Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New Hampshire

Pretty shocking results on the Democratic side, not necessarily a bad development in the grand scheme. On the Republican side, McCain puts a period on a stunning reversal of fortunes. My two cents on why the polls, pundits (and myself) were wrong, what turned the race for Clinton.

The weather was beautiful and warm, a fact which generally means better turnout amongst older voters. By all accounts, older voters decidedly went to Clinton. Clinton also seemed to score very well with women voters, many of whom changed their minds in the last 24 hours. McCain was able to draw a bigger percentage of independents to the Republican Primary, this fact hurt Obama in the end.

There has to be a moment here, because apart from partisan fanatics, there wasn't one columinist that saw this result coming. The press reacted to yesterday's "teary" plea by Clinton with uneven reaction. Apparently, the voters reacted in different fashion, Clinton became sympathetic and the soft voter turned back to her in the end. You don't see a wave stop abruptly, unless it meets something powerful, to my mind this was that moment, which wasn't properly accounted for.

No Democratic that has won the first two contests has failed to win the nomination. With a Clinton win tonight, the race is wide open and a period of sober thought will follow. Despite what looked inevitable, it is a positive development that this race slows down, people can weigh the options, some of the rock star hysteria wanes. Super Tuesday is now what it was intended to be, which makes for a fascinating few weeks.

On the Republican side, McCain's win today sends him off to Michigan, a state he won in 2000. Romney staggers on, pocketbook in hand, but tonight is a devastating loss. Anyone who reads this blog will be aware that I picked up on McCain through the fall, which I offer as balance for the blindside on the Democratic side :)

I'm actually glad that tonight went down in this way. Despite trying to read the tea leaves, that doesn't translate to an endorsement of what can happen in politics. This race really shouldn't end in such short order, whether empirically, philosophically or strategically. Obama may well be the real deal, but the Democrats are better served if he stands in the glare for a time first, to see more layers. Tonight the process wins, let's see what happens.


Mike said...

McCain won New Hampshire in 2000 too. Didn't help him much...

Dame said...

Time for a little "Eatin Crow"?
Hillary is the Real Deal for democrats everybody Wake up and Sober up Now ..

regarding McCain I don't know what you see in Him at all he was sitting on the fence in the last 8 years or so . saying whatever seemed to be advancing him for this moment .. he is addicted to the win.. win.. win .. /the war/ sentiment probably as a psychological need for healing himself.
he should retire .he can't do the much needed huge work for the transformation what is ahead.
But he is the only Republican I can look at with some acceptance .
All in all it was a good day for me.

Susan said...

Obama is not what everyone is projecting onto him - he needs to say what he means specifically - i'ts a long race and the word "change" is getting worn out. Clinton made a remark in one of the debates that one of his key people is a drug lobbyist - no one picked it up - where's the change with a guy fist in glove with the pharmaceutical industry?

Anonymous said...

Well, my sentiments match yours, Steve, as you've gathered (repeatedly, I'm sure ; ) over the past several days.

I am relieved that there can actually be a race now. No coronation and no rock star. An actual race and a debate of ideas - dreams and policies.

That is what the Democrats need. Hell, that is what democracy needs.

Steve V said...

"McCain won New Hampshire in 2000 too. Didn't help him much..."

True, but there is no establishment candidate this time, so the dynamic is different.


"Time for a little "Eatin Crow"?

Not too much. Afterall, Clinton's own people had resigned themselves to defeat yesterday, there was talk of bypassing the next contests, to conserved money which had dried up. When the campaign thinks they will lose, it speaks volumes to how unexpected the results really were.

As Joseph says, lucky for the process, we now get a more substantive debate.

Anonymous said...

On another thread you asked me with some derision, how anything less than a 9% could have been spun as a win. Bill Clinton lost New Hampshire by 9% in 1992. It was spun as a win. I just thought you might want to know that.

Hillary doesn't need to spin the win of course. She did what her husband couldn't and took New Hampshire.

Realistically, Obama got 30% in Iowa in a state where massive out of state youth voted, which is technically legal as you can live in Iowa for one day and vote. HOwever he can't duplicate that. He also can't duplicate 30% becomeing 38% with non viable voters being sent over from other camps.

His support has hovered around 25% since the beginning of the campaign. He did 5% better in Iowa. But his solid support is 25%.

It's probably not going to be enough when he gets some critical examination. Not to mention many other states are closed states. ie only democrates can vote.

The race will be good for him. It will be good for the democrats and the US. His chances of winning, slim.

Cokie Roberts said the other day. He has to bring out record numbers of youth in every state, not just Iowa to win. Doubtful that it wil happen.

A man with a one page resume whose record is mostly one of not voting, can not be President of the United States. Not with closer examination.

Anonymous said...

by the way, i saw it coming as a possibility and I'm not a partisan fanatic. I just can read polls and go with standard historically proven turnouts of young people, which is what happened.

But coming from someone who wants to insult me for suggesting a 9% loss could be spun as a win when he doesn't even know that is exactly what Bill Clinton lost by in the same state, I'll take it with a grain of salt.

Biased is what I would describe as your analysis. Calling people partisan fanatics is just being childish.

Obama's campagin by the way is very much like Ignatieff's. Pretty speeches, no experience, no substance, fanatic PAID youth orchestrating questionable tactics.

Liberals saw through Mr. Ignatieff and his political theatre. I predict American s will do the same with Mr. Obama.

Steve V said...


You should give the CLinton campaign a call. Clearly, you are the most intelligent person on earth. I've read a few things around the blogosphere that gave me pause, your comments weren't among them.

Anonymous said...

Like I said, coming from someone who didn't know Bill Clinton lost NH by 9% and derided me for suggesting it, I'll take that with a grain of salt.

You should take pause when someone points out you aren't reading polls correctly. you should also not lie. I laid exactly how Clinton could win last night and predicted it as possible and it was exactly what happened.

Like I said Obama has consistent 25% support. it went up to 30% with youth, many brought in from out of State in Iowa. That went to 38% with non viables sent over by Richardson.

If you stop being a partisan fanatic for a moment and think about a) the fact taht he will now actually have to withstand critical examination, and b) many states are now closed to democrats only you could clearly see that he has an uphill battel, which is a very good thing.

The man has a one page resume. There is an interesting OP ed piece in the NY times about it. You should read it.

The most interesting statistic last night.

Of those voters who think experience is important in the US president 71% voted for CLinton
5% Obama

That's not a typo 71% Clinton 5% Obama.

When Americans think about their economy and the war and health care and the tough questions are asked. he will not withstand the scrutiny.

by the way, its not rocket science to see a bounce coming down. No one should have included Saturday in ttheir numbers.

Two polling firms had him at a 1% lead on primary eve. The mistake was the "partisan" bias in the reporting not the numbers.

Steve V said...


Whatever. I took you comments as the mad flailings of someone who couldn't accept what was happening. Like I said, Clinton's people had given up on the race, nobody saw this coming. You were the only person in North America to read the polls that way, everyone else suggested otherwise.

I'm happy it turned out this way, as I said before I didn't really have a horse in that race.

Anonymous said...

With the economy problems in the US right now - people are truly worried and apparently a large majority feel Clinton would be best to deal with it.

Obama has said exactly how he plans to "change" things.

You need a plan - not just words.

Anonymous said...

"-Self-identified Democrats made up 54% of the electorate. She won them, 45% to 34%.
-She won voters without a college degree, 43% to 35%.

-She won voters with incomes less than $50,000, 47% to 32%.

-She won voters over the age of 65, 48% to 32%. She also won voters in their 40s (44% to 33%) and their 50s (39% to 30%).

-She won Catholics, 44% to 27%.

-She won urban voters, 43% to 35%. She won suburban voters, 42% to 31%.

-She won voters from union families, 40% to 31%.

-She won voters who said they have been "falling behind" economically, 43% to 33%.

-She won long-time voters, 38% to 33%.

That doesn't even include women. And yes she won the female vote.

An additional ingredient to Clinton's success was a victory among female voters, 46% to 34%. Obama won male voters, 40% to 29%. But female voters outvoted male voters, 57% to 43%.

As I said, Clinton's is the type of electorate that has delivered Democrats the nomination again and again. These results remind me a great deal of the electorate that delivered Mondale the nomination in 1984 - noting, of course, the irony that Clinton won New Hampshire with this bloc and Mondale did not.

This suggests the model for Clinton moving forward: win by appealing to the traditional Democratic electorate. If she must fight Obama state-by-state, she would do well to reformulate this "Mondale Model" again and again.* This bloc of voters is more sizeable in other states."

Real Clear Politics Jay Cost

You cannot expect to win a Democratic nomination with record numbers of independents, youth and men in every state. You just can't.

Anonymous said...

Steve you continue to insult me when I clearly saw the numbers you did not. I was right. The numbers were right, except Zogby, who must have changed their sampling model to reflect Iowa, a mistake.

I saw it. The numbers were clear. Its not rocket science to assume a standard number of independents and youth. Its not rocket science to see a bounce coming down.

You are the one with mad flailings, you ant the entire MSM, not me. I saw it quite clearly and proved it to you.

The fact that you cant even admit this now but would rather insult me AGAIN, is telling of who is the partisan hack.

Its not nutty to assume that Democrats will ovte in democratic primaries. Its a little wacky to assume they won't.

I went with totally standard assumptions. Bounces come down. Iowa numbers are inflated by second choice votes. Youth on holiday can't come out this time.

HIllaries core constituency is about 15% higher than Obama's. It just is.

Anyone who assumed otherwise were the ones being wacky.

Other than Zogby, The numbers were there, they weren't reported correctly.

Anonymous said...

And no Steve on several polling blog sites, people were talking about how the numbers were inflated for Obama. Just because you dont read them, doesn't mean other people can't read polls and see through misinformation.

Steve V said...

Voters changed their minds en masse, hours before the primary, some when they voted. There wasn't one poll that had this factored in, so what you saw was fabrication, and that is why nobody predicted this. If you expected victory, why was it that you were arguing a 8 point loss was a victory yesterday? Clinton's own campaign saw DEFEAT, that says it all to me. It was a stunner, and I'm sorry if I'm insulting you, but your analysis struck me as a monkey and the keyboard scenario. You won the lottery, nothing more. Good for you, but don't play it like you saw it, while others were lost in the fog.

Anonymous said...

Well here's something interesting I just found. I also could have predicted a close race by the South Carolina polls.

What do you make of this rocket scientist?

South CArolina from Real Clear Politics

04-06 Obama +20%
06-06 Obama +12%
07-07 Obama + 7%

Now for all you rocket scientists out there that's a trend!!!!! Otherwise known as the second half of a bounce.

Real Clear Politics average
Obama +13% So is he ahead in South CArolina? Would he win by double digits today? NO he wouldn't. Partisan fanatics say double digit lead for Obama. I dont.

Yesterday would have been close in SC, either or. Today Hillary would probably win South Carolina.

He's dropping like a stone. If I had seen those yesterday I would have cited them as well.

The numbers were there yesterday. Partisan fanatics for Obama and an overexcited press corps who didn't so their jobs didn't chose to see them.

Anonymous said...

Steve I did see it. I wrote about it on several sites, including the washington post and called a possible win for Clinton.

You can't admit you are wrong and continue to malign me. We will take all of your opinions with that in mind.

I predicted a slim win for Obama by 2%, which would still have been a comeback for Clinton, on several web sites. I also qualified that by saying if youth and independents dont come out in record numbers Clinton could win, which is exactly what happened.

I posted this prediction on about 10 web sites. HOw is it that can continue to say i din't see it.

Yeah I did!

Steve V said...

"The numbers were there yesterday."

Yep, okay, sure.

Funny, now you are trying to sell the Hillary bounce, Obama dropping like a stone, and yet you couldn't acknowledge anything Friday and Saturday. It's just partisan spin, more than rational analysis. It reminds me of a book "strategies for slots".

Steve V said...

"You can't admit you are wrong"

I actually admitted that in the second sentence of my post.

Anonymous said...

Steve I did see it. I wrote about it on several sites, including the washington post and called a possible win for Clinton.

You can't admit you are wrong and continue to malign me. We will take all of your opinions with that in mind.

I predicted a slim win for Obama by 2%, which would still have been a comeback for Clinton, on several web sites. I also qualified that by saying if youth and independents dont come out in record numbers Clinton could win, which is exactly what happened.

I posted this prediction on about 10 web sites. HOw is it that can continue to say i didn't see it? Other than you can't admit you didn't see the polls as they clearly were and that I was correct. It devalues your opinion in future.

My predictions on Iowa were only off after the second vote Richardson swing. i know why I was wrong. You were wrong because you refused to see what was clear and refused to believe that record numbers of youth and independents and even Republicans voting in Dem primaries are unsustainable.

Your prediction was about a wing and a prayer, mine was about solid evidence and standard voter turnouts for dems. One is wacky, one is conservative. I saw it. I called it.

I was off by a argin of error of 4%, that fit my qualifying statements.

Anonymous said...

ON Saturday and Sunday the numbers were unclear. Saturday was the peak of his bounce. That answer is obvious. No one should have included these numbers in their predictions. No one. There was an essay on Real CLear politics politico on not believing the NH polls days before Yesterday, because there was no time for the bounce to be tracked properly. I thought about this when looking at the polls and reading the internals. I can't find it now as so many other articles have been written, but I think it came out on Friday. The article, writen by a woman whose name I can't remember, stated a clear case of why the polls would be wrong, days before it happened.

I did by the way post several times about the fact that's it called a "bounce" for a reason. It comes back down. Always has, always will. What was unclear is whether or not there was enough time in the compressed calender for the Obama bounce to come down, but it did.

So I did infact discuss it several times on Saturday and Sunday.

Still trying to malign me. That's ok. It just makes you look silly, or what was it, "a partisan hack"

Steve V said...


You should have contacted the Clinton camp, maybe Bill wouldn't have become unglued yesterday, had he know that the campaign's internal polling was wrong.

Scotian said...


It is rather hard to take credit when you are anonymous without even a tagname at the end of your comments you know. Perhaps if you want to be credited for being right you might provide a pseudonym to your comments instead of sticking as being one of the faceless multitudes of anonymous commentators.

Steve V:

Wow, watching this last night was something else. It was obvious from the outset (I started watching CNN at 9PM Atlantic) on CNN that the pundits and reporters were taken majorly aback by the results, they went out of their way during the first half of the precincts reporting to claim it was a tight/slim/narrow gap between Obama and Clinton, when that gap never closed more than 39-37 percent and at one point was 40-34 percent, although that didn't hold for very long. Even after it was obvious Clinton was making a major comeback (even before she was declared the winner it was clear that the polls everyone was using were significantly/majorly wrong) they were clearly reluctant to discuss it in much detail, which given how big a story this comeback was spoke volumes for just how stunned these folks were to me.

I said after Iowa that anyone writing off the Clintons this soon and/or declaring there was a true wave phenomena for Obama was being premature, but I will freely admit I didn't expect to have that proven out in NH in such a definitive manner as this was. I mean lets face it, the polls going into the count last night left everyone expecting an Obama win from all the major camps, all the pundits and reporters I encountered said the same, the only question was by how big a margin he won and by how much Clinton was going to lose by. So for her to pick up a win, let alone a solid 2 percent (more like nearly a solid three, although I have not seen the final numbers yet, only what they were at 96% reported) is a major comeback and upset regardless of what your anonymous friend wants to say.

The ripple effects from this are going to be interesting. Did you notice that the speech Obama gave last night sounded like his victory speech from Iowa with the exception of the opening where he congratulates Hillary for winning? I found that telling that the Obama people were clearly expecting the win and therefore did not have a concession speech handy so he modified the one he was planning to celebrate his victory with, at least that is how it felt to me. Now, over the next few weeks it will be interesting to see whether Obama gets the scrutiny he has so far managed to avoid, and by that I mean the concentrated prolonged kind, not the sporadic limited levels he has received so far. After all, he has never had to defend against an extended attack/series of attacks from either his rivals or the media to date, until I see him handle that well I am not going to be sold that he can successfully fight off the GOP attack/smear machine which will be targeting whoever the winner is.

One of Hillary Clinton's biggest drawbacks, her high negatives, may also be a positive for her, as it will be very hard to drive them up higher with some "new" revelation about her, anything and everything that might attack her credibility/positives have already been unleashed, whereas the same is clearly not true for Obama. Basically, Obama may be able to inspire with his high positives and low negatives now, but if those negatives are driven up sharply what then? This was my hesitancy about his candidacy from the outset, and it is also why I did not react too strongly to the Iowa results despite the clear boost they should have given Obama going into NH. I like Obama, he sounds good, but politics, especially American politics is very much a confrontational/hyper aggressive field, and I have yet to see whether Obama has what it takes on that side of the political skill set.

The next few weeks are going to be most interesting to watch in Democratic Party politics, far more so than the GOP.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comment, Scotian. I was thinking the same thing when they first said Obama was getting ready to speak . . . I just thought, "wow, I bet they didn't even have a speech for this."

And as I watched it, I kept thinking, it's a victory speech being spoken with a different tone. A little more somber - which made it sound flat imo.

Glad someone else noticed it as well.

Steve V said...


"they went out of their way during the first half of the precincts reporting to claim it was a tight/slim/narrow gap between Obama and Clinton, when that gap never closed more than 39-37 percent and at one point was 40-34 percent, although that didn't hold for very long."

I found that quite curious that they hesitated so long. At one point, you have McCain up 5 and Clinton up 4, the GOP race called immediately and yet this stalling with the Dems. Maybe it was the disbelief, but I just went ahead with this post prior to the official "call", because it seemed pretty clear. It was strange that they waited so long, usually they can't wait to make the call.

Anonymous said...

Nice to have an inspirational speech and all, but now I'm getting quite "bored" with the same old, same old speech from Obama - time for some substance.

Scotian said...

Steve V:

When the AP declared Clinton the winner before CNN, CNN did do an explanation as to why they were not ready to call it that I found to be perfectly reasonable and credible, there were still three precincts that had not started reporting that were all in areas Obama was considered to have high support in that had enough uncounted voters that they could have tipped the balance back to Obama. So I do not have any problems with why they took so long to declare, indeed I would argue they acted prudently and responsibly based on their given reasons.

That does not change though my impression of the pundits and reporters they had on though, it was clear they did not want to talk much about Clinton, especially not in regards to a positive win by her against all expectations, not to mention just how wrong they all looked having effectively considered her if not a defeated candidate one on the way to oblivion after Iowa until last night.


I noticed, as did one or two of three pundits on CNN last night, as did my wife when we both listened to it live last night. So I suspect there are more than a few people who were left with the same impression.

Anonymous said...

Hasn't anyone picked up on Obama's strategy - a Tony Robbins motivational speech tour - "you can do it".

Not original Obama - only Tony Robbins makes mega bucks from it.

Anonymous said...


That's right. There were three polls that came in very late that all included universities/colleges or residences for those universities/colleges. Obama didn't carry those enough.

Anonymous quoted from the Real Clear Politics analysis of why Clinton won: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/horseraceblog/2008/01/how_clinton_won.html. I think they hit it bang on and it is good reading for all - especially the Obama campaign. The primary reason Clinton won - and also the reason she surprised the pollsters and pundits - is that (a) she appealed to the classic Democratic base who go and vote more consistently instead of the Democratic elites and (b) she got her supporters out to vote. Two classic fundamentals of political campaigning that she got right. That's what did it. The teary Saturday night thing didn't do it - according to exit polls almost everyone who voted Clinton had decided to do so a month ago while it was the Obama people who had decided more recently. The classic political campaign: appeal to your core base - in this case the FDR/New Deal/Mondale Democrats, working class/lower middle, women, union, urban vs. middle/upper class, students, men, rural (where Obama won his biggest support) - and get out your vote.

Anon up there makes the comparison to Ignatieff's campaign. I was a proud part of Iggy Nation and know that the comparison is fatally flawed, but the general point is certain apt. Iggy could not break out of the cocktail crowd image, offered change as the prime motivator, had legions of young, was the most eloquent when it came to speaches, but could not crack the core of the party (and he HAD specific policies to back up his rhetoric). If Obama wants to win - and it's still remotely possible - then he has to get to these Democrats and he has to get the campaign machine to get his supporters out to vote.
Steve - you keep mentioning that the Clinton people thought they were going to lose. I haven't seen this anywhere; where did you read that? That would also be a classic play if it were: a prime motivator for your support is that every vote is going to be critical; while at the same time, if you convince the other side that they are going to win, their supporters become more complacent.

Steve V said...


I read in several places, that the campaign was resigned to defeat and they were strategizing about whether to forgo Nevada and South Carolina, hoping to pool resources for Super Tuesday. Besides that, if you just go on body language, Bill's tirade pretty much says it all.

You mentioned that most of Clinton's vote had made up their mind awhile ago, can you provide a link for that, because I was under the impression that many voters changed their minds the night prior, and the morning of the vote. That would make sense of the flawed polling. Some of the polling outfits account for the traditional Dem voter being more representative in turnout, and yet none of those findings pointed to what we saw. This might seem trivial, but the weather was spectacular, and early reports pointed to a large older vote coming out as a result.

Anonymous said...

My take is this.

The pensioners and the waitress moms went for Hillary big time. Large older vote turning up held it for her.

Note I said "held". Obama's 36-37 per cent was no shame, given that he placed a lot of political capital on the Iowa caucus. He had no time to shift strategy, while Hillary had the Shaheen (ex-governor of NH) organization driving the vote since the campaign's beginning.

South Carolina now creates a dilemma for Obama. Not a firewall, but a recovery there is needed. He will be going into foreign territory and South Carolina is not Alabama and Mississippi. It is very conservative and the Dems chance of winning SC in the Presidential election is slim to none.

Hillary will need to focus on her strengths. This is selling her health care plan and mobilize the military wives (a large portion of SC voters) to support her in the primary. Obama will continue on the change platform. However, his drawback is that he appears to be Northeast establishment (Columbia and Harvard Law School) and it does not work in South Carolina where hunting and NASCAR are considered cultural religions.

Anonymous said...

Steve - the reference is in that Real Clear Politics link article above. Specifically this:

"Some pundits will probably reference Saturday's debate or Clinton's near-crying moment as reasons she surged late. The exit polling does not back this up. Obama won voters who decided sometime between a month and three days ago. And the two split voters who decided today - 39% to Clinton, 36% to Obama. Clinton dominated among voters who said they decided earlier than a month ago, 48% to 31%."

Steve V said...

Thanks, that is pretty interesting.

Steve V said...


Just one point, I've now heard two networks say the exit polls showed late voter movement. I can't seem to reconcile that, with what you've provided. I wonder how many exit polls there were, and then the next question, did they get it wrong too ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes, we should probably always add "for what it's worth" whenever discussing exit polls. They are highly unreliable.