Super Tuesday II: Electric Boogaloo
March 5, 2008 1 Comment
Super Tuesday II: Electric Boogaloo was quite an evening for Hillary Clinton. She won – rather convincingly – in Ohio, eked out a primary victory in Texas and rolled in Rhode Island.
Her campaign really has been on the upswing lately. She has been able to raise more money than before (though not as much as her rival) and finally stopped his winning streak at 12. Vermont, the first to report last night, went for Obama. After that it was all Hillary…
These recent wins certainly do change the Democratic primary map. A quick glance makes it really look like a horse race, with Clinton taking many of the big prizes like New York, California, New Jersey, Ohio and Texas. However, the map includes Michigan and Florida in the Clinton column, which is unfair considering the delegates from those states will not [and should not] count at the Democratic Convention because the states held their primaries in violation of party rules. Clinton won both states, although in Michigan, hers was the only name on the ballot and all of the candidates agreed not to campaign in Florida, making their contest one of name recognition more than anything…
It makes a compelling case for her candidacy when you ignore the larger issues and facts, like the idea that the math does not work in Hillary’s favor unless she goes BIG in every remaining primary.
But even just looking at the states won, it doesn’t really look good for Clinton either. For example, last time around, the Dems won New York, Cali and New Jersey but lost the presidency. Why? Because though they are big, important states, lots of little ones stacked up to beat them.
Part of the Clinton argument is that because she won the big states, the party elders should give her the nomination. It’s a dubious suggestion at best, but let’s look a little deeper.
California, one of the bigger trophies on Clinton’s wall, is a Blue state and will probably be a Blue state again this time around. Since 1992, California has consistently gone to the Democrats. Pre-1992, it is important to remember that Reagan (1980 and 1984 and then essentially again with his Veep in 1988 ) was a former Cali governor. And despite Ahnold’s endorsement of John McCain, the state will probably go blue again in 2008, no matter the nominee (in fact, Obama actually polls better against McCain than Hillary does).
New Jersey is much the same, having consistently voted Blue since 1992 and trending toward the Democrat again this year, no matter the nominee.
New York is even more solidly Democrat. Only three times in the past 10 elections has the Empire State threw its electors to the Republican, in the landslide elections of 1972, 1980 and 1984 and all polling data shows New York very likely to be Blue again, no matter which Democrat comes out on top.
Texas, meanwhile, is a Red state. The last time Texas went for the Democrat was in 1976 at the height of the Watergate backlash. This year looks to be no different: Texas will go to the Republican and polling data indicates that McCain beats both Clinton and Obama in the Lone Star State.
Ohio, on the other hand, is a completely different animal and is really the only one that truly works in Clinton’s favor. Ohio is a swing state to the core and a bellweather at that, having voted for the winner in all 10 of the previous presidential contests. Ohio is a nice feather in the Clinton cap and does bolster her argument. This year, Ohio could go either way once again, though the margins between either Democrat and John McCain are about equal.
But again, given that Ohio voters named the economy the most important issue (59 percent) and the big issue was NAFTA, it is tough to imagine either one of the Democratic candidates losing to a guy who continues to tell people NAFTA was a good idea (whether it is or not is still up for debate, but Ohio seems to dislike it quite a bit).
Among the projected swing states for this year, Clinton won Nevada, New Mexico, Arkansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Ohio.
Obama has won Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois (although Illinois is pretty Blue…), Missouri, Connecticut and Virginia (which will be a major battleground this time around).
Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida are still unknowns.
Pennsylvania will be a big test for the candidates on April 22. Many people liken Pennsy to Ohio in that there are a lot of blue collar types, and while that may be a good thing for Clinton, they fail to factor in the serious powerhouse of votes that is the Philadelphia region, which should be an Obama stronghold, demographically speaking.
And Philly alone can tip the scales, much like New York City overrules the vast Red expanse of Upstate New York in every election.
Meanwhile, while current polls have Hillary ahead in the Keystone State, Obama is trending up and has been for some time now.
The race, obviously, is not yet over and will not be until the superdelegates all make their decision, but don’t be fooled by the Clinton campaign’s big state argument. The voters who support Hillary are going to support the Democrat no matter what, and if she is making the argument that she is better in the swing states, we need to look at all the swing states, not just Ohio.