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SurveyUSA released 50-state Obama-McCain and Clinton-McCain matchups. It's the most definitive showing yet that polling results offer no clues as to which candidate is the most electable.

The net-net of the Statewide polling is that Clinton leads in states with 276 electoral votes and Obama leads in states in 280 votes. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses: for instance Obama loses Pennsylvania outside the margin of error and Florida and New Jersey by a hair, but takes Virginia and several western states where Hillary is behind. Hillary puts Florida out-of-reach to Republicans but her "Latino advantage" doesn't do the trick in states like Colorado and Nevada where Obama is ahead and she loses. Both are 10 points ahead in Ohio despite Obama's big loss in the primary.
    Analyzing electability under these circumstances depends upon subjective factors. Those who believe in transformational politics tend to favor the chances of Obama - hence his popularity among the young and net-roots (an appeal like Robert Kennedy's base in 1968). Those who believe the politics of the next election is likely to be an attritional war like those of the past and believe based upon past history in the ability of the Republican attack machine to rough up shiny new candidates like Dukakis or Kerry or even Carter tend to favor Clinton's chances as an Timex ("takes a lickin' and keeps on ticking").
    The "deep factors" in the race favor the Democratic candidate, as kos repeatedly argued before things broke in Obama's favor after Super Tuesday. The Democratic party has a substantial lead when separated from the names of the candidates. Gallup did an excellent historical analysis in the late fall on how the horse race polls tend to move in the direction of the pre-election "democrat" vs. "republican" (unnamed candidates) preferences over the length of a campaign. More importantly, economic predictions of elections have a fairly good track record. All the signs today point to job losses through and past the election.
    Anything can happen in an election, as was shown in the miraculous way Obama's opponents collapsed when he ran for the Senate, or McCain's republican opponents collapsed for him when his campaign was dead. There is, however, only one clear path to Republican victory - bitterness by the losing candidate's supporters. My first election in which I was emotionally involved was 1968 - the election that killed liberalism. I remember well the bitterness and sense of betrayal of McCarthy and Kennedy supporters after Chicago and their feelings that that wonderful, liberal "happy warrior", Hubert Humphrey was just like Nixon, the Darth Vader of American politics. America still has not recovered from the wounds of that election - the election that turned "liberal" into an epithet to run away from (confirmed and magnified in 1972).
    The entire tenor of this website today is to portray Hillary Clinton as the very personification of evil - most of you are gearing up the justification for bolting or sitting out if she wins. Public polling indicates that similar sentiments are rising among Hillary's less articulate base of supporters. Each set of supporters is convinced that the others have played the race card unfairly during the period between Iowa and South Carolina's aftermath when Obama successfully stripped Hillary of all African-American support. If bitterness over the outcome of the primary race causes the loser's supporters to fail to coalesce, you will have the rest of your life to deeply regret the outcome.

Originally posted to Themistokles on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 04:49 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I noticed something Tuesday night (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    On Tuesaday night, Obama and Clinton spoke to huge crowds as the primary went on. But on the night John McCain clinched the Republican nomination. It looked about the size of a half decent country club wedding reception, or a retirement party.

  •  You just want to get whomped on by both sides (0+ / 0-)

    don't you.

    In 2000, a criminal became President. In 2004, we failed to remove him.
    American Democracy, 1787-2004, RIP

    by davewill on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 04:52:47 PM PST

  •  Beautifully stated. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Recommended, can't tip right now because my TU status is on hold, apparently because I support Hillary.

    But yours are my thoughts as well.  I hope it sinks in with some folks here.

    YOU are the only one that knows THE truth. The rest of us are ignorant a**holes. We therefore bow before YOU in humility to accept YOUR truth - NOT.

    by Gabriele Droz on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 04:53:48 PM PST

  •  This is quite a good analysis (0+ / 0-)

    My one question is about the following statement:

    Gallup did an excellent historical analysis in the late fall on how the horse race polls tend to move in the direction of the pre-election "democrat" vs. "republican" (unnamed candidates) preferences over the length of a campaign.

    My question? What the heck does it mean?

    "The fact which the politician faces is merely that there is less honor among thieves than was supposed, and not the fact that they are thieves." Thoreau

    by shigeru on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 05:01:48 PM PST

    •  Which party do you want to win? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are typically questions at the earliest stages of a race, before a candidate is settled on, as to whether you would prefer a generic Republican or generic Democratic candidate?
      Gallup analyzed those figures compared to the voter preference for the named candidates at the outset of the period when each candidate was selected. They found that if they was, say, a 8 point advantage in the generic question, but the race at the outset was tied, by the end of the race the result tended to be in the middle between the generic polling and the initial results with the candidate named.

  •  I agree with your sentiment (0+ / 0-)

    But with all due repsect, I believe that closer analysis of the numbers from the SUSA poll show a strong trend that one candidate is more electable than the other.

    You're dead on though that the only path to GOP victory is for the supporters of one Dem candidate to abandon the other one in the General Election.

    •  not convinced (0+ / 0-)

      These sort of polls are quite volatile, look at the recent movement in the Clinton McCain matchups. As Bowers points out in an important caveat, these results were compiled before the win in Ohio and the "win" in Texas - not trying to argue who won - just that it has been mostly portrayed that way.
      So from a Clinton analyst's standpoint, these are the results after 11 straight losses.
      Frankly, during the course of the campaign there have been sets of polls with Clinton showing up better and for the month of February, Obama showed up better. This was a poll after a good week for CLinton following a good month for Obama. It's all subjective.

      •  further explanation (0+ / 0-)

        After looking at the crosstabs in a few states, these results seem to be taken 2/26-28 not only before the Ohio win, but before CLinton's surge in the last 3 days. At that time Obama had a preference lead of about 6 points over Clinton. Since then Rasmussen and Gallup show the tracking polls in Clinton's favor and SurveyUSA shows Clinton with a 2 point edge in comparisons against McCain.
        This volatility does not argue that Clinton is stronger than Obama, but that in the face of such volatility that we can't objectively tell.

        •  and more (0+ / 0-)

          I see in Barone's column, he says:
          "In both the McCain-Obama and McCain-Clinton pairings, the candidates were within 5 points of each other in 14 states. But they aren't all the same states: There are 25 of them altogether (only Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are on both lists). "

  •  I respectfully disagree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Capt Morgan

    Look at pablano's analysis from last night. It clearly shows Obama is the stronger general election candidate, and its not even close.

  •  I suspect that by July (0+ / 0-)

    as this race gets nasty, the party will be totally divided and neither candidate will be able to unite the party.  The superdelegates may have to step in and nominate a compromise candidate such as Al Gore, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, or Wes Clark.

    I will not vote for Clinton, to the point where I'll likely vote McCain here in PA, and many Clinton supporters will not vote for Obama.

    "The era of Scooter Libby justice, Brownie incompetence and Karl Rove politics will finally be over this year" Reject Marc Rich justice and Mark Penn politics.

    by IhateBush on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 05:31:20 PM PST

  •  Great diary (0+ / 0-)

    A much more eloquent statement of my plan all along.

    We need to pull together and elect a Democrat. I will vote for Clinton or Obama in the general election. I think the stakes are too high at this point to let the Republicans win the White House again. The worst thing would be to hand the election to them because of party infighting.

    Having said that, Clinton is not pulling any punches given that Obama is her current opponent, so Obama is obliged to respond and makes his case.

    I hope he chooses to remain dignified and true to his promise to practice a new kind of politics. I have seen a poll that for the first time shows Clinton as well as Obama beating McCain (Newsweek 3/5-6/08), so regardless of the delegates won in Texas, Obama needs to be watchful of any long-term bounce Clinton may have received, and not let campaign missteps like the "monster" comment or talk of boycotting Clinton derail his effort.

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