Thursday, April 17, 2008


Obama/Clinton general election numbers

SurveyUSA (a personal favorite of mine) has come out with new polling numbers that are probably Hillary Clinton's biggest friend.

All one has to do is take a look at the state of Massachusetts. A state that both Gore and Kerry carried by 20 or so points. Its the Bluest of blue states. Its voted Republican once in the past 50 years (Reagan's blowout of 84). Hillary Clinton leads by a comfortable 15 points... Barack Obama leads by 2 over John McCain. And this is not the first time surveyusa has shown a close race in Mass (a prior poll showed the two men tied at 47-47, this poll is 48-46). I still feel Obama will in Massachusetts comfortably, but the closeness of the race signals Obama's problems with working class whites. Its the same trend we see in states like Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Try New Mexico, a state that Clinton and especially Obama needs to win in order to beat McCain. Its 5 electoral votes play a vital role in what I believe is the trifecta (NM, Nevada, and Colorado) to make up for an Obama lose in either PA or OH. Obama and Clinton trail by 5 and 3 respectively. The fact is however that there is some evidence that these polls do not pick up Native American voters in the state as evident by New Mexico being much closer than the polls suggested in 2004.

And what the heck happened to Obama's lead in Missouri? He trails by eight in that state, while Clinton leads by 1. Neither of them need the state to win the electoral college, but it does have a nifty 11 electoral votes. Personally, I don't believe either will carry the state, but the Democrats do have a strong candidate for Governor in Jay Nixon, the state's attorney general.

In New York, its what we expect. Both lead McCain comfortably, while Clinton lead is a little larger.

Ohio is the same story as Massachusetts. Clinton leads comfortably by 11, while Obama trails by 2. Obama can win the electoral college without Ohio. He simply needs to win the southwestern trifecta. But Clinton needs Ohio. Polling in the state shows her consistently stronger than Obama. And usually in the lead over McCain.

Oregon is next where Clinton's weakness begins to show. Obama has always done better in the Northwest and Midwest. This poll doesn't show anything different. Obama leads by 9, while Clinton only leads by 1. Clinton can make up for weakness in one of the two regions by carrying both Florida and Ohio, but she cannot make up for weakness in both regions. The polling shows it pretty clearly... Obama has the same lead among women as Clinton, but he stays much closer among men against McCain than does Hillary. Reasons? Not a ton of what is called "working" class whites... more independent minded voters.

Virginia is just awful news for both Clinton and Obama. The state is trending more Democratic (there will be two democratic senators in the state by next year in Jim Webb and Mark Warner). But McCain is doing well among the military base in the state. Obama should be stronger in the state as it is the new type of independent Democrat. He is in better position than Hillary, only trailing by eight as compared to sixteen... but he isn't close.

Minnesota, which is in Obama's midwest, is a state he needs to carry. He leads by 6 over McCain, while Clinton leads by 1. Its an independent minded state with a Republican governor and senator (though Norm Coleman is in a lot of trouble against Al Franken). The problem for Clinton is simple... she can lose either the midwest or the northwest with Florida and Ohio, not both.

Kansas is a lost cause for both Obama and Clinton. Obama should be doing slightly better, but there is a better chance of me shooting a duck than either Democrat winning the state.

Alabama is also a lost cause for both Obama and Clinton. I would expect Clinton to do a slightly better (being the southern white vote... which isn't too kind to Obama). Yet, both trail by about 30.

California is a state both Obama and Clinton would win. Who does slightly better? Changes with the poll, but in this case its Clinton, but both lead comfortably.

Iowa is a state that is part of Obama's strategy to not depend on the Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida trio. He has always led over McCain and continues to do so by 7. Clinton, on the other hand, has never connected well with Iowa as evidenced by her caucus performance. Its also a signal that she doesn't do well among midwestern/plains farmers (a reason that Obama should win the South Dakota primary on June 3). McCain leads her by 6.

Perhaps the most intersting polling numbers are from Kentucky. Kentucky went for Bill Clinton twice... by about three and a point. Its somewhat rustbelt, somewhat southern. It has a Democratic governor. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is considered somewhat vulnerable. In the upcoming primary, Clinton is expected to beat Obama by 25-35 points. In the general, Obama trails by 30+... Clinton by only 2. I don't expect her to win here, but it does signal that she can potentially win not only Arkansas, but also West Virginia... and at least be somewhat competitive in Kentucky and Tennessee.

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