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Edwards-Obama (non)Endorsement watch

Well, it’s after 1:00 EST and still no endorsement. It’s gotta be soon, at least hit the evening news in order to whisper that certain sweet nothing into the ears of the undecided former Edwardians and swing a few working stiffs Obama’s way. Hmmm, We’ll see.

In the meatime, I thought I’d follow up on the idea that states that have a threshhold value of African-American voters have been favorable to Obama but those where the AA population has been diluted go to Hillary or are very close:

State Primaries (to Date) %African-American Winner
Delaware 21.51 Obama
Maryland 30.12 Obama
Virginia 20.65 Obama
South Carolina 29.68 Obama
New Jersey 15.19 Clinton
New York 15.80 Clinton
California 6.1 Clinton
Massachusetts 7.58 Clinton

(Connecticut 10.8 Obama 51%, Clinton 47%; Missouri 11.07%, Obama 49.2%, Clinton 48.0% In both of these states, Edwards captured 2% of the vote.)

This list is not exhaustive, I’m just highlighting the trend. Connecticut is a weird, quirky state. I canvassed there for Lamont and would often find public housing projects cheek by jowl to upper middle class houses. It’s got inner city neighborhoods as well as a well marbled suburban landscape. It’s fiercely independent and I found many African-Americans who were absolutely devoted to Joe Lieberman. That state was going to be a toughy because of the very high number of independent voters. Yes, Obama won it but not by much. (O-51%, C-47%) It has an semi-open primary and unaffiliated voters can re-register days before the primary to declare a party at the polls. We can’t rule out that there were a bunch of Independents and Republicans who decided to make their presence known by voting for Obama.

Now, here are the states that remain:

State % African-Americans Latest poll trends

Wisconsin 6.48 Obama small lead
Ohio 12.66 Clinton large lead
Texas 12.09 Clinton small lead
Pennsylvania 11.20 Clinton large lead

Now, a lot of readers are going to think this is being racist. It is not. In order for a campaign to win, it has to be able to “count the votes” and know who is solidly on their side and who is persuadable so all of the GOTV resources can be targeted to those voters. This is why it was so critical for Obama to alienate the African American vote from Clinton. African -Americans might well have voted for Clinton in large numbers had Obama not entered the race. Bill Clinton is a well respected figure in the African-American community (or was before David Axelrod got involved). For Obama, the whole campaign has been one of perception and turning it into reality. So, I guess he’s got that “just think it’s true and it will materialize” thing going for him. He saw the political landscape and knew that there would be a frontloading of heavily African-American states upon which he could count to propel the sense of unstoppable momentum. And how many of us associate Delaware, Maryland and Virginia as states with large African-American population? Unless you live on the east coast, you might not know that so it looks like an huge win. And it is. He got a lot of the rest of the population to vote for him but the demographic that puts him over the top is the African-American one. He couldn’t do that in New Jersey even though he wasted a lot of money here because we just don’t reach his AA threshhold. AND, like California, we have a growing number of Asians who love Clinton.

So, coming up, Obama is going ot have problems. He can only get so many of the young and single-issue voters (like Matt Stoller who pushed the button for Obama just because Hillary voted for the IWR. So, universal healthcare is significantly less important to Matt than holding one person accountable for the war and letting the other *non-voting* candidate get all the credit for being against it without having lifted a pinky to stopping it, but I digress). Obama has to turn out every single African-American voter in the remaining states and that number is finite and likely not going to convert it for him.

His game now is to continue the perception that he is wildly popular and unstoppable. He used all of his “time-out” endorsements on SuperTuesday and can now only appeal to Edwards and Gore. It doesn’t look like Edwards is going to endorse. And as I mentioned yesterday, Obama needs working class stiffs in the rust belt states coming up. The Edwards supporters were not these people. Edwards supporters were traditional liberals ala Paul Krugman who might well have already gone to Hillary’s column. The persuadable undecideds that are left are low-info voters who will make their minds up in front of the machines based on the last voice they heard.

Obama will probably win in WI but it is going to be close, I think. There’s only so much positive thinking you can do to overcome the vote count.

Add another data point.  As this post by Big Tent Democrat demonstrates, Obama spent well over a million buckaroos in Florida in an attempt to win the primary he claims should count, but only if it doesn’t count (if you get my drift).  African-Americans make up ~16% of the population there.  Hard to say if overt campaigning on Obama’s part would have gotten him the win but it’s not for lack of trying with bundles of cash.  BTW, as I suspected, Hillary has been winning these states on a budget.  Maybe that’s because she blew a lot of it on Iowa and NH but you gotta hand it to her, where she has won, it wasn’t by being a spendthrift.  Hmmmm, maybe it’s her message..,

8 Responses

  1. I don’t find it racist, perhaps in part because I did a similar vote parsing after Super Tuesday (CLICK ON MY NAME ABOVE FOR LINK). Admittedly, looking at state demographics gives us only a crude sense of voting patterns. However, I came to the conclusion that ethno-racial and class diversity favors Clinton and not Obama. I wrote:

    “DnA [at Too Sense] is right when he says that more diversity makes for a tougher state for Obama – and I’d point out that such diversity is along ethno-racial and class lines. For all Obama’s talk of unity and forward-marching on into the future, Clinton is the candidate who prevailed in the 21st century U.S. – a place of demonstrable ethnic diversity and economic inequality. All the privileged chatter of the affluent and/or young media distorts this uncomfortable reality.”

    This is based on the victories according to state percentages of whites, African-Americans, non-whites or non-blacks, median incomes and poverty rates. Just some back of the envelope calculations, but interesting, nonetheless.

  2. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to this blog: http://anglachelg.blogspot.com
    Anglachel has done a lot of voting behavior analysis. I would recommend skimming through her posts for January and February and paying attention to a lot of her cross tab analysis for the primaries and caucuses. She figured out a long time ago that Obama could not get the Democratic base – blue collar workers, Latinos, Asians, and the majority of women nationwide. Her postings are really great.

  3. Thanks to both of you for the links. I’ve just been looking at the most significant component but certainly not all the ones that explain the way things have played out.
    So, is perception management the dominant Obama campaign strategy right now?

  4. You correctly point out that Obama’s campaign is basically “just think it’s true and it will materialize.” I’m one of the old boomer women that Obama holds in such contempt, so the younger voters may not get this analogy; but his campaign reminds me of the “think” system in “The Music Man,” except he uses “hope” instead of “think.” He doesn’t have a plan to actually do anything — we’ve just got to have “hope” (or more accurately “hopium” as someone on another blog called it). I’m afraid, however, that if he gets the nomination what we will get in the end is not a big parade, but another bitter defeat (and possibly a permanent split in the Democratic Party).

  5. Here are some good comparisons of Hillary vs. Obama’s positions on trade and higher education that I found recently.


    Of course the problem is that most folks don’t vote on issues, they vote on perception. Right now the “perception molders” for Obama are winning that game. Like that old commercial says “where’s the beef”?

    What I find really disturbing about the Obama phenom is that people really are desparate for change and his advisors know it. But how much change is Mr. Go-along-to-get-along-in-the-senate going to realistically bring? No one has ever shown me one example where Obama actually created change. So how is this magically going to happen once he gets elected and the vested interests smootht alk him in to going along with them.

    Look at what happened to Markos now that he’s a big time political figure. Does he listen to his people anymore if they don’t agree with him? Looks like Kos has become the very gate he wanted to crash. It’s a very human thing that when you move up the ladder that your allegiances start to shift. Obama has had so much $$ thrown at him in such a short time I can’t believe it hasn’t warped his perpsective. Much less money and power and insider connections have certainly changed Kos and other of the more well known bloggers like Josh Marshall as well.

  6. Ooops there was one more link I meant to include. There a great pro-Hillary piece over at the Huff, so check it out.

    Why Hillary Clinton Still Matters

  7. Well.. You could also parse the support clinton gets by looking at strong women support or strong latino support. So I don’t get your point.

  8. Mader: My point is that Hillary’s support covers a much broader ethnic, economic and gender spectrum. If Obama were not in the race, the AA voters would be hers as well. She is a coalition builder. He is not. He is perfectly happy to be splintering our side in order to win but at best he is a boutique candidate who relies heavily on the AA vote in order to win.
    She has the heart of the Democratic party. He has the young, the single issue war voters and African-Americans.
    She represents core Democratic principles. He is willing to sacrifice those principles in order to appeal to independents and moderate Republicans.
    She is where the nation is politically and is asking people to join her there. He is already 7 years behind and is appealing to the right where people don’t really want to go right now.
    She is doing phenomonally well against a tsunami of bad press. He is being propelled by an excess of good press.
    She wins by hard work and results. He is surfing a hollow wave that will collapse the minute he’s the nominee.

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