Articles and Analysis


POLL: Franklin & Marshall Penn Dems

Franklin & Marshall College/
Philadelphia Daily News
(story, results)

Pennsylvania 4/8 through 4/13
Clinton 49, Obama 42 (with leaners)
Clinton 46, Obama 40 (without leaners)



This poll seems like good news for Obama, but I would stay that it's actually more bad news for Clinton.

In Feb, Obama drew 37%, in March 35% and now 40% (42%), so he has not seen a surge of support. In Feb Clinton drew 44%, and in March she jumped to 51%, but is now back down to 46%, so it seems more likely that Obama is not gaining all that much support, but that Clinton is bleeding support.

Obama needs to figure out a way to convince the bleeders to vote for him and he has a good chance of actually winning....

We'll see.

Also, really interesting that Clinton's favoribility swan-dived from 65% in March to 58% in this poll, while Obama's rose a meager 6%, from 47% to 53%, thus highlighting the severe "bleeding" the Clinton campaign is undergoing.

By the way, the amount of LIkely Voters used for this is super small!



I think the real reason that HRC favorability is dropping is directly tied to its national support, and both are a function of the number of people who buy this silly idea that by not giving up yet she is being a sore loser that is spoiling things for the party.

In my impression as a foreigner who experienced a few elections here already, it seems that Americans like jumping on the bandwagon of the winning team as early as possible, and eliminate people at the first sign of weakness. I still think Dean could have been the candidate last time around if it was not for a failure in relatively meaningless IA/NH.

In continuing the primary fight, it is true that the democrats are spending money. On the other hand, they are building a grassroot movement and enough interest that would help them against the Republicans; the DNC borefest would actually be interesting this year as well.

Besides, the longer the democrats spend fighting each other, the less attention is on the Republicans, who have less time to utterly destroy the democrats (or let the democrats destroy themselves) the way they usually do.

If you consider how Gore and Kerry both lost to a seemingly weak candidate like Bush, you have to admit that the less time the democrats spend past the point where a candidate is chosen, the better it probably is. *sigh*



You say Senator Clinton's favorable rating "swan-dived" from 65% to 58%, but that's just a slip of 7% - almost the same as the "meager" 6% increase in Senator Obama's favorability. That's an unfair assessment...

I don't buy the "IA/NH are meaningless" argument. The early voting states are small, which means financial advantage does not play a big role, and so all candidates get a fair shake (see Huckabee, Mike).
Also, the voters get to know the candidates really well, and so they can make an informed decision, instead of basing their votes on 30-second sound bites in debates.

Governor Dean lost because he was unable to convert the online passion into feet-on-the-ground. Contrast that with Senator Obama's campaign this time round...

If the continuing Democratic contest was good-natured, that would be OK. But the constant sniping and blowing-up of meaningless comments - on both sides - has lead to the current situation where 30% of Clinton-voters and 20% of Obama-backers would vote McCain if the other candidate was nominated. I am not sure that is good for the Democratic Party and the eventual candidate, particularly if the nominee is decided only in August. Time heals, but two months between Denver and the GE may not be enough.

On the poll: anybody else notice that out of 547 RVs, only 367 LVs - yet 85% say they are sure to vote? What's wrong with this picture?



Uri is exactly right. A fairly large % of American voters always want to be associated with a "winner" so they have a tendancy to "jump onto" a seemingly winning candidate and "jump ship" the minute a candidate seems to be down. They are fickle and rely on the national media to tell them who has "momentum" (which they invent) and who doesn't. We've already seen this over and over this season (and in years past). After the Iowa caucus (in which a whopping 12% of Iowa Democrats - i.e. a few thousand people - participated and the 3 top candidates got basically the same # of delegates), the media basically told us that it was "over" for Hillary and we saw this huge surge toward Obama. Then Hillary won the NH primary and the media told us that the "momentum" had swung right back to her. And all the national polls swung overnight. When the Rev. Wright controversy hit, Obama was ahead in all the national polls. A few days later, he was behind. If Hillary wins PA by 10+ pts, the media will tell us "it's a new race", it'll give her a bump in the national polls, and she'll likely win IN big. If she wins IN (and doesn't lose NC by more than 10), she'll go on to have big wins in KY, WV, and PR. The nomination is still a long shot for her, but she's not out until the superdelegates vote. And that's not likely until July. One more major Obama gaffe and it could be a different race.




I disagree about IA/NH.

IA is a caucus which is an extremely weird system (among many weird system that this country has to complicate something as simple as voting between two candidates). Huckabee and Clinton's third place illustrate that.

NH is a relatively small state with a small number of delegates.

Both are getting a disproportionate amount of attention because they are first. I've heard it argued a lot in the past month that if Hillary had just lost NH, she would be gone out of the race. So a loss in IA and NH is a deathblow to anyone who could have done well in more major states.

Dean's grassroots movement was particularly strong in urban areas that had lots of students. Places like Pittsburgh, Columbus, even Boston, probably. Neither IA nor NH have a significant proportion of young voters. What I saw (living in PA) was a lot of young voters extremely disappointed that the contest was over as soon as it began. One of the reasons Kerry never managed to gather an enthusiastic crowd even here in the home turf of PA.



@RS: I wanted to reply separately to your second comment, regarding whether the fight is good or bad and whether voters do get to know the candidate.

I think most people would agree that these elections are determined by younger people. Older people tend to vote based on what they have voted in the past or what their ethnic/religious/social group would vote. The main stake for all candidates are the young voters.

Let me illustrate from my own country.
I come from a country that has elections every two years. We got the same public figures running in one configuration or another for ages, many having been in the spotlight for 30+ years. So we know the crap we are getting. On the other hand, every election cycle or two there is a "movement for change". A bunch of nobodies elect a charismatic leader, promise to be a middle-ground between the two main parties, attract most of the youth vote with enthusiasm, get elected to an important supporting position in government, and turn into the same old crap. Such is politics, and such is the fickleness of young voters. Though at least in my country, there are never any new fresh candidates in the major parties.

Having spent the past 5 years in a major US college town and attended quite a few political events with candidates of both sides, I can tell you that the vast majority of young voters do not know the candidates, the issues, or what they stand for, and don't actually care.

Some of them follow a candidate the way they would a college sports team, including election night parties with drinking games (I wish I was kidding about this, it reminds me of the Dilbert TV series episode where people vote drunk from home).

Others want to feel like they're part of the student movement in the sixties even though instead of getting poked by police tasers they get online "pokes" by their facebook friends. These like charismatic leaders that promise them any change or revolution and tend to prefer the younger face. In this group (from talking to a few former white students of mine) you also have the ones for whom race plays a role and there is an amount of corrective political correctness.

These students who are voting because "it's cool" and because they were handed out something to sign at a march madness pep rally and because all their friends are voting grossly outnumber the actual grassroot political junkies that every campus has. They don't watch the debates, they don't know what the differences are between candidates, they vote for an image and image only.

Barrack Obama has the image, he has the change motto, he has the youth. Hillary Clinton is an aging woman, not particularly charismatic, and a surprising number of people seem to have the mindset that if she wasn't smart enough to know what her husband was doing behind her back, she can't be smart enough to be president.

As someone who has grown extremely cynical about the youth vote and its fickleness, nothing would please me more than seeing them getting an early education in the reality of life if he loses the election. Every Billary comment online by people who supported her until jumping the bandwagon does as well.

On the other hand, when I hear McCain speak, I am not worried. Enough brilliant ideas taken out of Fred Thompson's checkbook from here to November would be enough to bring all Clinton supporters back into the fold to avoid the greater evil.


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