Monday, January 07, 2008

“We’re going to lose South Carolina”

The above quote, a frank admission from the Clinton camp:
The adviser added that the campaign has come to accept another reality of the early process, which is that African-American voters are convinced that Obama is viable and shifting rapidly in his direction.

Assuming Obama wins New Hampshire, the next showdown will be South Carolina. Polls done in mid-December already pointed to a deadheat, seems fairly intuitive that any polling done in the last few days would show Obama ahead. When you factor in Edwards, who won South Carolina in 2004, the future could hold another embarrassing 3rd place finish for Clinton.

This reality begs the question- how can Clinton expect to win on Super Tuesday, when she will have lost the first three contests? Clinton has always held a size able lead in the national polls, which suggests a chance in the national primary. However, I predict that national advantage completely evaporates by the time South Carolina decides.

With all the focus on individual states, there haven't been many national polls in the last few weeks. One exception is Rasmussen, which runs a continuous national tracking poll. That poll had Clinton ahead by 19% over Obama, one week ago. Yesterday's offering had the lead virtually cut in half, Clinton's advantage down to 11%. This number will continue to narrow as Obama overcomes the "electability" hesitation. Winning breeds viability, Clinton's supposed national appeal will be nullified by the time South Carolina weighs in.

The set up seems to be as follows. Obama heads into Super Tuesday with 3 victories, a wind of momentum at his back. Clinton, the former frontrunner, shut out, desperately looking for a firewall. If you just focus on the optics of that scenario, who would you rather be?


I mentioned the Rasmussen national tracking poll, that showed Obama narrowing the gap with Clinton. Today, the gap shows a large shift, with Obama now trailing by a mere 4% (11% yesterday).


Anonymous said...

Excellent reporting on the US races Steve, but in this blog, you have forgotten about 2 sandwich primaries around S.C. - Michigan and Florida. If Clinton can win those 2, even if she loses N.H. and S.C. then Super Tuesday is still when it gets decided. Not only are those bigger states, but Florida is right before Super Tuesday and could give her wind in the sails. However, if Obama sweeps the Jan. primaries,this thing is over.

A very exciting race to watch, as is the Republican race as well.

Steve V said...


The Democrats are by-passing Michigan, because they moved the primary up, the party has stripped the delegates. Candidates are avoiding Michigan like the plague. The Republicans are running, but the Dem race is non-existent.

South Carolina is three days before Florida, so I'm not sure I follow the sandwich argument.

It is very exciting for sure :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Steve.

Thanks fort he clarification. I had read that all states holding primaries before Feb. 5th were losing half their delegates, but that is just the GOP. I re-read for clarification.

Personally, I think the DNC is stupid for stripping Michigan and Florida of their delegates, and making their new primaries redundant. Florida particularly is a swing state (MI not so much), and to win the Presidency, you will need Florida. Not a smart decision in my mind.

Oh well, at least we still have the GOP primaries in those states to watch, and see if Rudy's strategy has any hope.

Steve V said...


The Republican race is going to be fascinating. Romney was born in Michigan, so that will be his last stand. I noticed yesterday that the two big Michigan papers have endorsed McCain, should be interesting.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! If I were Obama, I'd start bein' careful about sticking my head up through any sunroofs. The last Dem to excite the public like Obama was Bobby Kennedy. The more electable he gets, the bigger target he becomes.


Steve V said...


Sad, but very true. I actually thought that the other day.

JimBobby said...

If you an' me are thinkin' it, I betcha the boys is plannin' it.

I could never warm up to Hillary. She always comes off as a hardnosed real estate lawyer out to screw someboby Whitewater style. She ain't really that experienced. Obama's served more elected years than her. If a gal's gonna be president, I'd rather she do on her own steam instead o' ridin' hubby's coattails.


Steve V said...

"Obama's served more elected years than her."

That's a good point, I hadn't thought about that.

Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity - I checked out Hiliary Clinton - her accomplishment and WOW is all I can say. Elected or not, she's accomplished more on one hand than the other two put together on two hands - that's a fact.

I am so sick and tired of the total trash, bash and put downs on Hiliary Clinton over the years and face it, the baggage they refer to is really her husband's baggage.

I watched The View today on purpose because they had a whole hour on hot topics and they always discuss politics - two black women - Whoopi Goldberg and Sherri Sheppard and because they are black I wanted to hear what they thought.

Now, Sherri Sheppard is not the brightest penny in the jar and is very much a woman of faith - she talked about Huckabee.

Whoopi Goldberg is extremely intelligent and waiting before she decides and her comment about Obama was "time is ticking away and she's still waiting to here what his vision is and exactly how he plans to bring about change".

I agree - Obama has not been challenged by anyone much especially the media.

I'm waiting for the great one's vision and plans - still waiting, still waiting.

This may sound harsh, but we know the Kennedy's were very inspirational in their speeches, but sadly, because of their assinations we'll never truly know how good they would have been as presidents.

Inspirational speeches isn't quite enough for me - I want the vision and plans clearly set out.

I think Obama needs to be challenged - he'll need the practice when the republicans get a hold of him - you can bet your booties on that.

Steve V said...


It's a very silly system, particularly with a reactionary media that becomes enraptured. This year, with the calendar moved up, no room for a candidate to re-tool, the system might be even more unfair. I'm just commenting on what "is", now what is "right". Is Clinton getting the shaft here? I think she is, to some degree, but that's the climate.

JimBobby said...

"I am so sick and tired of the total trash, bash and put downs on Hiliary Clinton over the years and face it, the baggage they refer to is really her husband's baggage."

I don't really mean to put her down. I just do not find her to be have likable personality. I seriously doubt that she would stand a chance at getting to where she is without her husband and his baggage. She needs to take the bad with the good.

As a Green, I ain't too happy with Obama but there ain't any of 'em who really gives a ratsass about ol' Mother Earth.

Obama represents hope and renewal. Some people may scrutinize policy and details but I figger most Merkans vote with their gut. I worry that those sorta gut feelings would hurt Hillary vs. Huckleberry.

Bush an' Cheney got experience up the yin yang and look what they've managed to do.


Anonymous said...

So Nevada will be Hillary's last stand. Let's get the hotel workers at the Vegas casinos to go against her!!!!

There will be repercussions for Mark Penn. It is apparent that Hillary's strategy of "triangulation" has failed. 2008 is not 1996.

I hope Dion is learning lessons from Hillary's collapse. Hillary or Dion cannot run as Bill 2.0, Tony Blair 2.0, Chretien 2.0, or even Kevin Rudd 2.0. The voters want more. This means a re-definition of the Third Way or maybe why the Left matters.

The hottest political strategist in the world today is David Axelrod. Putting all the eggs on the Iowa cornbasket is a bold move. He has now been successful in running three campaigns: Eliot Spitzer and Derval Patrick for the NY and Mass governorships, and Obama 2008.

Steve V said...


Wasn't it Penn who circulated a memo to the media on Saturday asking "where's the Obama bounce?". Ouch.

Is Nevada really in play here, a caucus that really has little sway? (see Wyoming for the Reps Sat)

Steve V said...

"As a Green, I ain't too happy with Obama but there ain't any of 'em who really gives a ratsass about ol' Mother Earth."

One thing was interesting, in the debates Saturday night. When people were asked what issue they wanted to see talked about more, the environment was number 2, behind the economy. Quite a statement, where the environment tends to lag as an issue. In the two debates, the only candidate that brought up global warming unprompted was McCain, believe it or not.

Anonymous said...


Nevada hell matters. It is not Wyoming. The quintessential Western state. Five big electoral votes and has Las Vegas, the fastest growing city in the nation. Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader hails from there. Can be quite socially conservative with Mormons living next to Sin City.

Can Hillary get the retirees with their comfortable pensions to vote for her. They are her core constituency. Large Hispanic and Asian population working in the tourism, service, and recreation sector. Can Obama and Edwards win their votes? Not to mention the ski bums in Lake Tahoe. Obama Girl is there!!!!

The polling in Nevada has not reflected the present political situation. I presume both Obama and Edwards are catching up fast.

Anonymous said...

McCain has solid environmental credentials (in the Teddy Roosevelt progressive mode). Water rights are now or will be a major political issue in the West. The one who should be exploiting this issue is Bill Richardson. New Mexico are now facing the same environmental problems that Arizona is experiencing now.

Of course, Preston is more of an environmentalist than our PM. This was one lesson the ex-student failed to learn from his mentor (Bad, Bad Stevie!!!!)

Steve V said...


Fair enough, on Nevada. I guess what I am trying to say, does it have the impact of a New Hampshire, or South Carolina? Iowa has a caucus, but after that, caucus states tend to get less play.

Anonymous said...

Note on the Nevada caucus.

Voters in Vegas work stagger hours and may not come to vote in caucuses. This is Edwards' major mobilization dilemma.

Obama needs to get many UNLV students to vote. However, they do have to work evenings too. See undergrads do have to struggle for a living :(

Steve V said...


By all accounts, Clinton has a tremendous organization in Nevada. If there is a low turnout, for the reasons you suggest, her machine will benefit in a caucus environment.

Steve V said...

First post-Iowa South Carolina poll:

Barack Obama has opened a double digit-lead over Hillary Clinton in the January 26th Primary Election. It’s Obama 42% Clinton 30%. John Edwards attracts 14% of the vote and nobody else tops 3%.

In December, Obama and Clinton were tied at 33%