the place on PA--with Ms Clinton's lead ranging from 5 to 10 points--but you can find ones that show him closing hard or her opening a big lead late. Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that she needs to win by 8% for it to be a sufficient blow that even the rest of the Party would want her to stay in, because they're afraid of getting stuck with him at the top of the ticket: can she do that well or better? Even though she's mathematically eliminated already?

Mind you, in previous cycles, buyers' remorse has been enough to hand even guys like Jerry Brown victories once the party faithful have had a chance to grow disillusioned with their nominee.

N.B.: We'll officially go with 10%, just a bit bigger than she needs to stay in the race. If it's more than that the panic among Democrats will be more fun than a bag of cats.

Our friends at FSB just offered a couple copies of Andrew Yarrow's Forgive us Our Debts for a PA Primary Contest and we've got two copies of Robert Ferrigno's Sins of the Assassin left, so give a % guess and we'll give away some books (multiple winners is fine by us):

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 22, 2008 8:03 AM

I've seen it noted only once, that Obama's lead in the popular vote is accounted for almost entirely by his margin of victory in the IL primary

Posted by: The Other Brother at April 21, 2008 8:54 AM

And BHO won mostly in red states which won't be going Dem in the general.

Posted by: Gideon7 at April 21, 2008 10:19 AM

She'll stay in as long as it takes to make sure McCain wins.

Posted by: b at April 21, 2008 11:23 AM

She'll stay in as long as it takes to make sure she's the nominee--and don't think that the superdelegates won't give it to her. Between Jeremiah Wright and the "bitterness" comment, there's plenty of reason for the supers to keep him off the ticket "for the good of the Party."

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 21, 2008 12:04 PM

Mike: Not a chance. The Dems have no choice but to nominate Obama, even though he's doomed. Dump him now and far too many blacks will stay home for Hillary to have a chance. The blue-collar voters who she's pandering to right now are going to remember her as the reasonably moderate one in these recent months, and she'll get blacks back by telling them that Obama lost due to racism. Then she'll make her inevitable losing run next time.

Posted by: b at April 21, 2008 12:42 PM

I've seen it noted only once, that Obama's lead in the popular vote is accounted for almost entirely by his margin of victory in the IL primary...And most of which is in Chicago.

Posted by: ic at April 21, 2008 12:54 PM

As I have said before, she is trying to get the nomination of course but her fall back is VP ----on the McCain ticket.

Posted by: Bob at April 21, 2008 1:44 PM

Presuming she wins PA by 10+ points, it is a bit surprising that so many Dems are dumping on her even though she has won all the big states (except IL), most by wide margins. And what do they do if she wins PA by 20? Nora Ephron has already called out whitey - wait until Mel Watt or Maxine Waters or John Conyers does.

Denver is going to be very interesting. Remember, Al Sharpton revealed Howard Dean's complete lack of understanding of black America over 4 years ago. And is Bill going to speak at the convention?

Posted by: ratbert at April 21, 2008 2:30 PM

Bob, that's not funny.

Posted by: erp at April 21, 2008 2:32 PM

OK, enough pussyfooting around, here's my guess: Hillary by 16%.

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 21, 2008 3:12 PM

12%. Obama is the "Snakes On A Plane" candidate; the buzz and hype will fade well before the actual contest.

They'll nominate him anyway, though.

Posted by: Mike Earl at April 21, 2008 3:12 PM

I'll say 18 percentage points. The last week was just too much for BHO.

Posted by: Brad S at April 21, 2008 3:33 PM

Hillary 9%. just a guess - I fancy them books

Posted by: mike in europe at April 21, 2008 3:34 PM

Erp, it's not meant to be funny. It is what I predict will happen.

It is a good idea too, if I say so myself. While I am a charter Hate Hillary club member, I would vote for such a ticket. So, would a majority of Americans. It will win 45 states.

Posted by: Bob at April 21, 2008 3:37 PM

My PA prediction is 11%.

Posted by: Bob at April 21, 2008 3:45 PM

Clinton by 15.

Wins every county except Philadelphia and Centre (if Obama's people got enough students registered, so probably not).

Takes the white vote by 40.

Posted by: Mike M at April 21, 2008 3:49 PM

I'll say 17 points Hillary (nobody's picked that yet, I see!)

Posted by: KRS at April 21, 2008 4:04 PM

Hillary by 8%

Posted by: Brandon at April 21, 2008 4:05 PM

Eleven percent for Hillary.

Posted by: Scott at April 21, 2008 4:07 PM

Hillary by 11%

Posted by: Scott at April 21, 2008 4:12 PM

Hillary by 9%.

Posted by: PapayaSF at April 21, 2008 4:22 PM

Hillary by 10%.

Posted by: Patrick H at April 21, 2008 4:24 PM

HRC by 12.5%

Posted by: Josh at April 21, 2008 4:32 PM

Hillary by 5%, and she will stay in.

Posted by: Erich at April 21, 2008 5:03 PM

HRC by 5%

Posted by: PWR at April 21, 2008 5:03 PM

Hill by 3.1416 pi.

Posted by: ghostcat at April 21, 2008 8:31 PM

Hillary - 56.5%

Obama - 43.5%

And Howard Dean will scream again on national TV!

P.S. - I think Centre County is a Republican county. It was when I was there.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 21, 2008 8:57 PM

I swear Obama got 1.2 mil votes from IL....

Posted by: Sandy P at April 21, 2008 10:40 PM

Hillary by 8%.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 22, 2008 2:54 AM

Hillary by 7%.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at April 22, 2008 5:14 AM

Another vote for Hillary by 7%.

Posted by: JimBobElrod at April 22, 2008 6:57 AM

Obama by 1%. Republicans should know that as many votes as are needed can be squeezed out of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Posted by: Ibid at April 22, 2008 7:06 AM

Hillary by 13.5%

Posted by: Bartman at April 22, 2008 7:31 AM

My sister lives in Allentown. She says the whole state is a madhouse. Nobody's used to it because the nominee has usually been decided this late in the game.
Anyway, put me down for Hill at 11.5%

Posted by: Bryan at April 22, 2008 7:46 AM

HRC by 11.8%

Posted by: vasutj at April 22, 2008 7:49 AM

Hillary by 15. Being shot at in Bosnia cost her at least 5%.

Posted by: curt at April 22, 2008 8:18 AM

Wow - a lot of the same numbers here. My real guess is Hill by 13

But the guess for the books is Obama by 3

Posted by: BJW at April 22, 2008 8:56 AM

Hill by 9.87

Posted by: ghostcat at April 22, 2008 1:03 PM

I vote for 14%, just a WAG.

Posted by: john.cunningham at April 22, 2008 7:37 PM

Hillary by 19.5%. After the Wright debacle, Bitter-gate, and his abysmal debate performance, I think the Democratic Party has the audacity to hope that they can still change their nominee. Honestly, it's their choice between the popular vote-winner and the winner of the arbitrary system of delegates. Methinks, Bush v. Gore will suddenly look very respectable.Rove, you magnificent bastard!

Posted by: JB at April 22, 2008 8:37 PM