Thursday, April 24, 2008

Is Pennsylvania a Microcosm of America? Tuesday's Primary Results Could Spell Big Trouble for Obama and Democrats

Are the Democrats once again ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? If the results of Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary are any indication, there could very well be an icy Autumn chill in the air come November for Sen. Barack Obama should he become the party's nominee for president.

In Obama, there is a very real danger that the party sends to the general election another George McGovern, who ultimately was viewed as the quintessential affluent, educated, urban North-Eastern uber-liberal who failed to connect with the working class. He lost the 1972 election to Richard Nixon in a landslide, with a 23.2 percentage points margin of victory in the popular vote, the 4th largest such margin in Presidential election history. McGovern, like Obama, aroused excitement among the youth vote, and ran an effective grass-roots campaign that won him the nomination. But from there he imploded, winning just one state, Massachusetts, in the general election. Many Democrats are starting to worry that Obama, against the GOP's presumptive nominee Sen. John McCain, who is perceived as a moderate independent, may face a similar fate.

And it is precisely McGovern's debacle that gave rise to the party's super-delegate system, a supposed fail-safe against sending another weak candidate to the general election even though voters may have fallen in love with him. It's naive and a mistake to think the Super D's will merely look at the current "math" in the Obama/Clinton race. Call me crazy, but I suspect as we draw closer to the convention, these party officials are going to focus more on true electability than anything else.

In Tuesday's Pennsylvania contest, Sen. Hillary Clinton won by a decisive 10% margin (ok, 9.4%, but I'm not gonna split hairs with the Obama-cans about .06%). So with an eye on November, is the Keystone State a microcosm of the rest of the U.S.? The answer is pretty scary if you (a) look at the type of voters Clinton won, and (b) believe Obama will ultimately be the Democratic nominee. Consider the following:

-Clinton won women 59-41
-Clinton won whites 63-37
-Clinton won white men 57-43
-Clinton won white women 68-32
-Clinton won age 45+ 59-41
-Clinton won moderates 60-40
-Clinton won conservatives 53-47
-Clinton won white Protestants 59-41
-Clinton won Catholics 70-30
-Clinton won Jews 62-38
-Clinton won those who attend weekly religious services 59-41
-Clinton won suburbs 59-41
-Clinton won small town/rural 63-37
-Clinton won gun owners 63-37
-Clinton won union households 59-41
-Clinton won voters who decided in last 3 days 59-41

And who did Obama win?:

-men 51-49
-blacks 90-10
-under age 45 55-45
-atheists/no religion 62-38
-never attend religious services 55-45
-cities/urban 60-40

And among liberals they tied at 50.

It's hard to analyze the above numbers and not hear the words "President McCain" if Obama's the nominee. Like McGovern, Obama cannot and will not win by merely snagging the black, affluent, educated, urban, atheist, and youth votes. Do you remember those loathsome Birkenstock-wearing, granola-crunching, Volvo-driving fill-in-the blank stereotype ads in 2004 against Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry? Imagine them mixed with clips of the Rev. Wright; BitterGate's guns and God blunder; Obama's lack of experience; the patriotism "question;" the flag-pin issue; Michelle's "pride;" etc. It's not a pretty picture.

Should we start saying, as Pennsylvania goes, so goes the country? The fact is, no Democrat has won the presidency without winning Pennsylvania since 1948. And no candidate has won the Democratic nomination without winning Pennsylvania since 1972. And with good reason. Voters in key battleground states like Pennsylvania and also Ohio mirror those voters across America; the white working class Democratic base that is a must-win for any candidate seeking not just the party's nomination, but the bigger prize in November. These voters, many of whom also comprise the so-called Reagan Democrats that swung not just to Reagan in the 80's but also President George Bush in two elections, are exactly the type of voter who is currently rejecting Obama.

It's astounding to me that we're actually worrying about the Democrats' chances in November to actually win this thing. The country is mired in war, the economy is in recession and gas prices are $4/gallon. For Pete's sake, this should be a friggin' cakewalk. But once again, Democrats just can't help themselves. Once again ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory....


Anonymous said...

They should run together. It would be the best thing to ensure a huge turnout.

Can we really count on the young vote? Only 10% of them voted in Pennsylvania.

Sidney Condorcet said...

Hey chicken little, lighten up.
I'm getting sick and tired of all the negativity and despair coming from the Democrats.

McCain has been completely untouched for the last few months. He has been outside the media spotlight. No attacks have been focused on him so far.

Yet he still polls even or slightly behind Obama. I'd be worried if he was amassing a major war chest and his numbers were consistently over 50% against either Democrat, what with the Dems eating their young and attempting to destroy itself.

Yet his numbers keep hitting a ceiling despite his good fortune. If McCain isn't taking advantage of this now, how will his numbers fair when the Dems start utilizing their 3-1 money advantage and carpet bombing the airwaves with ads that connect him to Bush's failed policies?

Don't despair Democrats! McCain is not a great General Election candidate. He will be lacking in money, enthusiasm, charm, and a good narrative.

Even if this goes through mid-June, if McCain's doesn't start pulling away in the polls, there's good reason to believe a united Democratic Party will crush him...

enough with the doom and gloom, Andy. You're being ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

McCain will be sold to us as a maverick. But we know better. McCain made a deal with the devil starting in 2000 when he sucked up to Bush. He sucked up to the religious right and is still sucking up to Bush/Cheney.

Sidney, you are so out of touch with real Americans. Why? Are you are Republican?

Unknown said...

The false presumption that if people prefer Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama, that they will prefer John McCain to Barrack Obama defies decades of voting behavior.

What Democrats need to do this summer is pound three things:

1) McCain cheated on his wife
2) McCain was part of the Keating Five
3) McCain has flip floppsed on the tax cuts for the rich to get nominated.

Pound on them, over and over and over.

Anonymous said...

You Obama people are hopelessly stupid, or childishly naive. Everything Ostroy has said is correct. Even the blacks are now writing in to Ostroy's blog and saying they will not vote for Hillary. Women are saying they will hot vote for Obama and racists on both sides will not vote for the other race. It is hopeless and it is over, unless one group yields, or unless one candidate can bring both factions together. Obama has not only failed at that, he has divided.

I'm for Hillary now that Obama has flopped, but I'm not sure she can do it. She does have a better chance in the general because of Bill's economic record and because she is more center than Obama. The Democratic Party will "bite off it's nose to spite its face." From the top down the Dems are looking dumb.

Sidney Condorcet said...

10:28, you make absolutely no sense. You say that we know better about McCain and that he made a deal with the devil but then call me out of touch for echoing your own sentiments in that McCain has flaws and stating that the Democrats shouldn't be so fearful because we can take McCain, that all is not lost.

Then you call me a Republican, when I clearly said that Democrats can beat McCain. How does that imply I'm a Republican?

There is little logic behind your presumption...Sheesh, they'll give anyone a computer and access to the internet these days...

Anonymous said...

Venndata has it right. The flaw in Andy's and many others argument is that if Hillary does better with certain demographics against Obama, the McCain will also. Success among segments of the population in the primaries is not an indicator of success in the general election. By that logic,if Huckabee did better than McCain. With evangelicals, then Obama will do better than McCain with evangelicals. No data to support that and not very likely. Once the primary. Season is over, the Democrats will start hammering McCain and things will be ok in November. Maybe closer than we'd like, but we'll be ok. McCain will be portrayed as old Washington, old policies, flip flopping on a number of issues and, of course, a strong proponent of a very unpopular war. Bush-McCain, Bush-McCain. Just keep repeating.

Anonymous said...

Correction Andy: it's 0.6%, not 0.06% and you can bet that you'd be making a deal of it if it meant Obama winning by 2 digits instead of one digit. Besides, when has anyone ever rounded UP on a decimal any less than 0.5? There you go again. Just like Hillary claiming she's won more of the popular vote with that fuzzy Clinton math.

But enough of that trivial crap. Take you own advice and STOP WHINING AND START WINNING.

PA stats to remember:
2.3 million Dems voted
800K Repubs voted (27% of which voted AGAINST McCain)

Want the November election to be a cakewalk? Then rally around the Dem frontrunner NOW and stop wasting Dem $$$ and energy on infighting.

Bush-McCain / Bush-McCain / McCain-S&L / McCain-Keating / McCain-RICH$$$$ / McCain-never has had to buy private health insurance / McCain-S&L / McCain-Hagee / McCain-Falwell / McCain-Bush / McCain-What housing crisis? / McCain-NAFTA / Bush-McCain

Anonymous said...

Bkln=Obama spin machine,also on obama paid staff

Anonymous said...

12:33pm=dumbass who believes that anyone who likes or supports Obama is spinning or is on Obama's paid staff....

Anonymous said...

Historical tragedy of the left-wing: parties which care more about fairness than about power, end up achieving neither.

Anonymous said...

I wish I was getting paid to be here, but I'm not. Just doing my civic duty.

And 12:33, remind us all again exactly WHAT it is in my post that's "spin"? You forgot to detail that.

Anonymous said...

When you see dems. fighting like this,you know their in deep,deep deep do-do(shit).They took a sure winner(clinton) and let the company's convince them she was unelectable.While the whole time giving Obama a cake-walk,knowing the Rev Wright,rezko,the weatherman and many other things,that will be coming to light soon(HINT-HINT).Now we're looking at 4 more years of war,no health care,more shifting of wealth and a decaying of america stature around the world.NOTHING LIKE BEING PLAYED

Anonymous said...

Further correction Andy:

Clinton victory margin is 9.2%

Your "decisive" margin is getting less decisive every day.

You call it 10% yet somehow I'm the one accused of spinning?

The Ostroy Report said...

BKLN...I believe it's folks like you who are going to be in for a massive wallop come November, as you seem to obssess over the truly insignificant minutae, while ignoring the hard realities of this campaign. 9.2%, 9.4%, 10%....until you can qualitatively demonstrate the statistical significance of one ove the other as it truly matters to Clinton and Obama....I will continue to ignore this for the useless nonsense that it is. I suggest you focus on a much more meaningful factoid, that being, why Obama can't seem to connect to white working class, women, hispanics, women, rural voters, gun owners, people of faith. Check out the specific voting results from PA that I posted earlier. PA is exactly the the of state Obama must win, but to-date cannot. I will focus on that, while you continue to focus on the .002 differences between the margins we both quote.
(jeez..God help Democrats....)

Anonymous said...

Andy - is it that Obama can't win the white working class vote, (etc.) or is it simply that Hillary did better than him in a head to head. Where is the evidence that shows when (if) it is Obama-McCain, McCain will fare better? It seems to be apples and oranges. Also, are we looking only at Democratic primary voters or all voters? The polls clearly show that Obama connects with independents and Republicans better than Hillary does.

Anonymous said...

The determining point made earlier needs repeating:

Obama got his lead over Hillary before the Wright story broke; the Ayers connection, his voting record, his "bitter" speech; his criminal real estate friend, Michelle's continuing remarks reflecting Wright; his snide little remarks about Hillary; and his total inadequacy as a debater.

Ever since these revelations, he's had a downslide. The polls reflect higher numbers than the actual vote he gets because people are not telling the truth -- either the voters, the ones polling, or the edia.

Obama can't win. He's damaged himself beyond repair.

Anonymous said...

Even as Hillary Clinton trails Barack Obama in pledged delegates, the popular vote, and number of states won, she has made it clear that she plans to stay in the race for the nomination. All of which brings me to this logical conclusion: It is time for Barack Obama to drop out.

If Clinton had the good of the Democratic Party in mind, she would have given up her bid the day after the Mississippi primary, which Obama won by 25 points. The delegate math was as dismal for her campaign then as it is now, even after Pennsylvania, and she was facing down a six-week gulf before the next election.

But Hillary Clinton isn’t going to drop out. There simply isn’t a function in her assembly code for throwing in the towel.

Obama, on the other hand, is fully capable of it. And if he’s really serious about representing a new kind of politics, now is the time for him to prove it in the only meaningful way left. Moreover, were he to play it right, dropping out now nearly guarantees that he’ll be elected president in 2012. Here’s the roadmap:

Obama drops out next week, stating that although he could almost certainly win the nomination by fighting it out until the convention in August, he is simply not willing to drag the party through a battle that will cripple its chances against John McCain. He then pledges to help support Sen. Clinton in her bid—with full knowledge that she will not take him up on the offer.

In one stroke, Obama will regain his messiah creds by making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of the party. His followers will be furious. The mere mention of Clinton’s name will provoke unspeakable acts. They will abandon Clinton in numbers sufficient to hand McCain the election in November.

Losing the presidency again after eight years of Bush will ruin the Democratic Party. It will become obvious that Clinton’s decision to stay in the race was the turning point in the election. The base will turn its wrath on party leaders like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi, who failed to push Clinton out. Obama, as the de facto head of the party, will broker negotiations to install new leaders loyal to him.

McCain will be eminently more beatable in 2012. Demographics will continue to shift in Obama’s favor as his 14- to 17-year-old supporters come of voting age. Anyone foolish enough to challenge Obama for the nomination—and don’t rule out Clinton—will go nowhere. Obama’s utopian vision for a Democratic party unified around him will be complete.

---Chris Wilson (

Anonymous said...


Please explain why you are so focused on demographics in Pennsylvania but fail to mention how your theory regarding white people not voting for Obama does not hold water in Iowa, Virginia or Wisconsin - also swing states.

I'm new here but want to know... you are a white guy and you support Hillary. Will you support Barack if he is the Dem nominee? If so, what is it about other white people who've been Democrats that will cause them not to vote for the party's nominee.

Further, since Obama is far more likely to be the nominee than Clinton, shouldn't you be working on a strategy to help bring everyone back into the fold no matter which is eventually the leader of our party? I mean, I think I read your masthead correctly...

Anonymous said...

Obama wins!!! The end....

Anonymous said...

I've been pondering this argument about Obama's weakness in the general election, and frankly, it's crap. Regardless of Pennsylvania, my analysis of primary election data shows the following UNDISPUTED FACTS:

--- In the 28 states that held both Republican and Democratic primaries (not caucuses), nearly twice as many Dems as Reps voted (27,371,217 vs. 14,617,247) and 26 of these primaries occurred on or BEFORE McCain clinched his nomination on March 4.

--- Dems outvoted Reps in 25 of the 28 primaries (exceptions: Alaska, Arizona, and Utah)

--- Over all 28 states, Obama received twice as many votes as McCain (13,502,540 vs. 6,797,249) and nearly as many votes as ALL THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES COMBINED (Obama: 13,502,540 vs. ALL REPS 14,617,247)

--- Adding together the votes from the so-called "big states" of Illinois, NY, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and California, Obama received MORE TOTAL VOTES than ALL REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES COMBINED

....................................... OBAMA ...... ALL REP CANDIDATES
ILLINOIS*........................1,301,954........... 885,009
NEW YORK*..................... 697,914........... 602,747
OHIO............................... 979,025........ 1,010,864
PENNSYLVANIA* ............. .1,045,910.......... 807,122
TEXAS*........................... 1,358,785......... 1,320,653
CALIFORNIA.....................1,890,026......... 2,514,047

........................ TOTAL .... 7,273,614......... 7,140,442

* Individual "big states" (4 of 6) in which Obama received more votes than ALL REP CANDIDATES COMBINED.

Conclusion: While there may be good reasons (or not) to choose Clinton over Obama, Clinton's so-called "electability"/Obama's "weakness" is not one of them. Based on my analysis of the numbers of actual voters who turned out, it's clear that Obama CAN'T LOSE unless Clinton somehow implodes the party completely.

Data Source: CNN Election Central. Numbers subject to changes as states update their results.

Prius said...

DAVEK had no mention of the votes that Hillary got in her in Florida and Michigan. Look, these votes are real votes it's just that the DNC (Howard Dean) doesn't want to make us count. These votes will be counted before this is all over and Hillary will be the candidate and will go on to whip McBush's ass.

Anonymous said...

Read Paul Krugman in the NY Times today. Past statistics are moot.

It has become clear that "it's the economy stupid" and Hillary will now soar to victory.

Sidney Condorcet said...

Prius actually believes that Hillary will end up winning this thing?!? Please, what you're smoking seems likes pretty good shit, be a good Democrat and share with the rest of us.

Florida should definitely be counted. I say that as an Obama supporter. He was on the ballot as was she. Neither campaigned there. Sure, she had the inherent benefit of being universally known. Her name ID was 100%. Obama was still in the process of introducing himself to voters, so he needed to campaign there more than she. But he was on the ballot and it should be counted.

Michigan on the other hand is an entirely different ball of wax. There is no justification to allowing Michigan to count as he and Edwards were not even on the ballot. Democrats pride themselves on viewing fairness of the process as essential. As such, there's no way Michigan should count...Any argument you make in support of counting Michigan is guaranteed to be meritless, disingenuous, and positively moronic.

Anonymous said...

Pay attention Ostroy.

Your 1% error is trivial and I called it so from the first moment.

Thank you for finally admitting that you consider facts to be nothing more than "useless nonsense".

You're being a disingenuous liar to suggest that you don't understand the power of the narrative and the indisputable difference between a "decisive double digit victory" and the FACTUAL single digit victory that represents a dramatic loss of a 30 point lead.

By this metric, Hillary BOMBED in PA.

The way you write your headlines makes all the difference in the world to Americans who spend endless hours watching Survivor/etc but "don't have time" to keep up with politics.

Your work on this is sloppy Andy and appeals to the lowest common denominator. Your attempt to score a cheap shot by suggesting "people like me are in for a wallop in November" is flaccid. People like me are not the delusional ones who are suggesting that the Dem currently in second place and millions in debt is somehow more capable than the one who is in first place and flush with cash.

Way to "catapult the propoganda" Andy! Bush will be sending you your gold star soon.

As has already been aptly pointed out, your "big state" factoids are - when not completely wrong - hold no water at all and are almost entirely irrelevant to the general election.

Prius said...

Sidney, remember now, Edwards and Obama elected NOT to have their names on the ballots in Michigan. It shows that Hillary had the good judgement to keep her name on the ballot. Why would the other two elect not to have their names there, poor thinking I'd say. When people vote in this "free" country it is expected that every vote be counted, PERIOD!

Remember in 1968 this stuff was still going strong into June, when RFK was killed. Why stop this train wreck now?

Anonymous said...


What good judgment was shown by keeping her name on the ballot - that she could play both sides of the fence? Hillary said that Michigan would not count when she believed that she was the inevitable nominee. Now that she's not, the story changes and Michigan should count.

Imagine the outcry, no, laughter that would come from her camp if the situation were reversed.

Anonymous said...

Of course the point Prius makes is indisputable. Edwards and Obama did not show good judgment. Should they then be rewarded by excluding Michigan? Would that be fair to the American citizens in Michigan? Let's take another look at the meaning of fairness.

Let's look at the "fairness" of the three top wimps of the Dem Party, Reid, Pelosi and Dean, joining hands for support to force the super delegates to make a choice right away.

Anonymous said...

You just can't make this stuff up.

First Dean is a wimp for not "leading" the Party. Now Dean is a wimp for asking SDs to step up and make a decision. And since when have "wimps" ever been able to force anything?

Damned if he doesn't, damned if he does. What hypocrisy.


This was all fine with Clinton (who arrogantly assumed she would be coronated by Super Tuesday) and everybody else.

But now Hillary is losing so here come the dogs howling and whining about how UNFAIR it is.

Shoulda thought about that before.

Stop whining and start winning.

Anonymous said...

Prius missed my point completely. Clinton argues that she is more "electable" than Obama. The primary turnout PROVES otherwise, whether or not you count Michigan or Florida (which you can't because they were DISQUALIFIED for breaking the rules that the candidates both agreed upon).

Anonymous said...

Folks (you know who you are), get a life The primary election data shows that both Clinton and Obama individually got nearly as many, or more, votes in the primaries than ALL THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES COMBINED.

Prius said...

The Republican majority, including our governor, moved the primary date here in Florida. It took Dean to play big shot and punish us for a stupid idea that there are "holy" states that have to be first, no matter what. All of the candidates then played by Deans rules and did not campaign here, not even with TV or paper ads, but they all kept their names on the ballots. The same was true for Michigan and the ONLY one that kept her name on the ballot was Hillary, good for her. I received another pledge envelope from the DNC begging for money yesterday. I wrote on the form, in bold print, that I will open my check book when they count the vote I cast here in Florida. This is what I have replied to ALL of the candidates and organizations that have begged for bucks.

DaveK, this is a close race. It's neck and neck, with both candidates having slight leads in various aspects. Counting ALL of the votes (FL and MI) Hillary leads, counting all the big states with the most electoral votes, Hillary leads. Adding in the delegates from FL and MI Hillary will be even, so don't drink the media's cool aide about Obama and think this whole thing through.

Listening to Pelosi last evening on Larry King she too has shown what a disappointment she has turned out to be. When asked about Hillary having Obama as VP or vise versa she said she was against it. Is she and Dean the best we have for leaders of this party? I can not believe these people.

I think the only solution is having a Clinton/Ostroy ticket. Come on Andy run, make us proud, that WOULD be the Dream Team.

Anonymous said...


Factually, you are incorrect. Yes the Republican governor and Republican majority voted to move up Florida's primary. But you conveniently forgot to add one little bit of pretty important information - namely that the Flordia House voted 118-0 in favor of moving up the primary. That means every Democratic member of the Florida House voted to strip Florida primary voters of a say in nominating a candidate.

More importantly you neglected to mention that Hillary Clinton AGREED to the DNC rule when she mistakenly presumed she would be the shoo-in nominee. She even publicly stated that Iowa and New Hampshire being first was important. Now that her calculus has proven wildly off, she wants to change the rules in the middle of the game. (BTW, Clinton was not the ONLY candidate who left her name on the ballot in Michigan. Dodd, Gravel and Kucinich were also on the ballot. Obama, Edwards and Richardson removed their names from the MI ballot and likely would have done so in FL if the rules would have allowed them to do so.)

That's not leadership, it's childish. And I can only imagine the hoots of derision from her camp if this situation was reversed.

Oh, and both camps do not have leads. Obama leads in votes and delegates. It's only if you fudge the rules can you make the claim of Hillary leading in total votes. Even then, votes don't determine the nominee. Delegates do.

Ultimately, I think Rahm Emmanuel is right. How the loser loses this nomination will determine if the winner wins in November.

So let's unify and remember that John McCain is the real target - not a fellow Democrat!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:07 - spot on.