Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama Losing His Mojo?

This is not a statement on whether or not Obama will win the Democratic race, but there does seem to some disturbing trends developing. For the first time since Super Tuesday, a respected national poll has Clinton statistically ahead:
The latest Gallup Poll Daily tracking shows Hillary Clinton with a five percentage point lead over Barack Obama in national Democratic voters' nomination preferences, 48% to 43%.

This marks the second consecutive day of Gallup Poll Daily tracking showing Clinton with a statistically significant lead over Obama, something she had not accomplished since Feb. 7-9 polling.

One of Obama's central arguments, that had worked to his favor, the notion that he is a stronger opponent than Clinton vs McCain. Obama has often cited polling which shows him doing much better head to head than his rival, to support the claim. That line of argument has apparently evaporated, with polls now showing no advantage:
CNN Mar 19

Clinton 49% McCain 47%
Obama 47% McCain 46%

CBS Mar 19

Obama 48% McCain 43%

Clinton 46% McCain 44%

USA Today Mar 18

Clinton 51% McCain 46%

Obama 49% McCain 47%

If you take the lastest average of all the head to head polls, you find McCain beats Obama .8%, Clinton 1.1%. In other words, Obama's once significant advantage has disappeared.

When you look at some state polls, you see Clinton doing much better than Obama in bellweather Missouri vs McCain, better in Ohio, Kentucky, Mass, California, Florida, Pennsylvania. In fairness, there are many states where Obama does better, but I present these to counter the notion that Obama has swing state appeal, relative to Clinton.

Looking ahead, North Carolina was supposed to be friendly terrority for Obama, earlier offerings showed a significant lead. The latest poll, shows a deadheat:
Obama 44
Clinton 43

I'd rather not debate Obama's chances, or if Hillary really has any. However, it does seem counter-intuitive that the race is over, and yet we see no evidence of people gravitating towards the supposed victor, in fact the opposite is occuring. It might just a small blip on the road, everything is fluid, but the trends are clearly with Clinton at the moment.


Oxford County Liberals said...

On the other hand, Rasmussen's tracking poll had him recovering his lost ground somewhat.

A hit was to be expected from this Pastor Wright stuff. I believe his historic speech will do a lot to turn that around. We're in March. A lot can happen between now and November. 7 months is an eternity in politics.

Steve V said...


I left out Rasmussen, because they have been so off this primary season. I tried to pick ones with good records. I think Ras has both of them losing to McCain by large amounts, which I just don't buy.


KC said...

Steve - The 44-43 poll in NC is one of those PPP polls that I dont put a lot of stock in. The same company had Clinton ahead by 26 in Pennsylvania which is ridiculously more than all the other polling done there--including polls done during the same time period--that have her up by 12-13.

If you are going to exclude the Rasmussen polls because of their innaccuracy surely you should exclude the PPP poll.

Lots of the head-to-heads in those big swing states giving Clinton better chances are also PPP polls. One consistent theme that I still see in the polls is that more people come out for McCain when its Clinton on the ticket than Obama.

Im still waiting on your Clinon endorsement btw.

Steve V said...

The PPP one's were pretty accurate in the last batch of primaries. Besides, as far as Penn goes, everyone has Clinton ahead by at least double digits.

All I'm saying here, there is no sense that voters are moving to Obama, as the presumptive nominee. I find that dynamic strange, considering all of the arguments, most valid, that it's over. Don't you?

Oxford County Liberals said...

Steve: You know.. Novemeber - the presidential election? The one where it will be McCain vs Obama.

With Florida and MI now looking officially gone, Clinton's best hope of trying to win is gone. Obama is the nominee, and the sooner she realizes it (or the sooner the remaining Supers realize) and that her continuing to stay in does nothing but spur an ugly destructive internal war for the Dems, and gets out, the better it will be for the Dems.

Oxford County Liberals said...

I'm also waiting for your Clinton endorsement, Steve :) ALl I've seen on here is arguments arguing how Clinton can win or somehow be in the race or somehow beat McCain. I havent seen very many of the same on here from you for Obama.

Steve V said...

If Florida and Michigan are gone, then I agree. I will say, the Dems are asking for trouble if they don't find a way to include these states. They will lose Florida in the general.

Jeff said...

It just goes to show negative campaigning works. Hillary's shock and awe has shown results. She's been able to pull him back down, and make it competitive. And John McCain sits back smiling.

Steve V said...


I've posted lots of positive stuff on Obama. I'm just not buying the Obama camp spin that he has it wrapped up. Seems to me he needs the super delegates too, and the fact Clinton is still winning primaries, not to mention looking strong in looming contests, isn't exactly a vote of confidence in Obama. Again, if the race is over, why then are we seeing these type of numbers?

I like Obama, but he hasn't closed the deal. If it's over, then he should trounce Hillary in Penn, and he should have won in Ohio and Texas.

Steve V said...


I think we are getting a good preview of what is in store for Obama. If he can't blunt Clinton, the GOP will tear him to shreds. This is nothing, and I use history as my guide. My opinion of Obama will firm up, after I see how he reacts to being on the defensive. Let's see what happens, it's a good test.

That said, this insane Democratic system is the real culprit in helping McCain.

bigcitylib said...


The way I understand it neither Clinton nor Obama can clinch a majority of delegates by the convention, so no it is not over. Clinton is essentially hoping to win a brokered convention by showing that Obama is damaged goods between now and then.

Dirty pool, but in a way its best the stuff comes out now rather than in the general (which is just what John Travolta said about his Dem opponent in Primary Colors).

Steve V said...

Slightly off topic, but I wish Edwards would make an endorsement.

Saskboy said...

What's upsetting is that Obama never had a chance, even with his mojo. The election has been predetermined since at least 2 years ago. I'm still staking my reputation as a prognosticator on Hillary being the next President of the United States of America. The past really does predict the future, especially in phony democracies.

Steve V said...

"The past really does predict the future, especially in phony democracies"

If there is one thing to be learned from this clusterfuck, the Democrats don't understand democracy. Watching the nonsense that happens in these caucuses, it is anything but a true expression of opinion. The whole process is flawed.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"If it's over, then he should trounce Hillary in Penn, and he should have won in Ohio and Texas."

To wrap it all up, Obama needs to win Penn. No questions asked. In primaries in states which the Dems need to win, Hillary has the edge. Obama won the states which will swing Republican anyway. Scott, don't tell me that Obama will beat McCain in Georgia and Mississippi in November, because I am not convinced. This makes Penn winner take all.

"They will lose Florida in the general."

Another state in which Obama needs to win in order to become credible. Hillary has the edge among the Cuban-Americans, New York snowbirds, and military families in the coast. Florida went to Bill in 1996 and must go Dem in 2008.

Win these two states and Obama seals the deal. Otherwise, he remains a contender not the nominee.

Anonymous said...

I have found myself thinking back to the early debates on your site about Obama and Clinton.

It is a little discomforting how many of the points brought up at the time, including one poster who kept hammering (months ago now) that Obama's pastor was going to hurt him, are actually coming to pass.

I think the real issue now is that Obama's association will not affect the DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY, partially because of Obama's speech the other night. If one could leave partisan politics aside for a moment (ha these days), one would have to admit it was one of the best speeches in US politics in over a generation.

However, his significant ties to the pastor will sink Obama in the fall in many states where he might have had a chance otherwise. I hate to say it but I think that last statement is more than just opinion. His ties tothe pastor will be exploited by the GOP in direct and subtle (or at least hidden) ways throughout the general election campaign. Some states culturally will just not get beyond those videos and those words. And it won't matter how eloquently someone may argue about it - what he meant, the history of the church, blah, blah, blah (which is how they will see it). They'll be pulling that lever for McCain once behind the polling curtain. Without those videos and fiery words, they might have given Obama a chance.

I know now that others here will argue that those folks wouldn't have voted for Obama anyway, but I would submit you are fooling yourselves if you think that. North Carolina is not Canada. Neither is Florida or Tennessee. And neither is Kansas or Colorado.

There is no net gain for Obama with that association in many parts of the US, and he will lose some states because of it, states in which he might otherwise have had a fighting chance.

At the end of the day, the November election is where this is all going to wash out. Let's face it, that is the election that really matters. All the rest of this won't matter a bit, just jostling along the way.

Regarding Rasmussen, their polls actually show McCain in head-to-head match-ups. I think it's probably their electoral count predictor with which you may have an issue, as it still shows the dems rather comfortably ahead. I haven't reconciled that either. But in my opinion their polls have been as good as anyone's this season and on the mark on many occasions.

KC said...

Steve - Yes as I say everyone has Clinton up by double digits but not by 26!!! THAT is why I am discounting that poll.

As for the trends, I dont think the trends are as strongly for Clinton as you are making them out to be. They all seem more or less similar to the way they were a while back--if you exclude the PPP polls.

This Rev. Wright stuff has definitely hurt him though--IMO not fairly (I was reading on another blog that the things that McCain's pastor said are pretty bad too). There is definitely a sense that the media has turned on him.

Its still too early to see how Obama's speech effected things.

I for one DONT think that Obama's campaign has been "spinning" that its over. They have said Clinton cannot overtake him with pledged delegates--with or without Fl and Mi which is true; but they havent said that Clinton can't win through superdelegates.

KC said...

I think its pretty important to remember that we're still a long way from November. Even in the worst case scenario the Dems will have a nominee in August and then have 2 months to hammer away at McCain. Thats longer than a Canadian election campaign and we have seen pretty big swings throughout the campaign.

I've never really thought that the head-to-head advantage that Obama enjoyed over McCain were really proof that he was a better choice. They merely debunked her claim that she was stronger. Even by your number she has a .3% better margin over McCain which is so insignificant as to not even warrant mention.

Steve V said...


Fair points for sure.


I think your hitting on something, which is just starting to gel. The racial divide has grown as this process is moving forward. In Ohio and Texas, it was 8-1, 9-1 African American for Obama, while whites moved to Clinton in a more pronounced way. Remember, early in this race, the meme was Obama's ability to win lily white states, he was attractive. Here is the ugly dynamic in American politics, that nobody has touched yet. The more blacks move as one to Obama, that creates a backlash with whites, in many regions of the country, nevermind all the tensions with Latinos and blacks. It is all under the surface, but I don't doubt it will manifest itself.

Scott might forget, but I distinctly remember a post criticizing the Clinton's for using race, the Jesse Jackson nonsense, which started the divide, and it has grown every since.

I'm not sure I've done a good job articulating what I mean, but hopefully you get the gist.

Steve V said...

Liberal Catnip has a great post, which is sort of relevant to the discussion.

calgarygrit said...

Hillary winning states and polls now is like the Leafs winning games.

Too little, too late.

But your points about Obama v McCain are certainly valid and just underscore what an exciting race it will be.

Anonymous said...

No it's not over.

And the voters aren't buying that its over either.

Rasmussen has her up by 28% in West Virginia.

She has some staggering leads in upcoming states.

I'm not saying that it will stay that way and I'm not sayig that she will win, but it isn't over.

The Obama camp has been trying to sell the "it's over" line since Iowa. Its getting tired.

Every time they try to say its over, get out Hillary, voters flock to her.

It's also insulting, undemocratic and kind of lowly by the way to call for someone to leave a race before its over and before everyone has voted. It's really makes it seem like Obama is worried about something.

It just doesn't have great optics and voters haven't responded to it, other than to vote for Clinton.

MI and FL, by the way, will be seated. It will just go to the floor of the convention.

Definately not over, sorry Scott.

Anonymous said...

By the way what's more important than polls right now is the money.

If obama's donations have dried up by 1/3, he's in trouble.

Obama has had to outspend her 3:1 in the past month and a half to win or draw, including spending on super delegates.

Too bad we wont know until Apri 20th what his numbers are for March, but if he can't outspend her in the upcoming races, it doesnt look good when you factor in the polls.