Saturday, January 05, 2008

Numbers and Notes -- Iowa and Beyond

The Iowa Caucus entrance polls ended up being quite accurate in predicting the result, so that makes the underlying numbers very interesting to look at. Let’s look at the results.

Obama – A huge winner by any measure. Brought in new voters, both young and non-Democratic. This win, in a lily white state, will give him serious street cred among African-American voters – yes, he can get elected President. No troubling numbers exist, as those groups which weren’t his strength – older voters and low-income voters – are traditional Democrats who he can pick up in the Fall.
Key number: Among those voters who voted for change (52%), he won 51-20, which is devastating to Edwards and Clinton.

Edwards -- A loss is bad, a big loss to Obama on change is very bad. Strategy in NH is to go after Clinton and try to make it into a race between two different visions of how to accomplish change. How he executes that in tonight’s debate could be the key to his future.
Key numbers: Losing the change vote to Obama (51-20) and the union and low-income vote to Hillary was a two-front disaster. If he can get Hillary out, he could bounce back. This is easier said than done. Has become a “movement” candidate, which makes an early exit from the campaign far less likely. He lost the “Iraq war is most important issue” vote to both Hillary and Obama, getting just 17% there. Hard to figure that one.

Clinton – Iowa was a disaster, no matter how she spins it. This is clearly a change election and she is going to have trouble selling a Clinton revival as real change. The “Ready for Change” signs her people were holding up at her staged post-caucus address looked really desperate. Has to go after Obama while Edwards goes after her, leaving Obama free to be Presidential. A difficult task for Hillary. There is great irony in the way things have broken here. This compressed schedule and three-way race seemed set up for her. No time to eliminate someone and have the anti-Hillary forces coalesce meant that her money and organization would dominate, she would roll through February 5th and be the nominee before anyone could focus. Now she desperately needs time and a head-to-head race.
Key Number: 57% of caucus-goers were women, good for Hillary. She lost women to Obama 35-30...oops. In fact, she only beat Edwards by 7 among women. Her firewall wasn’t NH, it was her dominance in the dominant segment of the party, women voters. In spite of all the focus, in spite of Emily’s List’s economic and organizational support, she lost that demographic.

The other Dems are either irrelevant or gone – sorry to see you go, Joe and Chris, the race is poorer for your leaving.

Note: The older the voter, the more likely to vote for Clinton. The younger the voter, the more likely to vote for Obama.

Huckabee – Easy win on the shoulders of the evangelicals, who comprised an amazing 60% of the vote. NH will be a tougher case, but there is a bounce happening and a solid third there will certainly be considered a victory of sorts. The party establishment hates this guy and won’t go quietly.
Key Number: Only got 14% of the votes among those not born-again. This finished fourth behind Romney 33%, McCain 18%, and Thompson 17%. He must find a way to reach those voters or he won’t win anything.

Romney – The best-laid plans often fall apart worse than you could have imagined. In spite of spending $238 for every vote he got, Mitt finished a bad second. Now he must win NH or get branded a loser, heading for southern primaries where he is weaker. His “silver medal” analogy was cute, but finishing second in the Olympics isn’t great if you entered the favorite, and he did.
Key Number: Mitt only lost the male vote to Huckabee 29-26, women voted for Huckabee 40-24. Is it because women like Huckabee so much, or dislike Mitt? Well, I had a neighbor who used to refer to slick, well-dressed guys who would hit on her in bars with only a quick roll-in-the-hay on their mind and no intention to ever call her again as “striped shirts”. In the political sense, Romney is the ultimate “striped shirt” and women spotted that. You go, girls.

Thompson/McCain – Finished with a couple of hundred votes of each other, due to Thompson actually spending a week there. This is bad for McCain, as it might keep Thompson in the race through SC and McCain had to hope to pick up his support by then. Worse for McCain was the tremendous appeal Obama had for independent voters. If Obama takes too many of them away in NH, McCain could be in trouble and he must win NH. Whoever loses in NH, McCain or Romney, is in serious trouble.
Key Number: Of the 33% of GOP voters who thought illegal immigration is the most important problem, only 4% voted for McCain – this will be a big problem if he gets head-to-head with anyone. Not key, but interesting. Thompson got 16% of men, 10% of women Women don’t trust “striped shirts” or men with trophy wives.

Ron Paul – Got 10%, raised more money than anyone, was not invited to Fox News debate. Fascists don’t want to hear from Libertarians, so the house organ of the GOP has no interest in hearing from Ron.
Key Number: Paul got 21% of the voters under 30, third behind Romney’s 22%.

Rudy Giuliani – 3%? I know he wasn’t trying, but jeez. Don’t they care about 9/11 out there? Still, if McCain wins in NH, then Huckabee and Huckabee and Thompson run 1-2 in SC, this could make Rudy’s strategy look brilliant.

Mike Bloomberg – Huckabee’s big win is just what he needed. Obama, on the other hand, could be a problem.

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Blogger sam.gurka5 said...

I find little in your analysis with which to disagree. I subscribe to the theory that Hillary can lose NH, SC and Nevada and stay in the race for the big states, thanks to money and name familiarity, whereas Edwards will need to pick up a win somewhere and I have no clue where that might be. Clearlt Iowa was his best chance but he ran in to a freight train named Obama. I admit that I am probably inclined to over react to the latest news but Obama sue seems like the odds on favorite to win the nomination. It hard to see what Edwards and Hillary mifght have to counter Obama's momentum. The Republicans appear to be a mess. The 4 most likely candidates (Rudy, Huckabee, Mitt and McCain) do not have the support of doctrinaire social and economic conservaties. By the way, what kind of men does your neighbor expect to meet hanging out in bars?

12:21 PM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

I think Mitt does have the support of many social conservatives, but too many don't trust him, having little to do with a specific issue. He is in a parallel situation to Hillary, where because people don't trust them to begin with, any strategic change actually confirms the doubts in their integrity.
It is hard to see where Edwards comes back, but he clearly has a strategy. Hillary is going to try and convince people she's a different person. Those "Ready for Change" signs people were holding up at her defeat rally Thursday may have been the most pathetically desperate thing I've ever seen in politics.

6:58 PM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

One more thing -- there is a more than small possibility that if Obama wins NH decisively it will open the floodgates of endorsements from the likes of Biden, Dodd, and Gore.

7:01 PM  
Blogger sam.gurka5 said...

Having watched the NH debates this weekend, I am becoming increasingly frustrated. I suppose if Obama can get himself elected by using the word 'change' in every other sentence, I should be content with that although I find it to be an appeal to unintellectuals and without substance.

Change from what and to what? If it's change from Republican, fascist, religious, anti-constitutional, orthodoxy to Democratic rule, that's fine although no one should delude themselves to think that the nature of politics and governance will change. What matters is policy. In what do you believe? What are your answers to the issues of the day. What is the appropriate role and demeanor of U.S. foreign policy as we advance our self-interest. How do we recreate a health care system that covers everyone, does not price services/premiums beyond the reach of most of the middle class and does not provide incentives to insurance companies to decline coverage. How do we raise the funds necessary to operate the government and what do we want the government to pay for with the funds raised. How do we recreate a working class in the U.S. that can compete with growing, literate, and motivated communities in China, India, Russia, et al.

I like Edwards but this idea that all of our problems can be blamed on corporate greed is marxist silliness. Lest we forget, most corporations are public, owned by shareholders through mutual funds, etc, all of which would sell their shares at the first sign that the company was not doing everything in its power to maximize in its income.

I'm not Hillary's biggest fan but she strikes me as the most intelligent of the bunch and the one most willing to address these questions even if some of her answers are unacceptable.

As far as the Republicans are concerned, they are almost laughable. Their debate over immigration and the definition of amnesty was a mind boggling display of rhetoric unconnected to reality. How can one take Rudi, Mitt and McCain seriously when they talk about their core values. I guess we know what Paul and Huckabee believe. I don't think Thompson knows what he believes.

I guess we will win this election, control the Congress, control Supreme Court nominations and restore some of the luster lost in the past 8 years but it's not enough. With the exception of our nuclear arsenal and cultural imprint, I fear that, 20 years from now, countries like Russia, China, India and Brazil will be our equal in terms on international standing.

9:58 AM  

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