Thursday, April 24, 2008

Doubts Raised Over Clinton's Claim Of Electability

Exit polls and analysts find a lot of room to argue that Obama could do just as well come November.

Reflecting on her victory in the Pennsylvania primary, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday neatly summed up the chief political rationale of her enduring candidacy: "I won the states that we have to win -- Ohio, now Pennsylvania," she said on CNN about her successes over Sen. Barack Obama. "It's very hard to imagine a Democrat getting to the White House without winning those states."

Clinton says her popularity among blue-collar workers, women and Hispanics makes her the candidate to beat Sen. John McCain in the swing states that decide presidential races. Along with Ohio and Pennsylvania, she also cites her success in Michigan and Florida -- even though the Democratic Party disqualified those contests, and Obama was not on the Michigan ballot.

Yet exit polling and independent political analysts offer evidence that Obama could do just as well as Clinton among blocs of voters with whom he now runs behind. He also appears well-positioned to win swing states, and his supporters believe he would have a strong shot at winning traditional Republican locks such as Virginia and Colorado.

According to surveys of Pennsylvania voters Tuesday, Obama would draw majorities of support from lower-income voters and less-educated ones -- just as Clinton would against McCain, even though those voters have favored Clinton in the primaries.

And national polls suggest that Obama would also perform slightly better among groups that have gravitated to Republican in the past, like male voters, the more affluent, and independent voters, while she would do slightly better among women.

In recent weeks, Clinton advisers have been challenging Obama's electability in a general election. But the Pennsylvania exit polls underscore a point that political analysts made on Wednesday: that state primary results do not necessarily translate into general election victories.

Said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster not affiliated with either campaign: "Take Michigan: It has a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators and many Democratic congressmen, so it's probably going to be a pretty good state for the Democrats in a recession year."

Hart, as well as Obama advisers, also say that Obama appears better poised than Clinton to pick up states that Democrats struggle to carry, or rarely do, in a general election, such as Colorado, Iowa, Missouri and Virginia, all of which he carried in the primaries.

"Hillary goes deeper and stronger in the Democratic base than Obama, but her challenge is that she doesn't go as wide," Hart said. "Obama goes much further reaching into the independent and Republican vote, and has a greater chance of creating a new electoral map for the Democrats." (By PATRICK HEALY, New York Times)

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Anonymous Purple Haze said...

At the end of this Democrat Party race, it will come down to the wishes of the superdelegates, not the voters. Neither Obama or Clinton will get the 2,042 seats required to get the party's nomination.

Thus it may just come down to who bodeks better with the superdelegates. A strange system, no doubt and perhaps the supporters of the vanquished will adopt the line taken by Al Gore's supporters after the 2000 "chad" fiasco.

And if the Democrats get themselves into the White House, there will probably be some folks who think the "other" Democrat presidential challenger should be the President.

Such is this winner-take-all contest.

5:53 AM GMT+8  

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