Monday, March 17, 2008

The big-state theory, Speaker Pelosi may lean Obama, and Senator Clinton's new firewall

The Numbers Guy at WSJ examines the "big state" theory that the Clinton campaign pushes as the reason for the superdelegates to back Senator Clinton. The conclusion seems to be that a winning Presidential candidate need not win the biggest states to win the election (see Bush, George W.); but predicting general election performance based on performance in the primaries is an iffy proposition at best. This last part is also the conclusion of Jeff Greenfield over at Slate.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi appears to give a hint that she favors Senator Obama, though what she actually said on ABC's "This Week" is that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should be the nominee - even if the other candidate wins the popular vote. The NY Observer also points out a good reason to back Senator Obama - his long coat-tails in conservative states like (yes!) Kansas, which will help down-ticket Democrats. For Speaker Pelosi, that offers a better chance of strengthening the Democratic majority in Congress. In addition, apparently Speaker Pelosi opposed the Iraq invasion from the start - like Senator Obama, and unlike Senator Clinton. Plenty of good reasons for Speaker Pelosi to back Senator Obama, even if officially she's neutral in the Democratic race.

Finally, Senator Clinton's new firewall appears to be made of Republicans, including Pat Buchanan and Rush Limbaugh. Pat Buchanan and others back Senator Clinton because of her apparent appeal to sensible, Reagan "working class" Democrats, as compared to the "loony left" liberals who back Senator Obama... picking the lesser of two evils?
Rush Limbaugh called for Republicans in Texas and Ohio to "pimp [themselves] for a day" and vote for Senator Clinton, to prolong the Democratic primary race. This appears to be taking effect since of late, Senator Clinton has split the Republican and Independent vote with Senator Obama. For example, in Wisconsin, Senator Obama won Republicans 72-28, and Independents 64-33. But in Ohio and Texas, the Republican/Independent votes were roughly evenly split. Susan Davis over at the WSJ also observes this Limbaugh effect.
Mark Blumenthal of, writing for the National Journal, says a benefit of exit polling is that it can reveal voter motivations. Taking the Mississippi race as an example, he suggests that the exit polls show Republicans voting for Senator Clinton might have been motivated to stop Senator Obama rather than any affection for Senator Clinton.
I am sure Senator Clinton's followers will be very happy with these new developments!

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