Monday, April 28, 2008

The Obama Myth?

Yesterday, an Obama supporter parroted the often used line that he is a stronger candidate than Clinton, based on the ability to win "red" states, draw support from new voter polls, expand the Democratic brand. This argument is central to the Obama campaign, Clinton is too divisive, only Obama can appeal, he is a better match against McCain.

Just for fun, I thought I would put that theory to the test. I've taken all the polls, the head to head matchups with McCain, in every state available. The criteria is as follows, I've awarded both candidates the Electoral College votes for each state, if they meet the minimum threshold of at least a statistical tie. Here are the results:
Arkansas: Clinton 6 Obama 0

California: Clinton 55 Obama 55

Colorado: Clinton 0 Obama 9

Florida: Clinton 27 Obama 0

Indiana: Clinton 0 Obama 0

Iowa: Clinton 0 Obama 7

Maine: Clinton 4 Obama 4

Mass: Clinton 12 Obama 12

Michigan: Clinton 0 Obama 17

Minnesota: Clinton 9 Obama 9

Missouri: Clinton 11 Obama 0

Nevada: Clinton 0 Obama 5

New Hampshire: Clinton 0 Obama 4

New Jersey: Clinton 15 Obama 15

New Mexico: Clinton 5 Obama 0

North Carolina: Clinton 0 Obama 0

Ohio: Clinton 20 Obama 20

Oregon: Clinton 7 Obama 7

Pennsylvania: Clinton 21 Obama 21

Texas: Clinton 0 Obama 0

Virginia: Clinton 0 Obama 0

Washington: Clinton 11 Obama 11

West Virginia: Clinton 5 Obama 0

Wisconsin: Clinton 0 Obama 10


Clinton 208
Obama 206

If anyone (Obama supporters) want to quibble with the use of a statistical tie in the polls, I would remind them that Obama gains both Pennsylvania and Ohio using this measure- it seems fair, since a tie is the unknown, both candidates subject to the same methodology.

There you have it, a slight Clinton lead, really a deadheat. That shouldn't really surprise anyone, given the closeness of the race, but it does challenge a central tenet of the Obama campaign- electability. The projected numbers tend to make the claim look more myth than actuality.


Anonymous said...

When was "electability" a central tenet of the Obama campaign?

iirc, Clinton is the one who has been parroting the line that Obama is unelectable for the last 3 weeks.

Steve V said...

"When was "electability" a central tenet of the Obama campaign?"

Sorry, I just can't take you seriously. Come on.

Scott Tribe said...

Well then Steve, let' look at a different site, as shown by Kos:

Electoral-Vote now has a map color-coded for which candidate does better against McCain. Clinton does better than Obama in 6 states totalling 92 electoral votes. Obama does better than Clinton in 15 states totalling 164 electoral votes.

Red Canuck said...

Steve - With regards to anon's comment, while Obama's campaign has talked about electability in red states, the Clinton campaign has long been using the same argument for swing states. In fact, it's been the core theme of her push for the uncommitted superdelegates. We may see some of that rhetoric cooling on both sides now, but time will tell.

In any case, I don't take these "electability" vs McSame polls too seriously at this stage of the game. The Democrat respondents have split allegiance between Obama and Clinton. Right now, a fair number of these people say they they would vote for McSame if their Dem candidate doesn't win the nomination, but I think that sentiment will dissolve once the nominee is determined and it becomes a real on one one Presidential campaign.

MarkCh said...

Gotta love the colour choices in that electoral-vote site: brown for Obama and pink for Hillary. :-)

Steve V said...


That's a great map, problem is if you look at who wins what states, Clinton actually comes up with 32 more Electoral College votes than Obama. I just used the state's listed on Pollster, if you include every state, which the map does, then it really makes Clinton look more electable. Last time I checked, the margins in states are important, it's winning them. If you base your analysis to who becomes President, that map makes a much more compelling case than what I've provided.

Somehow I willing to bet Markos didn't do the math when he pointed to this map ;)

Steve V said...


Yes, Hillary has been using electability in the last few weeks, but if you go back to when Obama was rolling, his campaign was releasing items daily touting his electability, his low negatives, her inability to broaden appeal- that was a central talking point. All I'm showing here, and I just let the numbers lead me, the argument that Obama is better positioned to win in the fall has no real basis in fact, or at the very least, the information provided to date/

Steve V said...


If you use the map it's:

Obama 270
McCain 269

Clinton 302
McCain 237

Hopefully the Clinton campaign doesn't get a hold of Markos cute map ;)

JimmE said...

See, what all this neglects is the "Red Meat" factor. I have friends & relatives State-Side who fall in two camps, Blue & Red Meat. the Blues will tend to vote Democrat no matter who the nominee is - some may vote McCain but they ALL will vote. The "red meat" side on the other hand may or may not vote, some may even vote for Obama, but if, as they say "that woman" is the candidate they will convince their friends, relatives, coworkers, dog sitters, garbage collectors their kith & their kin (& perhaps even me) to vote anybody but Clinton. Clinton is red meat to these folks, I have been in very civil mello conversations with people & if they see "that woman" on the TV they got crazy! (some are even women). Obama may not win if he is the candidate in November, but Clinton will set the Dems back 8 or more years if she is the candidate. Can I point to a website or statistics? No. The best I can do is quote my long suffering brother in Alaska who in November of '07 said: " the Democrats will find some way to EFF things up & elect Clinton, & loose what should be a sure thing."

Anonymous said...

"Somehow I willing to bet Markos didn't do the math when he pointed to this map ;)"

Scott was attacking MyDD as a pro-Hillary website. While Jerome Armstrong is pro-Hillary, Jonathan Singer is with Obama. The postings on MyDD seems to be fair-minded for me.

MyDD has Clinton ahead in the Electoral College, which reflects the recent polls. Still it is late April and Obama is guaranteed to have the Latino and rust belt working class Dems if he wins the nomination. The Deep South working class is another matter, but I don't think Hillary does that much better there.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't the whole electability thing hammered out by the press and pundits?

Anonymous said...

The only thing that is now important in this race, in my mind, is the superdelegate count. Great article in the WSJ today.

Obama has taken the lead in terms of delegates who are gearing up for re-election in 08 and 2010.

Today's WSJ

Despite his loss in Pennsylvania and other campaign bumps, Barack Obama is heavily favored to win what will be the final and decisive contest for the Democratic presidential nomination -- the "invisible primary" for the convention votes of party leaders.

and this is why I think Clinton's strategy of focusing on the big states was a stupid move, given that the DNC and new party leadership are moving towards a 50 state strategy

...His campaign also just announced a 50-state voter mobilization. That reflects another pitch to nonelected party officials: That Sen. Obama would work to build the party even in Republican "red" states, and has the money to do it, while Sen. Clinton focuses only on Democratic "blue" states and battlegrounds such as Ohio.

Interviews with party officials suggest this appeal has effectively exploited lingering resentments that the DNC, under President Clinton, abandoned the red states. "Obama has made it absolutely clear he's committed to the 50-state strategy, and the Clintons obviously aren't," says Nebraska party chairman Steve Achepohl, who endorsed Sen. Obama last week. "That's a major factor for all the party people in smaller states."

The Democrats got burned in 00 and 04 by doing exactly what Hillary proposes to do again in 08.


Steve V said...


That's fine and dandy, but there is no evidence that the 50 state strategy is anything more than wishful thinking. Anyone who pays attention knows that a few select states will ultimately decide the race, that is where everyone's attention should lie in the short term.

BTW, the Democrats won in 2000 :)