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POLL: Newsweek National

Topics: 2008

Newsweek
Survey of 1,205 registered voters, 608 registered voters that identify or lean Democratic, interviews conducted 5/21-22 (article, results; via TPM).

National

Among Registered Voters:
Vote Preference:
Obama 46, McCain 46
Clinton 48, McCain 44

Favorable/Unfavorable:
Obama 55/40
Clinton 53/43
McCain 54/40

Among Registered/Dem-Dem Leaners:
Obama 50, Clinton 42

 

Comments
Tybo:

another poll showing Clinton as the strongest candidate.

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richard pollara:

Looking at this poll it seems as though the same demographic factors that accounted for much of the vote in the primary are effecting these theoretical GE match-ups. I am wondering whether a statistical model similar to what did in Pablano did in NC, Indiana, WV and Ky would be more predictive than another 5 months of polling.

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kingsbridge77:

After 5 disastrous years in Iraq, gas prices at all time high, Katrina, etc., Obama only manages to tie the Republican candidate.

Interesting.

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Knute:

Big caveat here before we start overinterpreting these numbers (which are not much different than other national polls): Clinton has still not been eliminated from the equation and is diluting support for BHO in a matchup with McCain.

Still, Obama is the clear favorite of dems, and HRC's numbers will surely fall in this category after her latest gaffe. One also wonders how she would match up were she the front runner and the object of the McCain/publican attack machine for the last month?

Her consistent Fav/Unfav. ratio is indicative of real vulnerability in the GE - which is why most publicans would instinctively love for her to be the candidate - and most dems prefer BHO.

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kingsbridge77:

Knute, the elections are among Democrats, Republicans, and independents; not Democrats along;

And you cannot predict the future, therefore shouldn't just claim that Hillary's numbers against McCain will fall after the RFK gaffe, which didn't even bother RFK's son.

Obama will lose to McCain.

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Snowspinner:

It's misleading to say that this poll shows Clinton's strength. Yes, she beats McCain in the match-up, but, as Knute points out, it's a comparative match-up, which sets up a question of Clinton/Obama, when the real question is Obama/McCain.

You can see some of this in the cross-tabs. which are nuts. Obama wins directly vs Clinton among Democrats, but Clinton outperforms him against McCain among Democrats. That number points towards something weird going on - most probably a sizable chunk of Clinton supporting Democrats who are supposedly opposing Obama. That's an interesting concern for the general election, but you can't get real data on its probable impact while the primaries are still ongoing. Why? Because there's clearly an emotional component to it - Obama and Clinton have very similar positions, and McCain has very different positions. It is not rational for a Democrat who supports Clinton to pick McCain as a second choice. Which means what we're seeing there is Clinton anger. It's a real phenomenon, but you have to ask - is it something that will still be in play in November? I think it unlikely.

Meanwhile, there are some very, very good signs for Obama in this poll. His approval rating beats Clinton and McCain. He beats Clinton among independents.

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Andrew_in_California:

Some of these people have to read the Myopia article over having Hillary still in the race. Obama's numbers will have a steady increase when she's out of the race.

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richard pollara:

Knute: If you assume that Mrs. Clinton is diluting support from Obama, you must also assume the reverse.

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Snowspinner:

richard - Not really. I mean, I'm sure it's there to a degree, but exit polls from the last few primaries have shown a much higher McCain defection rate among Clinton supporters than among Obama supporters.

The question is how much of that anger will persist for five months. I'm skeptical that most of it will. And I think the poll supports being skeptical about the depth of that anger - Obama's approval ratings are still higher than Clinton's.

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Uri:

I still don't see what the big deal is about what HRC said. It's obvious that she was using RFK as an example of primaries going into June. If she dropped out and something happened to Obama, she'd be the likely nominee anyway.

I don't know if this survey is just an aberration (could be, newsweek is not daily even though newsweek as a paper is completely pro-Obama), but if it's a trend it could be buyers remorse.

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eternaltriangle:

Look at the favourability ratings here, they diverge considerably from every other poll I've seen. McCain and Obama are higher than usual at +14 and +15, while Clinton is in the positives (which I have never seen since the primaries started).

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Tybo:

"Still, Obama is the clear favorite of dems"

with the vote split 50/50, and with Clinton carrying the democratic vote in polls that's obviously not true.

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Snowspinner:

Tybo - the statement that Obama is the clear favorite of dems comes from the Democrat-only "who do you favor to win the nomination" question, which Obama leads by 8 points. So that's pretty clearly the case.

That Clinton does better against McCain than Obama does among Democrats is interesting, but (and this is a huge but) when the poll frames the question comparatively there is a genuine effect because the perceived question being asked changes. You can see this in the dramatic shift visible in the SurveyUSA polls of a few days ago, which removed Clinton from the equation and saw dramatically better Obama numbers.

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Snowspinner:

Uri - If it were buyer's remorse you'd see closer numbers in the straight Obama/Clinton matchup.

The accurate way to frame it right now seems to be this - more Democrats would prefer Obama to be the nominee than would prefer Clinton to be, but Clinton's supporters dislike Obama more than Obama's supporters dislike Clinton.

So that's not buyer's remorse - it's anger among Clinton supporters. A different phenomenon.

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Snowspinner:

Other notable things that jumped out at me in the poll:

Obama beats McCain among independents. I've said this before, but it's a huge deal. The Democrats will settle. Independents are the battleground.

Obama beats McCain and Clinton both on "shares my values" and "would fit in well with my community." Again, a huge deal - despite the unnerving rate of belief that Obama is a Muslim he's doing well on values issues. The core qualities that got Obama in pole position for the nomination are holding - Clinton and McCain's attacks, Bittergate, and the Wright fiasco have not eliminated Obama's fundamental advantage in these areas. And again, all of Obama's numbers are going to be suppressed in a poll that clearly matches Clinton and Obama head to head.

This poll is good news for Obama, and troubling news for McCain.

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cinnamonape:

uri- I think the "big deal" is that this is the reason that she gave as her motivation for staying in. You are right, she WOULD have gotten the nomination IF such an event happened. So this doesn't really explain adequately her motives for staying in. But the RFK example is particularly irrelevant because the ultimate nominee was not someone who was second in elected Primary delegates...but Humphrey...who never ran in a single Primary and merely marshalled the delegates collected by "favorite sons" in various caucuses to take the nomination.

Neither does Bill's example serve as a rationale...since he was leading by a very large amount and only needed a paltry win in California to win the delegates necessary. In fact, Bill suggested that Jerry Brown drop out for the sake of "party unity".

More relevant examples would have been George Wallace, the Anybody But Carter effort, Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown and Gary Hart's disasterous campaign in which he, too, made outrageous gaps to lose the nomination.

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Uri:

@cinnamonnape: It's true that there are better examples, but the fact is that the media (and the huffingtonpost as the forefront of Obama grassroots support) run this as: "oh, that crazy old lady hoping that Obama would get shot" which of course implicitly evokes the MLK memory.

Obama people, having won, are still paying too much attention to HRC, and in that they're to a degree making the race continue and making HRC's avid supporters more militant in their aversion to Obama.

This rift in the democratic party is going to last for years to come not just because of the "garbage time" since Obama won the nomination, but because of the whole way. People like Michael Moore, Huffington, etc. who were figureheads during the Bush regime are now antagonizing to a significant portion of the democratic party. I am personally not sure that enough people would come back into the fold come the general election. This is not the kind of McCain-Bush rift from 8 years ago.

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Knute:

Looking back at the Survey USA poll (where several VP matchups were compared and Clinton was left out of the equation) it becomes quite clear that Obama will do quite nicely, thank you, in states that HRC had used as HER electability argument.

Of course it's possible that in May, 2008 Hillary may poll even better in these particular places. But then the question Dems are asking themselves, is what kind of candidate do they want to have in November? And what kind of president do they want?

Fallout of HRC's assassination gaffe will be quite evident in the polls next week - and we may not see her included in the mix for much longer. Only then will we be able to track BHO against JMC in some reliable manner.

One final observation about Hillary's comments: Almost unnoticed in the furor over assassignation talk was the illogic of comparing timelines in the current campaign to the June timeframe in other campaigns.

One major rationale in moving the primaries up this year was so the process could be completed earlier in the season - and Dems could therefore be more competitive. Extending the current primary season to June is therefore more as if the '68 or '92 season had gone into August. I.e., the current situation is far less favorable than waiting til June was in previous contests - especially since the Repubs have had their horse in place for some time.

This is also why matchups between Obama and McCain are skewed towards the candidate who no longer has to fight any rearguard action. Snowspinner gives a succinct overview of this dynamic in previous posts.

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Snowspinner:

For what it's worth, I don't think the RFK gaffe is going to be significant. It's not, in practice, as bad a gaffe as Bittergate - its offensiveness is subtler. And Bittergate had a pretty trivial effect.

Furthermore, Obama isn't fanning this one. That's sensible - he has nothing to gain by fanning it. He has the nomination. What he needs is to look conciliatory. But with no fuel, there's not much for this particular fire to cause.

What's interesting is, as Knute suggests, the importance of the pivot. Thankfully, however, Obama's campaign is spectacularly nimble and well-organized, which makes its general election transition a lot more straightforward - much moreso than Clinton's would be, given the reports of infighting in her campaign, and much moreso than McCain's has been. I think he's particularly unlikely to be hurt by a long primary season - the only really big problem he faces from the primaries is winning back the Clinton supporters and the racist Democrats (Or, if we want to be more sensitive about it, the Democrats who scored highly on the "Racial Resentment Index" in this poll). I don't think, in practice, he has that much to worry about on the former.

That leaves the latter, and that's hardly a primary problem - that's always the challenge a black candidate has. And it will be solved by familiarity. In this regard, the primary has probably been a boon - Obama being in the media for months as part of a high profile primary battle has done a lot of the work of acquainting voters to him. And while there have been problems (Wright) these were problems that were always going to happen. And the familiarity has been good for things like the Muslim rumor.

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Nick08:

If the election was held today, McCain would probably beat Obama. And the sole reason would be because currently so-called democrats are heavily divided between Obama and Clinton. Although these people should no longer call themselves reasonable democrats if theyre going to vote for McCain. In light of the last disasterous 8 years of George Bush, I think it would be incredibly sad if these revenge voters from the Clinton side crossover to vote for a pro-choice, pro Iraq war, economic and foreign policy clone of Bush.

The recent Newsweek poll is disturbing to me. Even a small portion of prejiduce towards Obama's race could mean the difference in the entire election. When 11% of people still think hes a muslim, and 1 in 4 people in exit polls say race was a factor in their voting, thats only the ones telling the truth.

Clintons numbers are stronger because Obama's voters are more receptive to her now that she is clearly not going to be the nominee. If she was the frontrunner and subject to McCain's attack her numbers would be quite similar to Obama's probably, maybe even worse.

How else can you explain two democratic canidates, with almost the same exact ideas on economic and foreign policies have different numbers against McCain. The differences between Obama and Clinton pale in comparison than the ones of McCains, so with the life of my i cant understand why a SINGLE democrat would crossover and vote for McCain whether its Clinton or Obama supporters. People need to get over their racism towards Obama, or antipathy towards Clinton, and be united as democrats in winning in the fall.

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Nick08:

OOps, I mean Pro life, not pro-choice above.

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Snowspinner:

For what it's worth, I'd cross over to vote for McCain, or perhaps not vote if Clinton were the nominee.

This is not, for me, an anger thing - this has been my position since December since I settled firmly on supporting Obama. In the end, I can't support the possibility of 28 years of two families running the country. It's too dynastic, and anti-democracy.

I don't think that most Obama supporters would follow my logic, nor do I think that most Clinton supporters would vote McCain over Obama. In fact, I don't think most of the Clinton supporters who currently say they'll support McCain will in November.

But I don't discount the possibility that there are a few who will for valid and sane reasons. Not ones I agree with. But I'm sure that there are some respectable reasons that Clinton supporters could have for supporting McCain over Obama.

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Nick08:

But whyyyyyy Snowspinner?

In the face of 4 dollar gas, the Iraq war, and a recession, why not just bite your lip and use your vote strictly on policy and not personal preference? I dont like the idea of having 28 years of Bush or Clintons in the White house either. But I definitely cant take 8 more years of Bush's economic and foreign policies. I mean just weight it, whats worse right now? At least Clinton does share most of Obama's policies, despite the fact she would further polarize the divide in the country just by being a Clinton alone. Republicans would no doubt take back congress during her administration unfortunately.

I would even go as far as saying that even if Clinton stole the nomination from Obama, Id be gutted too. But I would look at the fact that a complete cut from Bush's policies are desperately needed to better support my family and id begrudginly vote for her in November.

Your reason is probably one of the most respectable and reasonable ive heard. But a democrat voting for McCain despite all that has happened, still seems irrational.

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Snowspinner:

In the end? Because support for democracy and opposition to family rule is a policy issue for me, and it's a deal-breaker.

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mahlers5th:

I think the depth of anger among Hillary's supporters (I am one) is being grossly underestimated. That she has been dismissed and demonized, in the blogosphere, by the likes of Olbermann, Matthews & Russert on MSNBC, to a lesser extent on CNN, in HuffPo and elsewhere has been a source of unending irritation throughout the primary season. It is quite inconceivable that any leading male presidential candidate would be treated with such hatred and scorn as Clinton has been. But the mob hysteria and witch hunt mentality that followed her RFK comment is truly appalling. The idea that "Clintonistas" will come around in November, like a battered wife, no matter how much they bash and belittle our candidate, is wishful thinking in the extreme. At this point, I think many of her supporters see a vote for Obama as an endorsement of the kind of hateful misogyny we have been hearing throughout the campaign, and we want no part of it.

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Snowspinner:

mahlers5th - I ask this in all seriousness, because I'm genuinely curious - how can you seriously argue that a liberal voter could say that Obama is worse for women than McCain? With McCain you have a staunchly pro-life opponent of same sex marriage who supported the Iraq war and who has a marginal at best record on climate change.

I'm also curious what, exactly, you see as "hateful misogyny," and how Obama embodies it. I can think of a few scattered instances (The Chelsea Clinton comment on MSNBC being the most egregious), but I really have trouble seeing a pattern of behavior, particularly on the part of the Obama campaign. Certainly nothing that's any worse than things like Clinton's "as far as I know he's not a Muslim" comment. As for the RFK firestorm, it seems far tamer than the viciousness with which Clinton fanned the "bitter" gaffe, passing out "I'm not bitter" buttons at events the day after it broke.

I mean, I honestly do not see this - what happened during the campaign that was so out of line that the act of uniting around the primary winner is analagous to forgiving spousal abuse? What did Obama do that makes him worse than McCain?

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Uri:

Even though most HRC voters who say they'll vote for McCain will probably come home or at least not vote, the difference may be a problem in swing states.

Obama supporters also have to understand that there is a significant portion of voters who do not buy into the whole "American Idol" thing that has been going with Obama since the last DNC. I was living in Boston at the time and remember the nonstop coverage, and having watched him speak, I was thinking "Where is the substance?".

It is true that Obama is charismatic and draws many younger voters. However, that does not always win elections.

Consider JFK, the closest example (because of Obama's age and draw, not the assasination, obviously, though I can already see Obama voters attacking). JFK won big, 303-219 EVs against Nixon. However, if you look at the popular vote, the difference is miniscule: 49.7%-49.5% with Byrd drawing 0.4%.

If the mix of states have been different, or Byrd did not win MS and AL, we could have had a second Nixon presidency.

Do not underestimate the combination of an anger by HRC voters, and the disaffection of white blue collar workers. Not all of them are racists. Some just care about healthcare and the economy than they do about change. And don't forget, Nader tends to run on this anti-corporate message, so he may attract some of these voters.

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Tom:

I find it interesting that in the most recent SUSA poll for Ohio, where Clinton wasn't mentioned in a head-to-head vs. McCain, that Obama won by 9 points. They also tested some likely VP scenarios with Obama-Edwards, -Sebelius, -Rendell and -Hagel vs. McCain-Huckabee, -Romney, -Pawlenty, and -Lieberman. In these scenarios, Obama does best with Edwards, and the others all too close to really tell apart, while McCain does best with Huckabee and worst with Pawlenty (name recognition must be the biggest factor there). I am sure going forward that we will be seeing some projected VP matchups in the polls. I would be shocked if McCain's people aren't doing this already, while Obama's people, understandibaly delayed because of the extened primary process, are preparing to do this as we speak.

Oh, the SUSA numbers are at

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Snowspinner:

Uri - look at the cross tabs and you'll see where Obama is losing support among Democrats. It's heavily among people who score highly on the "Racial Resentment Index," which suggests that it is a race issue. I suspect Democrats who score highly on the RRI are not Nader's base. He's kind of a latte-sipping elitist guy. :)

On the other hand, there is plenty of good news for Obama among the disaffected Democrats - he still scores highly on questions like "shares my values" and "would fit in with my community," doing better here, in fact, than Clinton or McCain. That suggests a softness in the anti-Obama vote that makes me think it's relatively transitory.

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carl29:

I see a big problem with this poll. Why doesn't it include gender? I bet the farm that those whites are white women of certain age. Being white and women are not mutually excluding. Someone can be white and women. Given the fact that this race include a woman who has a huge support from white women of certain age, I find the exclusion of this fact in the brakedown a little bit disturbing. I imagine that the difference between Obama and Hillary with whites rests for the most part on the "Geraldine Ferraros" of this country, those old, white women who are pissed off at Obama's nomination. This is not a secret. These "ladies" have been very vocal about there resentment against Obama and have stated very clearly that they are going to vote for McCain, against Obama.

So, all these consider, I think that Newsweek droped the ball by not giving us the full picture. Of Course there are a difference between Obama and Hillary among whites, and everyone knows that those whites are white women, angry, old, white women. The question is how many of them will follow thorugh with their threat of voting for McCain against Obama. We'll see in Nov. If these "ladies" think that they are going to get the DNC to deny Obama of the nomination out of fear for losing their votes, they are dreaming. Now, How is the naive?

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Uri:

Snowspinner: I would have liked to see a gender-resentment index. Women don't exactly have it easy, especially among racists.

However, to the point of the index itself.
I find it problematic(as somebody who's not from the US, so I'm not very PC):

First, three out of ten questions are about affirmative action. I think that being against affirmative action does not make one a racist, but it does put you automatically on medium in this rating.,

Next is "poor to dependent on goverment". If I remember the stats correctly, it is poor whites, not minorities, who use the brunt of welfare. Poor!=Minority.

I also don't understand "Few things common with blacks". What does that mean? I doubt I have many things common with blacks, but if I turn on VH1 I also have little in common with 20 year olds.

So it comes down to two questions about interracial marriages and a black neighbor. These are 3 out of 10. So anyone who answered these 3 as "would mind" would be rated as a racist just like the people who don't like affirmative action.

Then again, Newsweek has been Obama's paper.

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Snowspinner:

Uri - a GRI might be interesting, but signs generally point to no. In particular, look at the exit polls of a state Obama won handily - Oregon is a good choice here, because it's a very white state that went for Obama, suggesting that race generally did not play much of a role. (And indeed, you have a 90% "race was not important" vote in Oregon) When asked "was the gender of the candidate important to you," you get 17% who say yes, breaking for Clinton 55/45. Notably, when this is broken down you get Clinton winning 66/33 among women who say yes, and no good statistics for men who say yes because there were too few of them (but we can extrapolate that it was 65/35 for Obama). That means that in a heavily Obama-friendly state you have about 4% with an obvious gender discrimination problem.

Compare to West Virginia, where you have 21% of whites saying race is important, and that group breaking 84/9 for Clinton. The remaining went to Edwards -so 91% of that group voted against Obama. That's a staggering 19% of the electorate.

Both of those numbers are probably lower than the actual rate of incidence, but there's no particular reason to believe they're out of scale with each other. So the numeric evidence thus far suggests that race is a larger issue than gender.

The RRI is imperfect, but I generally like it - it notably doesn't measure racism directly, but rather, well, racial resentment. Which picks up subtle biases in a useful way.

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Patrick:

mahlers5th is exactly right. The media (and likely the Obama campaign) is really underestimating how many Clinton supporters will vote for McCain if Obama does not offer her the VP slot. I know scores of people who have voted for every Democratic presidential candidate their whole lives, but swear they'll vote for McCain over Obama UNLESS Hillary is Obama's running mate. And it's not racism. It's a combination of the anger we feel that our candidate was so maligned and treated so unfairly by the mainstream media. It's also a combination of genuine concern over Obama's relative inexperience and the fact the McCain has always been a true moderate, not a scary right-wing Republican. If Obama is smart, he would not only offer, he would beg Clinton to be his running mate. That's his best chance at winning in Nov.

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Snowspinner:

Patrick - McCain has hardly been a "true moderate." He's been a solid conservative with a few high-profile breaks from the party. Certainly he's dramatically further to the right than Clinton or Obama (who are both about the same amount of liberal).

Given that, I really don't understand the anti-Obama backlash. You seem a bit more accurate than mahlers5th in that you're not ascribing sexism to Obama himself, but again, what has been so disproportionately unfair about the treatment of Clinton in the media? (And the key word here is disproportionate - where has Clinton been mistreated in ways that Obama has not?)

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Beth:

There are a lot of women who are tired of the rampant sexism and misogyny that has been demonstrated throughout this campaign - by the media, by so-called progressives in the blogosphere, by Obama supporters and operatives, and to a lesser extent by the man himself.

Obama has given minor lipservice to women's issues, but only barely - and I've no confidence that he will be a strong ally for me on issues that are important to me. As a lesbian woman, I've still not fully forgiven him for pandering to homophobic black Christians back in February.

There are numerous formerly progressive blogs that have simply become unreadable for Hillary supporters this year. Aside from the contempt directed at Hillary, comparing her to evil incarnate, there is similar contempt for anyone that supports her. They have truly become hostile places. There are also supposed news programs that are consistently painful to watch, so unbalanced and unreasonable has been their criticism of Hillary.

There are a lot of supposed progressives, ranging from politicians to political operatives to pundits to bloggers, for whom my opinion has been permanently adversely altered. I'll never forget their complicit acceptance (and in some cases, active participation) in misogynistic attacks on Hillary.

A recent tactic has been to brow-beat women, telling us that unless we are compliant and obediant drones that vote for a straight-party Democratic ticket come November, then it'll be our fault when McCain imbalances the Supreme Court and women are forced to use coat hangers or go to back alley butchers for reproductive freedom. Yes, I've literally seen the threat made by an Obama advocate that if women don't fall in line, we'll be back to using coat hangers!

Needless to say, I resent this approach considerably. My vote is not an entitlement of the Democratic party. My interests cannot be set aside as unimportant, because I don't *dare* vote for anyone other than whomsoever receives the Democratic nomination.

McCain isn't actually all that conservative, and he's more pro-life in name than in action. Given a Democrat controlled Senate, I doubt his judicial appts will do all that much harm. And it's not like I trust Obama to be all that committed to universal healthcare, or gay rights, or really anything that is important to me. His campaign has made quite clear that I'm not a key demographic for him. I don't want McCain's judicial appointments, but I'm not convinced I want Obama's appointments either. It's Clinton whose judgement I trust.

At the start of the year, while I leaned towards Hillary, I was uncommitted as to who I would vote for in the primary. I looked forward to taking back the White House from Republican control, so that we might make progress on issues that matter to me. But now, I feel that a vote for Obama merely endorses the treatment of Hillary and her supporters this year.

If Hillary were to run as a third-party candidate, I would vote for her. My admiration of her has grown steadily throughout the year, and I truly feel that she is the most qualified for the job. If not, I don't know who I'll vote for, and I might leave the selection for President blank. However, the chances of my voting for Obama are vanishingly small - the biggest question is will I still be upset enough to vote for McCain.

Doubtless some Obamaphile will be along shortly to call me a silly, irrational woman, and inform me that I was never a Democrat...

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Nick08:

Obama is a substantive canidate. Hes very progressive and consistent. Like I said before, he and Hilary are very similar in their policies but he takes a different approach on certain issues. People say Obama is vague. The most vague canidate I have heard thus far is John McCain. That 2013 speech he gave was about as vague as it gets. I dont hear any policy plans or ideas coming from him at all. Hes the same on healthcare, Iraq and the economy as Bush. So if these so-called white blue collar democrats have their own finacial stability and family in their best interest, they would vote for universal healthcare, withdrawl from Iraq, and a different economic approach and not use their vote to express racial bias or anomosity that their canidate didnt win.

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Snowspinner:

Beth - Thank you for your calm and reasoned answer to the question about why not Obama.

That said, I remain puzzled by your views. McCain is hardly the moderate you make him out to be - NARAL has him ranked at a 0% pro-choice voting record. That doesn't seem like lip service. And while Obama isn't as strong as I'd like on gay marriage, he at least has no track record of opposing civil unions - unlike McCain, who came out against the New Hampshire civil union law. And I'm pretty sure Obama does not see Scalia as the ideal Supreme Court justice, unlike McCain.

As for the anti-Hillary vitriol, I'm sure there have been some bloggers who have been over the top. On the other hand, the pro-Hillary bloggers haven't exactly been bastions of well-reasoned critique either. Hillaryis44.org is prone to statements like "Obama, Napoleon like, will proclaim himself emperor the nominee of the Democratic Party on May 20" and to fanning the flames of the "Obama is a Muslim" rumors. The quotes from Hillary supporters all but accusing him of being a terrorist in the media are similarly grating and offensive, as have Hillary's attacks like "As far as I know, he's a Christian."

I tend to think of a campaign as having four tiers of people I care about the comments of - the candidate, the immediate and major campaign staff, the surrogates, and the supporters in general. And I care about them, roughly, in declining order. I think, tier for tier, the two campaigns have been about equally shrill, offensive, and/or unreasonable this primary season.

As for the media coverage, I tend to think it's been crappy on both sides - I agree that chatter about things like Clinton's choices of outfits has been ridiculous. On the other hand, I am hard-pressed to imagine any other candidate who would have been treated as a credible candidate after losing on Super Tuesday, losing twelve in a row, and then failing to win the two states that the campaign flagged as firewalls a month later. The media kept Clinton's campaign alive long after victory was a mathematical impossibility. She's still not being treated as the oddity that Huckabee was when he persisted in a doomed campaign.

Again, I don't see anything disproportionate here - I think both campaigns, in terms of their overall treatment of each other, have been on pretty equal footing. And I think both campaigns, in terms of the issues alone, are vastly superior to McCain.

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thatmakessense2:

Beth,

McCain has shown himself to be a Bush clone - or have you missed the last 8 years??

You are willing to risk your reproductive rights on the belief that he is pro-life in name only? HUH??

I find it rather ironic that homosexuals (& women) are willing to support McCain (either by abstaining their vote or voting for him) when it is CRYSTAL clear where Obama stands on the issues regarding those groups.

A gay woman voting for McCain is like a Jew voting for a Nazi. Utterly ridiculous. Of course, the people get a leader they deserve, and if there are enough people that have their heads up their asses, then we will have another 8 years like the last.

Thanks Beth, way to be a progressive.

By the way can you name ONE instance of Obama engaging "in misogynistic attacks on Hillary"??

I didn't think so.

And when was the last time Hillary ever mentioned gays and straights coming together - as Obama does nearly every week in some form?

Yeah, that's what I thought as well.

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Nick08:

There is no doubt that Hilary Clinton has run the most negative campaign outside of Mitt Romney. I cant really think of many intances of sexism towards her from the Obama campaign. I do think the media had been extremely unfair to her. But Clinton never passed on oppurtunity to pounce on Obama. And Im still shocked about the things she said before South Carolina. There was more racial overtures coming out of the Clinton campaign than sexism from the Obama camp. One of my biggest criticism of Obama was that he didnt attack Clinton enough. He had the kitchen sink thrown at him. Now all of this is understandable during a heated campaign battle. But people shouldnt lose sight in whats at stake. If Hilary endorses Obama it wont be because she has to, it will be because she believes in him and knows that the most important way forward in this country is to have a Democrat in the White House.

If you dont want to vote for Obama, thats fine. But please dont use your vote as some means of protest or anti-Obama and vote for McCain. These polls are startling. How can so many Democrats say they want to vote Republican? This isnt about Obama, or Clinton, or McCain. You shouldnt vote on the individual, you should vote on their direction for the country. And if Clinton and Obama share 90% of that direction, why would any Clinton supporter vote for McCain if its not indeed some form of bias or revenge vote? Because its certainly not because of their policy differences.

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Snowspinner:

On the other hand, the statement "A gay woman voting for McCain is like a Jew voting for a Nazi" is, without a doubt, one of the most vile and offensive comments I have seen this electoral cycle.

Lest anyone think I'm overlooking comments from people I agree with.

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Snowspinner:

Nick08 - I disagree about the claim that one shouldn't vote for the individual.

In 2000, I was sympathetic towards a lot of Bush's policy statements. I really liked the idea of faith-based initiatives. I liked the focus on a humbler vision of foreign policy. I liked his economic policies which seemed like useful stimulus given the seeming weakening of the economy we were seeing in 2000. I liked "compassionate conservativism" as a vision for the country.

Much to my surprise, this vision for the country ended up being a disaster, not because the ideas were bad but because the man tasked with implementing them was a viciously anti-intellectual idealogue who believed he was the right hand of God.

That wasn't part of his vision for the country. That was part of him as a man.

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Swingebreech:

To Beth,

from another lesbian Hillary supporter named, oddly enough, Beth (Chichester, in my case).

I voted for Hillary (twice, I'm from Texas) and think she is the best candidate for president. Unfortunately, her chances now seem slim to none that she will be the nominee. I plan on voting for Barack in November.

I agree that a great many of his supporters have been utterly vile. I can't tell you how many times a discussion about her nomination has devolved either into talk of the antichrist or about her suposedly fat ankles. It has been depressing beyond belief to see political discourse go so far down so quickly.

However, the thought of McCain as president is enough to make me hold my nose and vote for Obama. The democratic congress will not stop McCain from picking conservative judges (look at how many of them voted for Roberts!) and we are one judge away from revisiting the sodomy law and I am not willing to be considered a criminal again. Yes, Obama also made me very angry by embracing homophobic ex-gay ministers, but McCain is no better, as he was perfectly happy to have Hagee on board while that pastor was just a gay-hater and not yet known to be a Jew-hater as well.

Beth, I admire the way you are able to express yourself (I have been far more scattered), and I understand your anger and frustration. I do hope you will study McCain's voting record and how he is flip-flopping about torture, tax-cuts, et cetera, before you decide for whom to vote.

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Nick08:

Snowspinner,

I understand that part of what voters are looking for is someone that shares their values. Which it surprises me that Obama leads in that catagory in the polls. The individual themselves matters but I think people can take that a little too far. People wanted a President they could have a beer with and they got just what they asked for.

In this instance, I dont see people voting against Obama because of his values as much as just their personal prejiduces or destain for him being the democratic frontrunner over their canidate. Say what you will about their differences personally but Clinton and Obama arent far apart on policy. I think Obama can bring together a working majority to pass more legislation and be more open to ideas of everyone at the table and keep democrats in control of congress. I think Clinton is more polarizing and Republicans would have more resistance to her policies even if theyre good ones.

The bottom line is, we dont know any of these people are personally. We can assume and form certain opinions. I voted for Obama and I personally think hes unapproachable and extremely arrogant unlike Bush. But he represents a complete and clean cut from the politics of the past and the stalemate between the Clinton and Bush dynasties. Oh and unlike Bush, he is a intelletual.

He and Clintons voting record is about 90% the same. He has run a outstanding campaign and organization. A vote for him is basically a vote for Senator Clinton strickly on the issues, and visa versa. Esepcially on the big issues. The only difference is historically, him being a AA and her being a woman.

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Tybo:

I have to admit that It's amusing to watch the obama fans try and brow beat the Clinton supporters into voting for Barack.
they don't see sexism, they believe Clinton has been more negative than Barack, they think Barry's 2 years in the Senate equals Clinton's 8 years, etc.

then there's the "You're racist" rants.

just how to get McCain elected!

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thatmakessense2:

tybo,


Don't you get tired of trotting out the same old lies day-in day-out? You sound like that tool, lanny davis. At least he's getting paid to BS. Are you?

Even people that voted for Clinton said she has been more negative. It's in all the exit polls.....but what do facts have to with anything, right??

Where has anyone said the "you're racist" line? By the way, a lot of people who voted for Clinton and won't vote for Obama ARE racist - especially in states like WV, KY, TN, etc. Or did you miss the news reports like these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8J9laUNgL4

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ODaxZSz3Awg

And to top it all off, you can't even count. Clinton was elected to the Senate in 2000. Obama was elected in 2004. How do you get 8 and 2 from that?? Looks like you are employing Bush's "fuzzy math".

Mark, isn't there a rule against people who blatantly lie and are arithmetically challenged from posting on this site?


____________________

Snowspinner:

Tybo - it's true, I don't see the sexism. Please show me evidence.

As for the issue of racism, this poll shows with dispiriting clarity that it's in play - as did the exit polls in Kentucky and West Virginia. The exit polls have showed sexism to be a much smaller part of the picture.

And I think the candidates have been about equally negative. I can think of more galling things that Clinton has said than that Obama has said, but I admit that my personal bias might play in there. So I'm willing to call it a tie there.

So I repeat - where's the beef? Where's the evidence of entrenched and horrible sexism in this campaign?

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thatmakessense2:

Well snowspinner, "sexism" is now defined as ANY attack on Hillary - no matter if it is legitimate or not.

Many of her supporters apparently do not know the meaning of the word. Never have I heard anyone say, "She is a woman, therefore she shouldn't be running." That would be sexism, saying a woman is somehow inherently unqualified to be president. I haven't heard anyone in any legitimate news outlet say anything remotely like that.

Calling Hillary a liar and a say-anything, do-anything candidate is simply stating the truth. If she were male, that same statement would apply to her. Despite the fact that I find her to be a despicable, disgusting candidate that has NO BUSINESS being a leader of any sort, I would gladly punch my ballot for her over McCain - any day of the week.

The stakes are TOO HIGH for me to resort to selfish interests above the party. Those "Democrats" who would vote for a pro-war, pro-life Republican over their party's nominee are not really Democrats. The next president is going to appoint 2 maybe 3 judges to the Supreme Court. Lest you think that doesn't matter, take a look at what happened in Florida in 2000. Also take a look at WHO will be retiring - a few liberal judges. Guess what, are you willing to have Roe v Wade overturned, civil liberties be trampled on, and God knows what else by an unrestrained Roberts, Thomas, Alito, and Scalia?


By the way, to those of you citing those bogus "match-up" with McCain polls, give it a rest already. As I've said before, polls this far out mean nothing.

Also, the only way Clinton gets near the White House now is on the Obama ticket, thereby nullifying all her "wins" in these match-ups. Do you think the racists in Kentucky and WV will overcome their bias to vote for her and Obama?? The only reason she gets support in KY, WV and other states is because of a large number of racists. Oh what, oh what will those KKK members do I wonder??


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Swingebreech:

Snowspinner -

You did not direct your comment to me, but allow me reply nonetheless.

First let me say that I respect your comments here and find them insightful rather than inciteful :)

Second, let me say that I am not on board with the "Obama as sexist" meme. My personal beef has been with some of his ardent supporters here on the internet. There are also many ardent Clinton supporters that make me cringe.

I think the aforementioned meme about which you are inquiring comes from "codewords" said by Obama and his team that women hear in reference to themselves all the time, e.g. claws, mood-swings, etc. I have no doubt that this was not even on his radar when he said these codewords, and really it's all such a grey area anyway, but it is akin to some of the crap that has been said about Obama, e.g. he's "clean and articulate".

Then, of course, was the whole "sweetie" incident. Now, I'm from Texas and we tend to call everybody honey or darlin' or similar names, so this did not bother me, personally, but it really irritated a lot of people because it exemplified the condescension women face everyday.

So why is a woman who doesn't think Obama is sexist explaining why some women do? Because the examples are, for the most part, hard to pin down and are easily (if thoughtlessly) dismissed as paranoia or the like. It's safer just not to specify.

I would say these circumstances actually make things a lot harder for Obama. Concrete examples can be taken head-on. He has shown a great deal of political skill, in fact, in those sorts of instances, e.g. the Wright controversy. Since he is dealing mainly with codewords and the like, he is dealing with an undercurrent of growing frustration and anger that is now coming to a boil. Difficult to pin down, difficult to combat.

So, justified? Perhaps, perhaps not, but that question doesn't really matter because the anger is absolutely there and must be dealt with regardless.

The question is, how to go about with the healing? As someone who wants desperately to see a democrat in the white house, this question is very important to me!

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Beth:

Snowspinner, I made a long response that included article and video links, but apparently it is trapped in the spam filter.

Obama personally has not been the worst (though Swingebreech correctly points out that he's called adult professional women "sweetie" on multiple occasions, and he keeps using code words like "claws"). An example she neglected to mention was when Obama said "I understand that Senator Clinton, periodically when she's feeling down, launches attacks as a way of trying to boost her appeal." Y'all can spin that any way you want, but a lot of women took it poorly.

The real problems have been the media, the blogosphere, and Obama's supporters - and the complete lack of response from most Democrats and so-called progressives.

The sexism is in popular t-shirts supporting Obama proclaiming "Bros before Hos". Hillary Nutcrackers being sold as novelty gifts in airports. Cackling Hillary pens - which get featured approvingly during news shows on MSNBC! Chain emails entitled "If a Woman were President" joking that we'd declare war on a monthly basis - i.e. every time she gets her period.

The sexism is in a pro-Obama political group being formed called "Citizens United Not Timid" (so named for the acronym). A liberal radio personality (at an event organized by Obama supporters, and promoted on Obama's campaign website) calling Clinton a "****ing whore". Someone asking McCain how he's going to beat the bitch, and the news coverage focusing more on his response than outrage at the question. "Iron my shirt" t-shirts. And so on...

Politicians and pundits comparing Hillary to a bad ex-wife, a nagging mother, a psycho ex-girlfriend, a stalker - and the coverage of such events featuring laughter on the news networks, and gleeful responses on progressive blogs.

Countless vile posts at places like DailyKos (progressives, my ass). People calling Hillary a bitch, a whore, etc. in the comments - and getting recommended, not condemned! Please find me examples of Barack being approvingly callled something comparable on a major progressive blog.

By the way, I've never even heard of Hillaryis44.org - but the name kind of betrays their bias. My complaints about the progressive blogosphere are about the bias, hypocrisy, indifference to sexism, and at times outright misogyny demonstrated on numerous A-list "progressive" blogs. Not just isolated examples in obscure or special interest blogs.

For more examples, see the article on "Misogyny I Won't Miss", by Marie Cocco of the Washington Post, or just search YouTube for "Misogyny in the media".

I don't see how anyone can have *missed* the steady stream of misogyny, short of willful blindness. It hasn't been subtle, and it hasn't been in short supply. The only explanation I can see for the ongoing lack of outrage in the face of constant incidents of this type is that a lot of people *don't care*.

Michelle Obama tells us that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country." Personally, I'm not sure I've ever been more disgusted. I'd hoped we'd made a little more progress. I knew sexism was still rampant in our culture, but I'd really thought we'd at least reached the point where most so-called progressives were capable of recognizing it when it is blatant, and willing to condemn it. But apparently, they are only willing to do so when it is politically expedient, not as a matter of principle.

Apologies if both this and my earlier (similar) post both show up.

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Beth:

"Never have I heard anyone say, 'She is a woman, therefore she shouldn't be running.'"

Really.

How about "Hillary Clinton Shouldn't Run For President She Should Just Run The Dishes" or "Hillary Clinton: Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich"? Both examples pulled from the internet.

There was a guest on one of the MSNBC shows that called Hillary a "vaginal-American" for goodness sake. If y'all really haven't heard about any of this type of behavior, it just underscores how disproportionate the coverage has been of racism vs. sexism. If you have heard or seen some of it, and you can still claim that there hasn't been any sexism, then you simply aren't my political ally.

People keep telling me that I'm not a Democrat if I don't vote for Obama. What some of you fail to get is that I'm not sure I want to be a "Democrat" anymore. The party leaders (and most Democrat-linked pundits in the media and the blogosphere) have certainly not distinguished themselves in this election.

That doesn't mean that I'm not progressive, or that I'll turn to the Republicans. It just means that I want an actual progressive party, one that demonstrates more appreciation of women's issues - not just a boy's club that thinks they are entitled to the votes of every person with a uterus as long as they shout "Roe v Wade" often enough.

Swingebreech - I'm not saying I'm going to vote for McCain, but I don't see how I can bring myself to vote for Obama without a *lot* of fences being mended. Which considering that I was considering him 6 months ago, and I'm close to a single issue voter on LGBT rights (with women's rights and universal healthcare being my next two biggest concerns), says something about how fed up I am with a lot of Democrats.

I will say this. Telling me that I'm irrational and that there has been no sexism (which seems to be the tact taken by most Obama supporters) is *not* going to persuade me to vote for Obama. Definitely the wrong approach to take.

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thatmakessense2:

Beth-

WHAT?!?!!? You pull random sentences from the web as proof that there is this vast sexism conspiracy against Clinton? I could pull a sentence like that about anything.....saying something outlandish like "The Pope hates Catholics" for example. As another Clinton said before, "Gimme a break....that whole thing is a fairy tale".

WOW.....seriously....wow.

No wonder George Bush has been president the last 8 years......

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Snowspinner:

Beth - You've managed, I think, to persuasively track a subtle pattern that I confess, I had missed. (I am warmly ensconced in the elitist arms of academia, and spend mercifully little time in stores where I could buy a Hillary Clinton nutcracker, or reading e-mails about what would happen if a woman were President. I haven't gotten any "Obama is a Muslim" e-mails either, for that matter. It's quite nice.)

You are right about the two main instances of chauvinism on Obama's part. I think it notable, however, that he apologized swiftly and personally for the "sweetie" comment, admitting that it was crass on his part - I did not follow that story closely, but my impression was that the apology went out to the journalist in question before the story really broke.

As for the "when she's feeling down," yeah, it was a cheap shot. No argument or defense there.

Other things you've cited I find less persuasive - the Obama campaign event being on the website is almost wholly incidental - I can create an Obama campaign event and put it on his website trivially. The grassroots tools on the website are quite powerful. So there's not a persuasive reason to treat that as substantively linked to his campaign. And Citizens United Not Timid, from what I can tell, is a Republican group, and so pretty detached from Obama.


On the other hand, you have an equally righteous anger on the part of Obama supporters who are rightly aggrieved at the television parade of Clinton supporters from West Virginia and Kentucky saying that they're not racist, but they won't support a black man. I can say, as an Obama supporter, that it's been galling to watch Clinton tout her support among these "hard working Americans" as a good thing. I know my respect for her would have increased a lot had she, in the weeks surrounding Kentucky and West Virginia, rebuked the visible racism that was propelling her to victory.

And I will say that, from the exit polls, the sexism does look less significant than the racism - the numbers I ran had about 19% of the voters in West Virginia being explicitly racist in their reasoning, vs. 4% of the voters in Oregon being explicitly sexist. That's an important number, because it gives a sense of scale.

As for the question of mending fences and voting for Obama... to my mind one of the great problems in America right now is the strength of insult-based politics that collapse things to simple, unambiguous polar opposites. This is what I think Cocco speaks of when she says that "To hint that sexism might possibly have had a minimal role is to play that risible 'gender card.'" As though saying that there has been sexist rhetoric about Clinton is equivalent to saying Obama is as bad as a wife-beater. Not that the extreme view does not exist. (It was expressed earlier in this thread). But rather, the bizarre assumption that all viewpoints can be collapsed into their most extreme manifestations. This is the same thing that has made Obama's willingness to meet with foreign leaders, or the Jeremiah Wright fiasco such major issues when they're clearly not. It's a problem that extends from under-educated voters with an anti-intellectual streak all the way up to the rise of pundits who have learned the lesson that the more extreme your analysis, the better your ratings.

To my mind, more than any other candidate in my lifetime, Obama has displayed an awareness of nuance. He seems to me the most fundamental alternative to a politics of division. He is, without a doubt, an imperfect messenger. But he does seem to me to be genuinely invested in a vision of America that is both subtle enough to include everybody, and morally grounded enough to provide a clear sense of vision and direction.

And that's, perhaps, the best argument I can give you for voting for Obama - because the broken fences you identify seem to me symptoms of a much larger problem. And because Obama, if nothing else, seems to want to mend the fences within America as much as possible.

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thatmakessense2:

Beth -

You remind me of Nader voters in 2000.....they actually thought there was no difference between Gore and Bush. We saw how right they were, didn't we?

On one side, we have a party that vehemently HATES gays and has little to no women representatives and is driven to take away women's reproductive rights.

On the other side we have a party that has numerous women leaders at all levels, backs gay rights, supports Roe v Wade.

The choice is clear......sit out and let the anti-gay, anti-women, pro-war party have their way, or stand up, put your personal feelings aside and do what's right......

Who knows how much longer this war may go on, or how many new ones the Republicans would start if they got into power.....young men and women's lives are on the line and you're mad because the Democratic candidate said "sweetie"?????????

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Beth:

"thatmakessense2":

Where did anyone say that there is a conspiracy?

Obama's comments about claws, and Clinton being periodically emotional and needing to attack, and calling professional women sweetie aren't "random sentences from the web".

Neither are most of my other examples.

And the real problem is the pervasiveness of such attitudes, and the fact that sexist statements are tolerated (even greeted with approval) in settings where a comparably racist statement would never be tolerated. This is the exact opposite of a few random verbal indiscretions. There are people on cable news channels saying something blatantly sexist on practically a nightly basis.

But I don't really expect you to acknowledge any of this. My posts aren't really directed at you.

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thatmakessense2:

Beth, also watch these two videos to see what Obama is going up against. I have yet to see videos like these about sexism. Most people have no problem voting for a woman. A great number more will never vote for an African-American.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8J9laUNgL4

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ODaxZSz3Awg

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thatmakessense2:

Beth-

You know Obama never said "periodically emotional". Women can take the part about "being down" any way they want, but that doesn't mean he was talking about her menustral cycle. At the time, she was going down in the polls, which is obviously what he was referring to.

If you look at the attacks during this campaign, it is quite evident who was being harsher in tone and "assertions". Remember "Shame on you..."? Remember the last "debate"?

If she weren't such a liar with no scruples I might feel bad for the treatment she has received from some (but very few) media types and the commenters on random blogs.

Ohh, boo-hoo, by the way, on all those double entendre statements you claim about the claws, etc. Has Clinton's assasination ever been joked about on a major network? I think not.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-feldman/fox-pundit-wishes-for-oba_b_103500.html

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Beth:

Snowspinner - "And I will say that, from the exit polls, the sexism does look less significant than the racism"

This is assuming that people are honestly able to identify and acknowledge their sexism as well as they acknowledge their racism. I think the constant stream of blatant sexism from self-proclaimed progressives on the cable news networks, and the vile comments on progressive blogs that receive no criticism, make it clear that this is a dubious assumption.

Anyway, I'm not denying that there are racists, and I don't blame people for being angry with them. I'm not interested in competing for which one is worse (sexism or racism) amongst the general electorate. But in the past 6 months, how much news coverage has racism gotten, and how often have charges of racism been widely reported? How does that compare to the degree to which sexism has been exposed and condemned?

How often does someone on MSNBC or CNN say something blatantly racist, and the hosts just laugh about it?

The largest failure of the Democratic party and a lot of prominent Democrats is that they've looked the other way and allowed this behavior to go unchallenged.

Even Hillary has been forced at times to tolerate it. There was the incident a few weeks ago when a union leader, in the process of endorsing Hillary, described her as someone with "testicular fortitude". She couldn't very well call him a sexist pig on the spot, so she just smiled and said "Yes, I do have fortitude... Women can have it too."

Which was probably the pitch perfect response, under the circumstances - but can anyone imagine Barack being introduced in a comparably racist way, without there being mass outrage?!?

No one would be so insensitive as to publicly "complement" him while speaking at a rally by saying he possessed some positive attribute as if he were a white man.

The available evidence is that even a lot of progressive and liberal people are simply blind to their own inherent sexism.

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thatmakessense2:

Beth-

"clean and articulate" was used earlier this season to describe Obama....

He often has been referred to as "Osama"...

I think you are selectively remembering these events, or perhaps never heard of them....

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thatmakessense2:

Beth -

You remind me of Nader voters in 2000.....they actually thought there was no difference between Gore and Bush. We saw how right they were, didn't we?

On one side, we have a party that vehemently HATES gays and has little to no women representatives and is driven to take away women's reproductive rights.

On the other side we have a party that has numerous women leaders at all levels, backs gay rights, supports Roe v Wade.

The choice is clear......sit out and let the anti-gay, anti-women, pro-war party have their way, or stand up, put your personal feelings aside and do what's right......

Who knows how much longer this war may go on, or how many new ones the Republicans would start if they got into power.....young men and women's lives are on the line and you're mad because the Democratic candidate said "sweetie"?????????

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Beth:

thatmakessense2 - '"clean and articulate" was used earlier this season to describe Obama....'

Yes, and it was very widely reported. But Biden didn't say that Obama had "caucasian cleanliness", so I'm not sure as how it is as blatant a statement. See, the "testicular fortitude" crack is pretty unambiguously an attack on all women as being creatures that are normally lacking in fortitude.

Besides, according to numerous Obama supporters (including you, based on your earlier posts), racism has been rampant and sexism non-existent.

You essentially claimed earlier in this thread that there has been no sexism from major new outlets, or really anyone else, and that those of us that think otherwise just don't know what the word means. I don't think you are quite living up to that claim.

So you should be able to easily produce lots of examples that are far worse than any I've produced. Right?

As I said before, denying the existence and pervasiveness of misogyny in this nomination contest is *not* going to win back women who support Hillary. Telling me that I'm wrong to be unhappy with the performance of the Democratic apparatus isn't very persuasive either.

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damitajo1:

Snowspinner:

The denial of gender discrimination has been acute. But exit polls show that in some states, gender certainly had a pronounced role. The media have fixated on the racial impact against Obama and on the gender benefit for Clinton -- not the racial and gender benefit for Obama. Check this out (CNN exit polls):

* In Mississippi, 7 percent of the voters said that gender was MOST important, and 64 percent of them voted for Obama; 21 percent said it was one of several factors and 70 percent of them voted for Obama.

* In Louisiana, 24 percent said that gender was important, and obama got 55% of those voters.

* In Maryland, 17 percent of voters said the country wasnt ready for a woman president, and Obama got 64 percent of those votes.

* In South Carolina, 23percent said the country wasnt ready for a woman president, and Obama got 67 percent of those votes; Edwards got 25 percent; Clinton only got 8 percent.

* In North Carolina, 7 percent of the voters said that gender was the "most" important factor, and 69 percent of those went for Obama; 15 percent said it was an important factor - and they split those. Overall in NC - 21 percent said that gender was important, and Obama got 54 percent of those votes. That was 12 percent of the vote -- THE MARGIN OF DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM!

* In Virginia 17 percent said they believed the country wasnt ready for a woman president, and Obama got 81 percent of those votes. Of those, 5 percent said the country was "definitely not ready," and Obama got 87 percent.

* In Georgia, 18 percent said that gender was important, and Obama got 54 and Edwards got 3 percent of those votes.

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damitajo1:

Beth, I am a black man, and I agree with you completely. The party has shamed itself by tolerating such venomous sexism, and now they want to use Republican bigotry to scare us into voting for Obama. Sorry. At least the Repubs. aren't hypocrites!

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Snowspinner:

damitajo1 - The only one of those to get up above the 19% racism rate in West Virginia is South Carolina, which suggests that, actually, the sexism problem has gotten less bad as the campaign has gone on.

Note also that those numbers are going to get you higher sexism rates than the numbers I used for Oregon and West Virginia, because those exit polls broke down to the level of men who said gender mattered and whites who said race matters - thus excluding the non-zero number of females who said gender mattered but voted Obama and blacks who said race mattered but voted Hillary.

So I'm still not seeing the equivalence in effect.

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Beth:

Snowspinner - "thus excluding the non-zero number of females who said gender mattered but voted Obama"

I'm pretty certain that women can be sexist towards other women (by internalizing misogyny), so I'm not sure at all how a woman in a patriarchal society saying that gender matters and then voting for Obama can be assumed to not be sexist.

Also, the gender gap between women voting for Hillary and men voting for Hillary was quite large in Oregon, so *something* is going on there.

I think you are greatly overinterpreting what can be concluded from the available data.

But all of this assumes that people like me are only concerned with whether explicit sexism is directly responsible for more voting decisions than explicit racism. As opposed to my being concerned with systemic sexism demonizing the female candidate (which probably does hurt her in the voting booth, but not because the voter is voting for Obama because they are "sexist" - they're just voting against that "ball-busting bitch", like any rational person would do). Oh, and btw, said demonization also insulting women along the way.

So I think you still don't really get the nature of my complaints.

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thatmakessense2:

[comment deleted]

____________________

Snowspinner:

Beth - my exclusion of those women was based not on a belief that none of them voted for sexist reasons, but rather on a skepticism that they all did - a problem I was less inclined to have with men who answered the same way. So it shouldn't be taken as assuming they are not sexist, but rather as declining to assume that they are. This is an inevitable result of working from the sort of data we have available - the best we can do is create a floor - at least X% of a given state was expressly racist or sexist.

I think the gender gap is a problematic metric. This is best illustrated by turning to the obvious counterpart, the race gap. The gap in any state between the white support for Obama and the black support for Obama is massive, and outstrips any gender gap. Does that mean that the difference is made up substantially by racists? Only if we take "not voting for Obama because of race" and "voting against Obama because of race" as equivalent actions, which we can't. All the high numbers among women and blacks mean is that there are women who support Clinton because she is a woman, and blacks who support Obama because he is black. But that tells us nothing about the reasoning of non-supporters except that those were not the arguments that compelled them to vote.

I agree that the data here has limitations, but it is the best tool available, I think, for analyzing what's going on. The alternative is anecdotal evidence, or an appeal to an unmeasurable systemic sexism, which seems to me equally matchable by an unmeasurable systemic racism - the effects of the Reverend Wright flap being the most straightforward place to notice this. To get a sense of what was so weird and systemically problematic about the flap, though, consider how it would have gone if a Catholic politician were attacked for some of the unpalatable views expressed by the pope. What was going on there was more than a condemnation of Wright - it was an anxiety about black Christianity.

Which is not to reject the possibility of systemic biases - I have zero doubt that they play in. Nor to reject the validity of anecdotal evidence. But I think both are poorly suited to the task of judging how much of an effect sexism or racism had on the primary process.

To my mind, it is sufficient to say that divisive, simplifying, and anti-intellectual forces that stress gut reactions and unquestioned beliefs over thought, reason, and compassion are powerful forces in this country, and even in the Democratic party. They were also powerful forces in the wrong turns that this country has taken for the past eight years.

I think, in an election between McCain and Obama, there is a clear choice that fights those forces and tries to unseat them in American culture.

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