04/18/2008 - 12:21pm
An interesting sidebar to the debate over Barack's Bitterness is the very question of whether Barack is right or not. Dan Schnur blogged in the New York Times on Wednesday that:
By using a voter’s adverse economic circumstances to rationalize his cultural beliefs, Barack Obama has reintroduced what has been a defining question in American politics for more than a generation: Why do so many working-class voters cast their ballots on social and values-based issues like gun ownership, abortion and same-sex marriage rather than on economic policy prescriptions?
Interesting question. But is the premise true - are working class voters actually "values voters?" Paul Krugman, the liberal economist who is a Times columnist pulls together the conversation on this question over the past few days. He lays out the argument that Barack has his stereotypes wrong about the bitter middle class voting on religion:
It’s true that Americans who attend church regularly are more likely to vote Republican. But contrary to the stereotype, this relationship is weak at low incomes but strong among high-income voters. That is, to the extent that religion helps the G.O.P., it’s not by convincing the working class to vote against its own interests, but by producing supermajorities among the evangelical affluent.
In an op-ed yesterday, Larry Bartels, again from the Times, crunches the numbers and announces:
Small-town people of modest means and limited education are not fixated on cultural issues. Rather, it is affluent, college-educated people living in cities and suburbs who are most exercised by guns and religion. In contemporary American politics, social issues are the opiate of the elites.
So not only did Barack choose his words poorly, he was making a point that is part of the false premise that the dems operate under - that they run the party that cares about regular folk. (see the numbers in the next post that prove this point.) Somehow, through all the disinformation, working people have figured out that the GOP has a vision for the country, and a belief in it, that matches theirs.

Somehow middle class America has discerned that all the plans that democrats have for building huge bureaucracies to reallocate wealth and build a political base don't actually help people... that people need to help themselves. Which is why they believe in America in a way that people like Jeremiah Wright and Michelle Obama, and yes, it seems, Barack, don't.

Which has those lapel pins looking a lot more appealing to Barack these days.
04/18/2008 - 12:05pm
The full measure of Barack's San Fran blunder will be taken in the general election, where the fight over the "average American," the middle class white folk without college educations, will decide who becomes President. The importance of working class voters is nicely laid out in a Time Magazine analysis:
In 2000 Al Gore lost them to George W. Bush by 17 percentage points; four years later, John Kerry lost them by 23 points. By contrast, Democratic candidates in the 2006 midterm elections ran 10 percentage points behind Republicans among working-class whites--and managed to win back the House and the Senate as well as six governorships and nine state legislatures.
If you've been wondering why Hillary pounced on Barack's blunder so relentlessly, ignoring her own skyrocketing negatives, this is the answer:
For decades, the Democratic Party has been slowly losing white working-class voters. In 2004, President Bush beat John Kerry by 34 electoral votes, clinching the key battleground in Ohio. Even a tiny shift among white working-class voters could have changed the outcome.
04/17/2008 - 11:47pm
Barack is bitter over the debate last night. For the first time, he faced vigorous inquiry from a media that just hasn't done its job. With so little known about him, George and Charlie went after him last night in an attempt to discover more.

Many may agree with Baracks assessment:
"Last night we set a new record. It took us 45 minutes ... before we heard about health care. Forty-five minutes before we heard about Iraq. Forty-five minutes before we heard about jobs. That's how Washington is," Obama said.
But it seems to me there is far less question about what Barack and Hillary have to say about the issues after all these debates than there is a sincere and legitimate desire to know something about who this guy is who democrats are trying to rush into the presidency sight unseen.

And with the small bits of evidence we have about who Barack is and what he believes running in an ominous direction, it would have been irresponsible had ABC not tried to learn more.

Barack is bitter, and clinging to hope.

We'll see if people fall for it.
04/17/2008 - 10:06pm
New tracking numbers are up from Rasmussen, and the news is getting worse for democrats in the wake of Rice-a-Roni-Gate. If the election for president were held today, John McCain wins by 4 points over Barack, 8 over Hillary. McCain is viewed more favorably by Americans than Barack Obama! How about that?

McCain is viewed favorably by 55% and unfavorably by 43%. Obama’s ratings are 48% favorable and 50% unfavorable. For Clinton, those numbers are 42% favorable, 56% unfavorable (see recent daily favorable ratings).

Maybe its just because the Pope is here this week that voters are feeling so responsible?
04/17/2008 - 1:24pm
Gallup has crunched recent poll data to find out what the national race between Barack and McCain looks like. Were I a democrat, I'd be mighty disturbed and concerned. Why? Because this is an election year in which the GOP should have little hope of holding on to the white house.

The key part of the analysis is in Purple States, those that neither candidate won by 6 points or more last time around. These are the states that are most likely to lead to a different outcome than last time, as the states that voted strongly red or blue last time still lean that way. Those earning Purple status are New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon.

In these states, Barack and Hillary both hold a four point lead over McCain, a pretty slim margin considering the circumstances favoring democrats this year.

This is why the evolving Barack story line is so damaging for democrats. As voters become conscious of his lack of a professional track record, his dubious associations, and his elitist attitude, McCain will look all the more appealing, particularly in more moderate states.

McCain is, after all, a guy who does what Barack hopes to do - he reaches across party lines to make friends and compromises. McCain is the proven "Together We Can" guy. And middle of the road voters, in states like Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania, are more likely to vote for someone with a track record of success than a beginner selling hope.
04/17/2008 - 4:33am
During the debate Wednesday night, both Hillary and Barack committed to drawing down troops in Iraq at a rate of one to two brigades per month without regard for what is happening on the ground! This strikes me as being a) a blatant lie, or b) confirmation that neither is fit for the presidency.

I'm inclined to give them enough credit to say the answer is a), but of course b) is pretty compelling too.

Which do you think?
04/16/2008 - 12:49pm
There's good news for Hillary in the new ABC News/Washington Post poll - she's getting remarkably less popular all the time.
Among all Americans, 58 percent now say she's not honest and not trustworthy, 16 points higher than in a precampaign poll two years ago. Obama beats her head-to-head on this attribute by a 23-point margin.

The number of Americans who see Clinton unfavorably overall has risen to a record high in ABC/Post polling, 54 percent -- up 14 points since January. Obama's unfavorable score has reached a new high as well, up 9 points, but to a lower 39 percent.

Why is this good news for Hillary? Because this is all she has left. She must try to do some real damage to Barack - to knock him off his pedestal. A couple of weeks ago, she might have played it cool on Barack's "Bitter" statement and let the story play itself out so she wouldn't offend Super Delegates, etc. But now there's only one election that matters - Pennsylvania on Tuesday. Either Hillary gets him good or its over. The good news for Hill is she's playing her hand, a weak one, as best she can.
04/16/2008 - 12:39pm
Its very interesting to look at Barack's woeful numbers in Florida and compare them to Hillary's. Clinton, as you will recall, has been working to get Florida democrats a voice in the nominating process, as the state has been penalized by the DNC for having its vote too early.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Florida shows McCain attracting 53% of the vote while Obama earns 38%. Last month, amidst talk of a possible Florida revote, Obama had closed to within single digits of McCain. In February, however, Obama trailed McCain by sixteen points.

If McCain is matched against Hillary Clinton, the race is a toss-up—Clinton 45% McCain 44%.

A scary thing for democrats to see Barack doing so poorly in a critical swing state like Florida, I'm sure. But its a state with an unusual demographic makeup, one that is shorter than most on Barack's base.
04/16/2008 - 3:51am
The LA Times has a new poll out that shows Hillary with a 5 point lead in Pennsylvania, but losing in Indiana. Hillary's electoral argument is based on winning these two states handily. The Times is arguing that 5 points doesn't cut it, and if this is the result on Tuesday, then Hillary is over.
With three crucial Democratic primaries looming, Hillary Rodham Clinton may not be headed toward the blockbuster victories she needs to jump-start her presidential bid -- even in Pennsylvania, the state that was supposed to be her ace in the hole, a new Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found.
The losing in Indiana portion of the Times poll seems questionable. The Quinnipiac numbers from the weekend tracking poll show Hillary up by 16 points.

The close race in Pennsylvania is partially confirmed by a Zogby poll released today which shows Hill's lead at just 4%, but this poll concluded on Thursday, a moment before Barack's San Francisco Treat came out of the oven. Quinnipiac has her up by six in Pennsylvania - these numbers were collected over the weekend while the aroma from San Fran was wafting through the state.

Truth be told, it remains to be seen whether Barack can contain the damage and continue to chip away at Clinton, or if Hillary might overplay her hand and look silly and unappealing with her zealous attacks on Barack.

Up to this controversy, Hillary has been afraid to come after Obama as aggressively as she is now doing. Will she be penalized for being too tough on the Messiah?
04/15/2008 - 8:16pm
Okay. Rassmussen is in, showing Hillary having grown her lead from 5 to 9 points over the past week.

Quinnipiac shows her up 6, same as last week, which is also good news for the Clintons as it stops a slide.

And the American Research Group results show Hill's lead having grown to 20 points, which I'm inclined to ignore.

Gallup, meanwhile, shows Barack with his biggest lead over Hillary nationally - 11 points.

Whichever trend you choose to trust, its plain to see that Hillary has benefited from Barack's San Francisco treat. Whether that trend continues or not remains to be seen, but with 7 days to go before Pennsylvania votes, Barack remains on the defensive.
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