Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Obama's troubles

Interesting to note, Election 2008, a site which monitors state polling, has Clinton beating McCain 284 - 237, with Michigan as a 17 point tie. Alternatively, Obama is seen losing to McCain 242 - 285, with Indiana an 11 point tie.

Clinton's source of strength is bringing in Arkansas, Florida, New Mexico, Ohio and West Virginia, while losing Wisconsin and New Hampshire. That's a 49 vote pickup from 2004.

Meanwhile Obama can bring in Colorado, Iowa, and New Mexico but drops Michigan, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin, a net loss of 10 votes from 2004.

Obviously the polls will shift as Clinton fades away and it becomes a straight Obama vs McCain race. The question is where will those Clinton supporters return to Obama, or will enough turn to McCain?

Michigan and Florida remain vital battleground states. Clinton is polling high because she's been the only Democrat campaigning in those states but it remains to be seen if Obama can keep Michigan in the fold from 2004, or if his issues connecting with working-class voters will hamper him in 2008.

As for Florida, I don't see him winning it in November. He doesn't seem to resonate well with all those senior citizens, Jews, and Hispanics.

Another big state is Ohio with 20 electoral college votes. From feverish campaigning and acute posturing, Clinton is up there as well. Again, it shows Obama's issues connecting with working-class whites. The question is, can he make that connection between now and 2008? And will the DNC's punishment of Florida and Michigan at the convention ultimately hamstring the party in November?

I can't help but wonder how Obama would be doing in those key states of Michigan, Ohio, and Florida, had this nomination process been more conventional, and had Clinton not painted him as an elitist over the last two months and carped on and on about seating the Florida and Michigan delegates. Clinton has gained nothing from all of this, but what have Obama and Democrats lost?

Clinton is on her way to Florida today to argue that Obama is disenfranchising the states Democratic primary voters. This will net her nothing, as the math is already too far against her, and will certainly further harm Obama's chances in that state come November. Clinton has intoned a similar message in Michigan. It has been this kind of relentless march by Clinton, a venerable Sherman through Atlanta, that could ultimately ruin the Democrats in 2008.

Clinton has reached a kind of Kucinichesque marginalization. She has become the Ralph Nader of 2008, someone who has no shot of winning, but could certainly damage the left's chances for victory in November. I can't help but wonder what the tone would be if it was Obama undermining the prohibitive front-runner in the same way. If it were Clinton ahead in every metric but the final count, and Obama refused to concede, the outcry among Democrats would be vicious.

For all of her complaining about unfair media bias against women, Clinton has more or less been given a free pass to remain in the race, even to counter productive ends, surely because of her name and her gender. No one has the nerve to point out the obvious and tell the lady it's time to leave the dance.

No comments: