Pennsylvania and Beyond

April 25, 2008 on 11:41 am

The Pennsylvania Democratic primary went pretty much as expected. Sen. Clinton was projected to win by six points and won by ten. A double digit night. And she showed well afterwards, both in her victory speech and in interviews. Absolutely nothing succeeds like success. All in, though, she netted only 17 committed delegates. Sen. Obama remains in the lead here by over 150, and by well over 100 in total delegates.

With the confetti now gone and the pundits sitting back in their chairs, we are pretty much where we were on April 21…almost. Ominously, with Obama a full four points below what the polls predicted, despite their trending his way for well over a  month, the Bradley factor may be emergent. First noted in 1982 during the primay campaign of Los Angelos Mayor Tom Bradley for Governor of California, the Bradlley Factor is manifested by an African American candidate scoring significantly lower in an election than in prelection polls. The explantion is that voters tell a pollster one thing then do the opposite in the privacy of the voting booth.  

More certainly, there are reports and speculation about Obama and Clinton loyalists claiming that they will vote for McCain if their candidate is not nominated. One poll put 30 % of those interviewed so claiming. Another poll indicates Clinton would hold significantly more Democratic voters than Obama. How this actually plays out is anyone’s guess. The more McCain looks to be just another four years of George W. Bush, though, the less this scenario seems likely. Disappointed Clintonites and Obamaites staying home on election day? Sure, and maybe a lot of them. But actually voting for a Republican after the last eight years? Maybe for a Ronbald Reagan, but John McCain is a stretch.

Next, on May 6, we have Indiana and North Carolina. Pennsylvania being a closed primary, there was scant attention paid to Independents in the six week run up to it. While North Carolina is closed, Indiana is open, and one of Obama’s principal strengths has been with Independents. They were a big part of his February 12 Potomac Primary victories where he scored 60+ percent in the exit polls. In Texas, though, exit polls put him at only 52% of Independents. Had he won 55%, he would have taken the state outright and it might well have been all over. Which way Independents break in Indiana could be crucial to the outcome.

And we can expect more press on Independents as May 6 approaches. Gary Andres of the Washington Times did good piece on April 24.

He makes the point that, contrary to 2000 and 2004 when each party sought to drive its base, this year the parties will be increasingly focused on Independents. Accordingly, the Indiana primary will be watched carefully for how well each candidate does with Independents. Remember, McCain has been living on Independents for the entirety of his presidential odyssey. Showing strong among Independents in Indiana would certainly strengthen either candidate’s case for Super Delegates, who hold the key to the nomination. 

If you’re an Independent in Indiana, get out there and pull a lever. And remember to look for the pollsters afterward to let them you’re there, which way you went, and why.  VOTE HO!


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