Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'd Rather Be Obama

Moving forward, Obama achieved what he needed yesterday, stay close in delegates, remain competitive beyond Super Tuesday. It looks like Obama will stay within 100 delegates of Clinton, a goal the campaign set for itself heading into last night. Clinton had significant victories last night, so there is reason for her to crow, but in the end, California effectively saved her night. Obama ended up winning more contests, a fact which is given considerable attention. If you accept the premise that this race is wide open, then a look at the future suggests advantage Obama.

The Clinton campaign has already admitted that the calendar is no longer kind for the rest of February. Conventional wisdom assumes Obama will do quite well in the three contests this weekend. Those contests are followed by three more the following Tuesday, again states that play well for Obama. The next Tuesday, three more races, which both sides admit are good for Obama. Basically, the Clinton campaign have come the realization that they may have to hold on until March 4th, when big prizes Ohio and Texas weigh in, with potentially friendly Rhode Island and Vermont to boot. In terms of momentum, a friendly calendar obviously works to Obama’s advantage.

Obama has another serious advantage looking ahead, money. Obama raised an astounding 32 million dollars in January, a figure which boggles the mind. By comparison, Clinton raised 12 million, which under any other circumstances would be considered formidable. The Clinton “machine” will face a serious challenge, as Obama has the resources advantage to try and nullify. Obama’s ability to raise cash will only be enhanced if he continues to win primaries, big or small.

It’s such a close race now, predictions are meaningless, so any comments are just temporary conclusions. That said, if I’m Obama today, I see no reason for anything less than real optimism, if I’m Clinton, some nervousness.


Canadian Tar Heel said...

It's definitely a dead heat between the two candidates. Any real advantage, aside from $$, seems to depend on one's perspective (and/or political leanings). So, I think that the title of this post is all the more appropriate, a personal preference based on the facts in given circumstances.

Clinton's firewall (ie, TX and OH) will need to not only hold but give her a significant margin. And Obama has proven quite capable when given the time to wage a targeted campaign. Tight race, indeed.

Anonymous said...


Many of Hillary's contributors have maxed out and cannot donate any more money. Obama is signing new members and thus can write a cheque whenever they want to contribute.

Yes, Texas, Ohio, and Penn. will be the tipping point for Obama over Clinton. Steve, what are the preliminaries numbers in these states, as I cannot find them in Real Clear Politics?

Anonymous said...

There is no way it is advantage Obama.

To stay within 100 delegates, which is yet to be seen, but its close to that, was his lowball number.

If you peform less or at your lowball number, that's not a good night.

Gallup btw has Clinton up by 13% today. I believe I discussed that obama polled very well on Sat. the 2nd around 53%. However, the days before and the days since he has polled 35-38%% The Sat is included in all those polls before Tues.

Why Obama is now in trouble? Because he can't tie her, he has to beat her by at least 100 delegates without supers. Florida and Michigan have said they are sending their delegates, even if they aren't seated, which they will be. That's a tie breaker if there ever were one. There is no way that Super delegates will give Obama a victory over Latino's Florida, Michigan and every democratic state, because several caucuses in Rep. states went to him. They can't. He'd lose.

Also he won states last night that held caucuses. There are very few caucuses left. None in the last month. Also, when you win Rep. states that will never vote Democrate it doesn't mean much inside the Party. Very few super delegates with those states and very few others that would be impresssed by those wins. Swing states sure, dyed red states, which he won. No.

Clinton will win Ohio, Texas Vermont and Rhode Island on March 4th. She will also win Pensylvania.

He will win some other smaller contests but his job gets harder now.

As for money its not really an issue. She raised 14 million more than him last year. So add that to the 32 vs 13 million in january, the second most ever raised by a campaign in a month, and you get a 5 million difference, which she made up in a loan. He can't sustain that kind of fundraising.

She'll be fine financially. In fact, she can loan herself another 5 million a month for three more months,if she wants to. Campaigns run on loans all the time, McCain's does. All Canadian campaigns do.

It's not over, but there's no way its advantage Obama. No way. I think it will be over March 4th.

Anonymous said...

What about the "uncommitted" delegates and the ones who were for John Edwards? If Obama stays w/in 100 delegates of Hillary, won't the other delegates make all the difference?

I think Obama is still very much in this.

Having said that, I'll be happy no matter who wins this race.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I wonder if this will help Obama or not, but I noticed Clinton won mostly blue states from 2004 while Obama won mostly Red States. Since the Democrats need to pick up some of those red states if they wish to win the White House, might that convince some Obama is the best choice. New York and California are safe Democrat states, whereas states such as Colorado and Iowa are ones the Dems to need to pick up while states like Minnesota are the ones they need to hold. Unlike New York and California, Pennsylvania and Ohio are both swing states and in the case of Ohio somewhat more midwestern as opposed to Northeastern so this should be good for Obama.

Anonymous said...

Mushroom if you go to real clear politics and click on democratic delegates then scroll down until you get to those states then click on the state, you can pull up the polls for those states.

Some are from as late as the middle of January, but a clearer indication of how a state will swing is really what we have already seen.

Clinton's advantage in Ohio is because the Govenor is heavily organizing for her and campaign ing for her.

Her advantage in Texas is due to hispanics.

Her advantage in Vermont and Rhode Island is the same as for the rest of the N.E.

Obama will win Mississipi, and North Carolina safely. I don't need to see a poll to tell me that now.

Maryland, Virginia, DC, are still in play and could go either way. Clinton has campagined heavily in the area, more than anywhere else, not recently but in the past year. Alot of black votes but a lot of other votes too. Methodists, Jews, Catholics who all favour Clinton.

Washinton State and Louisiana are still in play I believe.

Hawaii is probably obama's.

Caucuses are more likely to go Obama than primaries where Clinton has the advantage. The mid west and red states tend to go Obama. Democratic states go Clinton. Closed states go Clinton.

You can probably just factor the demographics that we know favour one or the other better than polls that have been up to 23% wrong the day of the primary. aka Zogby.

What use does a Zogby poll do you really?

But the charts with medians were much more accurate than any real clear politics averages. There have been some crazy outlier polls in these primaries. Even if you look at Real Clear Politics, i recommend taking the median not the average as a better estimate.

Anonymous said...

Um interesting question about the uncommitted delegates from Michigan. Conventional wisdom says most would go to Obama, but if he is asking that they not be let in, I think they might resent it. Edwards uncommitted delegates anyways.

How many of them are Edwards delegates is a question. I believe that Obama's people in Michigan were more organized and got their delegate slates put up as uncommitted, but that's internal party stuff.

Obama can't go to convention and ask that these delegates not be let in. It's political suicide, so I think most of the uncommitteds go to him.

Edwards delegates from Florida I think go to Clinton to be honest with you. They know he has asserted that they not be let into convention.

That's why he has to be ahead by 100, not tied to go to convention. Uncommitteds from Michigan and his spread with Clinton in Florida is only about 65delegates. The 100 is a safe number in case Edwards delegates vote for her or some uncommitteds who were for Edwards, or even Richardson vote for her.

They will be seated though. 100%.

Anonymous said...


No it doesnt help him. Those states are dyed red states. What the Dems need to pick up are swing states. It doesn't help Obama to win Idaho at all. I've already explained, few super delegates, little influence, no hope in a general election. Obama has won far too many dyed red state caucuses and far too few of anything else. Inside the party, this won't be helping him.

Missouri, which is a swing state, would have been a big win but it was so close that it really was a tie and didn't play that way.

Steve V said...

"Gallup btw has Clinton up by 13% today."

There was one big poll done last night:

" By midday Wednesday, 14,645,638 votes were reported cast for either Obama or Clinton on Tuesday. Clinton had won 7,350,238 of those votes (50.2 percent) while Obama captured 7,295,400 votes (49.8 percent)."

I think I'll take that one...

"He can't sustain that kind of fundraising."

Don't count on that, and the fact that Clinton had to lend herself 5 million speaks volumes about where the big money is moving. Even Clinton backers admit that many of her contributors are maxed out, while Obama supporters still have much to give. I think we are starting to see who can "sustain". Clinton is raising impressive amounts, it's just that Obama is raking in unheard of sums.

As it relates to caucus votes, am I the only one who finds it surprising that Obama has won 8 of 9? Afterall, Clinton was supposed to have the "machine", which usually translates better in these small caucuses. The fact Obama keeps winning is a testament to his grassroots strength, his volunteer army. Again, people dismiss these, but when you look at the vote total, you see he does quite well in a primary setting too.


Donna Brazille, who is a super-delegate said today she would quit the party if the nomination came down to "politicans and party hacks". I thought that was interesting moving forward.

All I'm saying here, it is anything but clear, but if you look at the moods of the two campaigns today, it does say something about circumstance. The Clinton campaign is clearly unsettled, you don't get that sense at all from Obama's campaign. I believe those postures do tell us something, and who might have the wind in the sails.

Steve V said...


If you look at Obama's massive victories in some red states, it seems silly to just fluff it off and say the Dems have no chance with him. Clinton has no chance, that is true, but Obama, not so sure.

Steve V said...

Just one point on the whole Pollster vs RealClear nonsense. The reason anon keeps dismissing RealClear is because their weighting better factors the late polls, whereas Pollster is less responsive. In a fluid race, numbers become outdated quickly. We have seen several times where Obama closes fast at the end, which is better reflected by RealClear. This explains why anon prefers Pollster, because it better supports the illusion that Obama isn't gaining. Take the two national averages for instance. Real Clear has Clinton 2.7%, Pollster 4%. Last night's vote was within a .5%, which is closer? If RealClear had Clinton further ahead, anon would be trashing Pollster, it's really that simple, which is why all the commentary is just partisan spin.

Anonymous said...

NO steve gallup is a three day rolling average, which they explain quite clearly in their write ups. Obama polled 53% on Saturday, 38% the day before, 38% the day after and 35% the day after that.

Clinton polled 15% higher than him on Sunday, which many thought was just the Super bowl, but turned out not to be, because she polled 15% above him on Monday and tuesday as well.

Steve V said...


Whatever, I gave you real votes from a national primary, you give me a sample of 1000 people. Only a blind fool would prefer to focus on your's today.

This just in, Obama raised 3 million today. Wow!

Steve V said...

Just one point on money, there is the real advantage, but there is also the perception advantage. When you post huge fundraising numbers, especially if you outpace your opponent, you are guaranteed positive press, and the other side is faced with questions. So, besides the real power to run ads, organize, blah, blah, blah, you also look like a frontrunner. The media is obsessed with this stuff, something which can't be discounted.

Anonymous said...

So here are my predictions based on previous racces with no polling data. Obama will have a good month winning more contests and more delegates but not by enough. He will go up by about 20 delegates, but that still leaves him 60-80 delegates behind before the March 4th smackdown by Clinton.

Louisiana: Obama +5%
primary near AR and TN, mixed race

Nebraska: Obama +30% caucus midwest

Washington: Clinton +10% primary not mid west not red

Maine: Clinton +10% caucus but NE.

DC: Clinton +5% heavily black but almost her home state

Maryland: Clinton +5% Heavy state machinery backing her but large black pop.

Virginia: Obama +5% just because

Hawaii: obama +15% could be wrong but his birth state and no campaining

Wisconsin: Obama +10 midwest but a primary.

Us Virgin Islands: Clinton +10% name recog, no campaigning.

That's my prediction. I guess I have them at 5/5. He could even win a couple more. It doesn't really change things much. She'll go after the big delegate states.

The patterns are pretty clear by now. The margins could be off by a bit, but he's not going to win every contest by big margins between now and March 4th, which is what he'd have to do.

Steve V said...


I think your predictions are pretty conservative, especially Louisiana, where Obama could trounce Clinton. Also, seems to me Obama won a couple northeast states yesterday, factor in the caucus aspect, I'm not making any predictions.

What you aren't factoring in here, and you admit this, Obama will win more of these contests, possibly many more. Three weeks of this framing, and that doesn't help Obama moving forward, no momentum? I think it way, way too early to make predictions about Ohio, Penn now, we are light years away from that set-up. Reminds me of Guiliani waiting until Florida as a firewall. In the meantime, Obama racks up victories, that will change things, or has a good chance too anyways.

Steve V said...

I stand corrected, Obama has raised 3.7 million today.

Anonymous said...

Donna Brazille, who is fabulous by the way, will not quit the party a) and has also said that a Clinton/Obama ticket is a fantasy not a dream. Conventionally she is correct, no two senators have ever competed for the White House far less three senators. No woman or African American has ever competed for the white house, far less both.

Both of them, on the same ticket, is enough to make someone named Conventional's head pop off, but it may just happen. And is the most likely way out of this stalemate, if it comes down to that. I think it is probably unwise, but there may only be unwise choices left soon.

A week ago, I would have said never happen. Not now. Party hacks by the way, do more than just vote. They control entire states and have massive election machines and the very purpose of the super delegate was to stop an irrational candidacy from catching fire and committing political suicide.

This test is exactly why they were created. Disenfranchising Florida and Michigan and thereby giving a win to someone who didn't really win, and mostly carried unwinnable states, is enough to make a whole lot of people quit the party too, or at least stay home in Nov. btw.

Anonymous said...

Steve, if Clinton has to she can lend herself 15 million dollars until next month.

Context: Obama had trouble buying a house last year.

When the MSM was all over the Liberal money woes and not being able to fund candidates etc, I remember Chantal Hebert saying, "Does any one really believe the Liberal Party can't get a loan?"

Also McCain is winning with very little money including loans and Huckabee is doing ok with absolutely no money. Money is not everything.

Again context; the 18 million Clinton raised this month was, I believe, the second most anyone has ever raised in a month. People have fundraising goals. The goals will simply be set higher and she will reach them.

Does anyone really believe Bill Clinton can't raise money?

Also Obama needs the money more. She has the entire state machinery in Maryland working for her. Also in Ohio. etc. etc. Again, super delegates are more than just a vote. Obama took Kansas in good part because of Sebilius and her machine.

Clinton will be fine for money. It's a red herring story. Like I said, she can loan herself 15 million this month is she feels like it, but she won't have to. Obama couldn't write a check for a new car, or possibly even finance one.

Big difference.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Obama could win Louisiana by more. I looked at geography and demographics. They have been so hard hit and there are so many poor people there, I believe that is an advantage for Clinton. Many Catholics is an advantage for her. Her Arkansas and Tennessee machinery will go there. I think she could win it and would have two weeks ago, but I gave it to Obama by a small margin. It doesn't have a super big black population and the Clinton's did good things for poor people. She stands up for universal health care early childhood programs etc. It depends on her roots there, which I'm not entirely sure of.

I sense it will be close to a tie, either way.

I dont think it will be a big margin state for him.

Steve V said...

"I dont think it will be a big margin state for him."

Of course you don't.

Steve V said...

McCain loaned himself money four months, when his campaign was in the tank. Money is no longer much of an issue, not sure if you want to compare the two circumstances, given McCain's desperate state at the time.

Your Liberal analogy is horribly flawed. We have campaign limits, which is why Hebert isn't too concerned about a loan. The Americans can spend whatever they choose, so how that relates to the Liberals is beyond me.

Nobody is saying "Bill Clinton can't raise money", but he ain't raising what Obama is, just acknowledge that, it isn't irrelevant. Money isn't everything, but it is something.

Canadian Tar Heel said...

Holding your own, as usual, Steve. Good commentary.

Anonymous said...

Steve, my man! Anonymous has made some good points on the US elections over the last few weeks - as have you!!

Just don't let him get to you ; ). I find this the best discussion of the elections anywhere - which is saying a lot considering every pundit group in Canada and the US seem to be obsessing.

Keep up the good work.


Steve V said...

Thanks, much appreciated.

I think anon needs a nickname.

Anonymous said...

Her name is S.B

Couldn’t agree with your more Steve.

Id say advantage Obama going into the long haul.

However, that assumes we continue on the present trajectory set forth by the victory in Iowa and

a. He doesnt do anthing or say anything to screw up

b. There are no external shocks, ie a sudden crash in the American economy or another terrorist attack…

I was also glad to hear that MI is supporting Obama as well :). That will truly drive S.B insane

-ITC said...

Obama raised more money last quarter, has only 18 million on hand. Hillary is winning, has 38 million on hand. There are only so many races left. Looks like to me Hillary has the financial upper hand.

Steve V said...

That explains the crazy part then ;) Is that true?

Steve V said...


That explains why Hillary's staff is working without pay this month. Yes, clearly she has the advantage. She "had" 38 million on hand, much of it for the general, the rest basically gone. You don't lend yourself 5 mil, with 38 sitting in the bank. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Hillary's people already thought the nomination will be wrapped up by Super Tuesday. Now, she has to go to the air war for a whole month in order to match Obama in Ohio, Texas, and Penn! Buying ads on Hispanic cable and radio stations to get out the vote in Texas!!!

Also margin of victory matters. Hillary may win Texas but she is much more dependent on the urban vote and the border cities such as El Paso and Laredo. Obama picks up pockets in the rural counties. So the Texas delegation will most likely be split going into the Convention.

I also expect Obama to be picking up momentum with major endorsements. Al Gore, John Edwards, Jimmy Carter, Ann Richards, and Jim Hightower can all go his way by the end of the month. If they all swing to Obama, Hillary may need to shed a few tears, fire Mark Penn, or send Bill to Africa in order to do massive damage control. said...

Mushroom: Where are you getting your info? Hillary is beating Obama quite well in Texas. As for your predictions that Al Gore and John Edwards will endorse Obama, that's coming out of left field. Al Gore will not endorse anybody, and though possible that Edwards might endorse Obama, there isn't even so much as a rumour to support that. said...

Steve: You are talking with no proof. Hillary did not go through 38 million dollars in a month.

She loaned her campaign 5 million because she wants to win, I'd do the same, heck I would think everyonewould do the same in the competition for the greatest office in the land.

So Steve if you don't falsely extrapolate, and go by the last facts of the matter, Hillary has more then double of what Obama has on hand.

Anonymous said...

"can all go his way by the end of the month. If they all swing to Obama"

Please consider the above quote. "Can" and "if" are possibilities. May never happen. Something that may or may not change the race etc. etc.

Steve V said...


Hillary had 38 million on hand at the end of 2007, before a vote had been cast, some of it had to be used in the general election, because her donors were tapped out.

This is where arguing with you is pointless, basic logic escapes. You don't lend yourself money, you don't put your staff on no pay for a month, if you have TONS of cash on hand. It's that simple, and for you to not acknowledge that fact makes discussion pointless. Her staff is working without pay, HELLO IN THERE.

Anonymous said...

"This is where arguing with you is pointless, basic logic escapes."

Sorry to point this out but it's inductive logic you're relying on, and the fact is you have no empirical evidence to support your claim. It's totally understandable to think she loaned her campaign 5 million to show she continues to have way more money then Obama.

Your argument works against you as well. If Hillary had 38 million at end of Dec. raised 18.5 million, she'd have 56.5 million, considering she had only spent 40 million dollars for all of 2007, I don't think she came close to spending even half of that money in one month.

Now Obama only had 18 million at end of Dec, he had to get a lot of money and he did, 30 million more, so that put him at 48 million. Considering Obama spent 44 million dollars in 2007, and has a history of spending more then Hillary, I would say Obama is more likely to be in financial trouble then Hillary.

I'm giving my argument without any empirical evidence as well, I admit, but I'm giving probabilities, not certainities.

Steve V said...


You're using OUTDATED empirical evidence, which is skewed because of general election money included, which the campaign can't touch. I can't offer empirical, because the campaigns don't have to release anything until the end of the quarter. What we do know, people aren't being paid, and Clinton took out a loan. I'm sorry, but you can't discount the optics here.

I should add, Clinton has apparently raised upwards of 6 million since Super Tuesday, so the situation is anything but grave.

BTW, I'm not the Obama guy. In fact, I remember several conversations with my wife, where should asked why I don't like Obama, based on comments I've made. I've warmed since, but I'm not anti-Clinton. I think they are both strong candidates, but the pro-Clinton posters seem to paint everyone as favorable for her, which tends to make me respond negatively. When I look at the landscape, it is a dogfight that could go either way. That said, I stand by my opinion, I'd rather be Obama at the moment.

Steve V said...

Everyone seems to be fixated on the bad 38 million number from the end of January. Just so we are using real figures, the Clinton campaign actually had this much available, starting this year:

"According to Clinton's latest Federal Election Commission report, had roughly $18.5 million cash on hand that could be spent during the primary season heading into January’s initial contests."

That means a full 20 million wasn't available to her, it was committed to the general election.

Deal. said...

Steve V:

Where did you get the idea she can't touch 20 million dollars? I'm looking at her statement, and I'm not seeing that.

Steve V said...

The Washington Post must be lying I guess. Believe what you want, it seems crystal clear from here.

Steve V said...

Clinton advisers were stunned by Obama's January fundraising and have marveled at his ability to raise small-dollar amounts from a vast field of donors.

"We will have funds to compete," chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn said, "but we're likely to be outspent again."

An analysis by the Campaign Finance Institute, which tracks trends in political money, found that Obama raised about a third of his money in 2007 from donors who gave $200 or less. Only one-third of his money came from donors who have given the legal maximum of $2,300, compared to Clinton who raised about half of her money from "maxed out" donors and only 14 percent from donors of $200 or less.

Huffington Post

"Her advisers says she’s considering another loan because money is tight now"

New Republic

"Her advisers says she’s considering another loan because money is tight now — the mega-primaries yesterday were quite the financial drain."

New York Times

"At the end of 2007, Mrs. Clinton had $37 million in cash, with $18.5 million for the primary and the remaining $19 million earmarked for the general election."

New York Times