Thursday, May 22, 2008

[UPDATED 5/23] GE match-ups: Quinnipac version

Quinnipac has a new general election match-up for the three states (via Pollster.com) purported to hold the fortunes of the next POTUS, based on the 2000 and 2004 electoral maps. I dispute that theory; however, let's take a look at the polls.

Florida:
Clinton 48, McCain 41
McCain 45, Obama 41
Ohio:
Clinton 48, McCain 41
McCain 44, Obama 40
Pennsylvania:
Clinton 50, McCain 37
Obama 46, McCain 40

It looks like Senator Clinton carries all three swing states, while Senator Obama would lose the GE.... That's a strong argument for the superdelegates to swing towards Senator Clinton for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

However, these polls are taken now, when Senator Clinton is desperately trying everything to win the nomination - including arguing that "working, hard-working Americans, white Americans" are not supporting Senator Obama [ummm... guess Blacks are not hard-working].
She poses as the defender of civil rights, fighting all the way to Denver to ensure that the entire Florida and Michigan delegations are seated as per the disqualified January primaries. [Even though she herself said these elections do not count, and events of the past few months have proved that with sufficient campaigning, the race between Senators Clinton and Obama would be much tighter than the January FL/MI primaries would have us believe. Yes, that last part is part of Senator Obama's argument.]
And she has finally started saying - explicitly - that sexism and misogyny is preventing her from winning the nomination. [Never mind that, IMO, it is her own campaign mismanagement that has cost her the nomination.]

Where that lands us is here: Clinton supporters are particularly aggrieved that the nomination, which Senator Clinton was entitled to, has been stolen by a smooth-talking, dashing, younger man. This is clear in the Quinnipac poll cross-tabs. There is some animosity on both sides, but Obama supporters - despite the fact that Senator Clinton would be the nominee by overturning the results of primaries and caucuses - still vote for Senator Clinton 74-14, while Clinton supporters favor Senator Obama only 48-31.



Clinton supporters


Obama supporters



Clinton supporters


Obama supporters

Florida










Clinton


91


81


Obama

43


98

McCain


6


10


McCain

36


2

Ohio










Clinton


95


70


Obama

50


95

McCain


4


18


McCain

26


3

Pennsylvania










Clinton


93


70


Obama

51


95

McCain


5


14


McCain

32


4

Average










Clinton


93


74


Obama

48


96

McCain


5


14


McCain

31


3


So - many Clinton supporters will either stay home or vote for Senator McCain in November. This, despite the fact that on the issues (which is what one expects would be the basis for rational decisions), Senators Clinton and Obama are much more similar than the Democrat and the Republican. This is NOT a case of A and A', as some characterized the Bush v. Gore election while voting for Nader.

Sexism didn't prevent Senator Clinton from competing effectively in caucuses, and misogyny didn't make her campaign broke and unable to compete in post-SuperTuesday February contests, which is where this nomination was won by Senator Obama. I just hope that come November, most Clinton supporters will make a rational decision rather than decide to vote for, or otherwise enable, a third Bush term.
[UPDATE 5/23: Professor Robert Eisinger, making a guest appearance at Pollster.com, points out that these GE polls should ask a follow-up question - what happens if Senator Clinton enthusiastically campaigns for Senator Obama? That should make her McCain-voting followers rethink their decision.]

By the way - SurveyUSA has a bunch of new polls coming out. These show Senator Obama beating Senator McCain 49-42 in Virginia (13 electoral votes neither Gore nor Kerry won); winning PA by 8% (agreeing with Quinnipac); and tying Senator McCain in New Mexico. A new Rasmussen poll puts Senator Obama ahead 48-42 in Colorado (9 non-Gore/Kerry EVs). So... the 2000/2004 electoral maps do not appear valid in 2008.
[UPDATE 5/23: Here's a dkos post along the same lines, with links to more polls.]

4 comments:

Ciccina said...

I have to say that I find the criticism of the Quinnipac studies to be weak. If I understand it correctly, the problem with the polls showing Sen. Clinton doing better than Sen. Obama in those matchups is that they didn't ask a different question. Well, they asked a simple question - who would you vote for - and they got an answer.

Complaining that they didn't construct a fantasy scenario that would work to Obama's advantage seems - well - silly. Of course, if they asked, if November comes, and Sen. Clinton enthusiastically supports him, and he wins the Nobel Prize for Literature, and Michelle bakes everyone in America their own personal apple pie, would you vote for him or McCain, yeah, I think his numbers would look better.

RS, as for the sexism / racism thing, I'm just going to ask you a question that I know you will honestly consider.

You have some strong opinions about the way sexism, misogyny and gender did and didn't affect various aspects of this election.

How much information have you actually seen to back this up?

Have you seen any research that measured whether misogyny played a role in any particular caucus, or do you just think it didn't, so you say it didn't?

What do you - do we - actually know about this? Or are you going by your own instincts, when - and I'm going to go out on a limb here - you most likely don't have a background in studying gender issues?

In one of my previous posts I link to a study on misogyny and vote preference for a female presidential candidate - you'll see it. I haven't found anything else like it (yet).

I'm looking forward to seeing your response, and hopefully turning up some solid info that we can each sink our respective teeth into.

RS said...

Ciccina:

The criticism about the Quinnipac poll flowed off Professor Eisinger's post at Pollster. It also fits in with the fact that many Clinton supporters favor McCain over Obama, even though Clinton herself has said that would be a mistake.

[Besides, have you seen that questionnaire? It's so looooong already, one more question wouldn't hurt!]

My point about sexism/misogyny is not that it wasn't a big factor. But for it to play a role in caucuses would need a fuller commitment from the Clinton camp. But they didn't even try (except IA/NV/ME), and instead called caucuses undemocratic!

[Example: Obama gained 27 delegates in ID/CO - more than Clinton gained in OH/PA. He spoke in Boise/Denver; she didn't.]

The current ~150-pledged-delegate gap was built in the post-SuperTuesday contests - when, we know, the Clinton campaign was out of money and couldn't/didn't compete well. For someone starting the year with tens of millions in the bank to find themselves broke on Feb 6... That does not appear to be the fault of sexism/misogyny. That is more likely campaign mismanagement. That's all I am saying.

And you are right, I don't have a background in gender studies. But my points have - largely - nothing to do with gender bias. And I try to keep my comments that way.

Ciccina said...

I was going to post a comment on pollster about Prof. Eisinger's piece, but Mark has put me in a time-out for behaving badly (along with a few others) on one of the threads. So I didn't want to annoy him further. But I wanted to say, basically - it sounds like the idea is that if you ask the question a different way, you get different numbers. Well, duh.

I certainly, absolutely agree with you that there was something seriously wrong with the organization of the Clinton campaign. Unfortunately, I don't have any idea what the problem really was. I've read the stories, and I have hunches based on my own previous campaign experience, but really I don't know so I haven't spent much time thinking about. Obviously something went very wrong on the inside, though. And absolutely, I agree that organizational issues play a central role in her problems vis a vis acquiring delegates.

I wish I knew what happened. I really do. Unfortunately, I wouldn't know whose story to believe.

Okay, here's one small hunch. I have worked on campaigns where the candidate is unusually well funded and powerful (clout-full). The biggest consultants want the biggest campaigns, so they fight to be there. But then because the resources are so plentiful, and just being hired is a feather in the consultant's cap in and of itself, they just coast. They aren't hungry. And its not just one consultant, its all your big name talent doing this at the same time. I call it "beached whale syndrome" - all the sharks come around tearing off hunks of blubber. The sharks get fed but the whale doesn't make it.

So perhaps some of that. But I wouldn't know who specifically to point the finger at. I really wish I had an inside source.

Per my point about your own perceptions of sexism etc. in the election - I meant it a bit more literally than you took it, perhaps... I mean, literally, have you seen any studies? Because I have found only one and I'd like to find more. There must be more information out there. I'm going to keep looking, and in the meantime I wonder if you read the paper I link to in one of my earlier posts, the one on attitudes to a female president. I would like to know what you think about the methodology, and so on. The paper made sense to me, but I haven't read the paper on attitudes to an african american president (the one Mark linked to) and I think that paper may give more context about the pros/cons of the methodology.

I think it would be so, so difficult to show a causal connection between sexism and actual votes / delegates lost. I don't know how you would demonstrate it. The way it manifest is not so much "I won't vote for a woman"; its about judging the woman differently for doing the same things a man does; its about political behavior being coded as inherently masculine, so a woman who behaves in this manner is off-putting, unlikeable, wrong. I really don't think that if Biden had a sort-of annoying laugh people would seriously talk about how much they hate it and how they can't listen to him - it would make them sound petty. But because being pleasing / pleasant is critical to being "feminine," it becomes a problem when the laugh belongs to Hillary. All these negatives add up to a big "i just don't like her." I could go on but I'm just not very articulate today - don't want to take up too much space rambling.

I hope you don't think that I think that any of your comments reflect any kind of sexism on your part - I most certainly do not. !!

Anyway - do have a look at that study; I'd really like to know your opinion. And if I come across anything more, and I hope I do, I'll let you know and we can discuss.

RS said...

I Googled "sexism caucus" or some such, and couldn't find any academic or other studies - largely blogposts and references to how Hispanic Congresswomen were being treated shabbily by male members of the Hispanic caucus... Need to search a little better. Unfortunately, my alumni library privileges (which brings access to a host of peer-reviewed journals) ran out last week...

I did read the paper from your link, and it looks interesting. I am not an expert on statistical methodology, but the technique seems to make sense. As you say, I will have to read the racism-related paper as well to get a better handle on this.

But you are also right, in that the causal relation is really hard to determine. In another aspect - and here I might sound like a broken record - attitudes towards Senator Clinton also confound results on attitudes towards women in general. [The Streb paper pointed this out as well.]

Quite a few states have elected women Governors - Napolitano, Sibelius, Gregoire, Palin, Granholm - and Senators (16 currently). And these are actual state-wide elections, which represent actual populations, rather than the samples in polls. So despite the latent sexism, women can get elected...
[I mean, Kansas! And it looks like even NC might join that crowd.]

I wish there was a bigger pool of women POTUS candidates - maybe that in itself is an indicator of sexism.

Anyway... I am rambling. I will let you know if I find any other studies.