May 7, 2008


Deep Fissures Among Democrats Apparent With Ind., N.C. Voters (Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta, 5/07/08, Washington Post)

Fewer than half of Clinton voters in both states said they would support Obama over McCain in the general election should that be the matchup. More than half of those backing Obama said they would be unhappy with Clinton as the party's standard-bearer.

Overall, Clinton eked out a close win over Obama in Indiana last night, a much narrower victory than she recorded recently in Ohio and Pennsylvania -- states with broadly similar demographics to those of the Hoosier State.

According to the Election Day exit poll, Clinton won among white women, seniors and those with lower incomes. But among some of her core support groups, her advantages appeared to have been attenuated.

Clinton's 20-point margin among whites in Indiana is slimmer than it was in Ohio or Pennsylvania. And some of Obama's advance may be due to a better showing among white voters looking for a candidate who understands their problems. In Indiana, Obama did about 10 percentage points better among "empathy voters" than he did in Ohio or Pennsylvania.

As they have in almost every state, white women in Indiana went for Clinton by a wide margin, but her 20-point win among these voters was considerably more narrow than it was in Ohio or Pennsylvania. Moreover, Obama scored a double-digit win among white voters under 30 in both of last night's primaries, better than he has done in recent contests.

Obama may also have benefited from changing the tenor of his campaign. After a decisive loss in Pennsylvania two weeks ago, Obama attempted a more positive stance, and voters in Indiana and North Carolina may have noticed. While half of Democratic voters in Pennsylvania said he had attacked Clinton unfairly, that slipped to about 40 percent last night. By contrast, two-thirds of voters in both states said Clinton had targeted Obama unfairly.

More broadly, a closely watched divide among white voters extended to Indiana, with Clinton winning by 30 points among white voters without college degrees but running even with Obama among those with college degrees. Clinton prevailed among both groups in North Carolina, winning non-college whites by more than 40 points and those with college degrees by seven points.

Driving your opponent's negatives up drives your own.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2008 7:57 AM

Which is why there won't be an Obama-Clinton ticket. It would be negativity squared.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 7, 2008 11:58 AM

Hillary knows this, of course, which is why she's been going so negative these past few months. She's done the dirty work so that Maverick won't have to, and Obama is finished already. Then in November she'll begin settling scores. Been nice knowing you, Gov. Richardson. Hope you didn't have any serious long-term political ambitions, Sen. McCaskill.

Posted by: b at May 7, 2008 12:36 PM


If, by the last week in August, Hillary is finished, she won't be in any position to settle scores. In fact, I'll go so far as to say she will resign her US Senate seat before the beginning of the 111th Congress. If you've spent this much time, made your plans, and FAIL, there is no reason to continue the charade.

Of course, this whole Hillary/Obama mess has proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the wisdom of GWB's invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Had W stood down, in the face of 9/11, it is quite likely that Hillary would've beaten W in 2004, and the Right would've called W "son of wimp" the whole campaign season.

Posted by: Brad S at May 7, 2008 3:01 PM

Brad: Wrong, wrong, wrong. When Obama gets obliterated, Hillary will be able to say "See, you should have nominated me!" She'll still be a direct link to the only successful Democrat president in the last few decades. The party leadership will come slinking back to her & Bill, and the purge will be something to behold.

The whole primary situation actually plays out quite well for her in the long term. She will come out of this viewed MUCH more positively by the blue-collar voting base of the party than she ever was before. She won't be too old in 2012. And she wouldn't have beaten McCain this time anyway. In 4 years we'll be pretty much out of Iraq completely and people will be more than ready for another escape from history.

Posted by: b at May 7, 2008 3:33 PM