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The Differences Between Ohio and Wisconsin

Topics: 2008 , ABC , ABC/Washington Post , Barack Obama , Exit Polls , Hillary Clinton , Quinnipiac

Why does Ohio's Democratic primary electorate seem so different from Wisconsin's? Barack Obama led narrowly in most of the surveys conducted earlier this month in Wisconsin before Tuesday's primary election, but has trailed in Ohio by margins varying from 21 to 7 points in recent weeks. What explains the difference?

Most observers consider Ohio a better state for Clinton than Texas, larger because of the large portion of downscale white voters in Ohio who have been a crucial base of support for Clinton throughout the primaries. That characteristic is one reason why the results of the Wisconsin exit polls among less-educated white voters caught my eye on Tuesday night. To recap the analysis posted by ABC News:

Less-educated whites have been a core group for Clinton; in previous primaries combined she's won those who lack a college degree by 30 points, while Obama's won college-educated whites.

In Wisconsin, however, Obama won less-educated whites, 52-47 percent, while crushing Clinton among the better-educated. That is Obama's best showing among less-educated whites in any primary to date.

I am an Ohio native, so I know that Ohio and Wisconsin are demographically and culturally more similar than they are different. I put the following table together with statistics gathered from the U.S. Census and the Almanac of Politics. Ohio has a bigger "urban" population (77.3% vs 68.3%), a larger African American population (12% vs. 6%), while Wisconsin has a slightly higher median income ($46.1K) than Ohio ($43.3K). Otherwise, the demographics of their adult populations are remarkably similar.

02-22 population.png

Of course, our real interest is the smaller population of primary voters, that sometimes varies across elections. As a percentage of eligible adults, Wisconsin's Democratic primary turnout this year (27%) was larger than four years ago (21%) and one of the largest so far this year. Ohio's Democratic primary had lower turnout in 2004 (14% of adults), partly because the nomination contest was essentially over by the time Ohio voted.

Wisconsin's primary is also more "open" than Ohio's. Wisconsin has same day registration, and both the Democratic and Republican candidates are listed on the same ballot, so Wisconsin voters can choose a primary in the secrecy of the voting booth. Ohio lacks formal party registration, so their primary is "semi-open." Registered voters who have never voted in a primary before can show up participate in the Democratic primary simply by showing up at their polling place and "publicly" requesting a Democratic ballot (those who have previously voted in Republican primaries have to "complete a statement" at the polling place that confirms their change in affiliation).

The following table shows some key comparisons of the exit polls from Ohio four years ago to the results from Wisconsin from both 2004 and 2008. Two differences stand out: African-Americans were a greater share of the Ohio electorate four years ago (18%) than in Wisconsin this week (8%), a difference that should work in Obama's favor. On the other hand, Ohio had more Democratic identifiers (72%) than Wisconsin either last week (62%) or four years ago (62%), a difference that benefits Clinton in Ohio (remember, party identification is not party registration -- the exit poll question asks: "how you usually think of yourself?"). Otherwise, the states look similar. Less-educated white voters are roughly half of each electorate as measured by the exit polls in each state.

02-22 exit poll composition.png

So why has Clinton doing so much better in Ohio polls than she did in Wisconsin on Tuesday? The answer, for the moment, appears to stem mostly from her continuing strength among Ohio's downscale white Democrats. In Wisconsin, as noted above, Obama ran slightly ahead of Clinton among less-educated white voters. However, in both the Quinnipiac poll conducted two weeks ago and the ABC/Washington Post poll done earlier this week, Clinton continues to hold an enormous lead among less-educated white voters. Obama's better overall performance on the more recent ABC/Post survey results mostly from a stronger showing among African-Americans and college educated whites (and perhaps from the typically smaller undecided percentage that by the ABC/Post survey).


02-22 vote by demos.png

These results show the potential for Obama if he can even partially replicate the inroads made into Clinton's base in Wisconsin. Some of Obama's Wisconsin success owes to the larger proportion of non-Democrats there. However, a roughly 10-point difference in the independent percentage alone cannot explain the more than 20 point difference in preference for Obama. Consider this: If Ohio's demographic composition from 2004 holds, if Obama and Clinton win their usual margins among black and Latino voters, and if Obama defeats Clinton by 10 points among college educated whites, he can win Ohio by cutting Clinton's lead among less-educated whites to 20 points.

Given the exit poll numbers from Wisconsin, that result does not seem far-fetched. What do you think? Is that result a real possibility? And putting the hypotheticals aside, why does Clinton run stronger in Ohio than in Wisconsin among downscale whites? Can she maintain that advantage through March 2?

(Thanks for Alan Abramowitz, Jon Cohen of the Washington Post and Doug Schwartz of Quinnipiac University for providing some of the data above).

 

Comments
Jeff Manson:

I think part of the difference is the timing of the elections. In nearly ever state, Obama has skyrocketed in the polls in the last week or two before the election as people start to pay attention and candidates and staff and ads start showing up. I think the OH exit polls will look a lot like the WI exit polls by the time the election happens.

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Chris Warren:

Exactly. Obama was -9 in Wisconsin in a poll done Feb 6-7, only 12 days before the election, and it wasn't an outlier, he just hadn't started his charge there yet.

In every state where Obama's put his feet on the ground and been able to campaign significantly, his share's gone upwards incredibly fast. He's mostly stuck to Texas first in this round, and as we've seen, he's already pulled into a dead heat in the polling. Ohio comes next.

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question:

Mark,
This looks to me like a matter of spending schedules. The closest poll in terms of time frame to the Post/ABC poll is the Feb 6-7 ARG poll which showed Clinton up 50-41. That looks pretty close to the 50-43 result.

I mean, he outspent her 5-1 in Wisconsin (and from everything I've heard, it should be about 3-1 in Ohio). It doesn't make any sense to compare polls from two weeks out with election day results when the spending is so lopsided. Public opinion doesn't happen in a vacuum!

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Ben:

It's not a matter of feet on the ground, it's a matter of spending. When you outspend your opponent like Obama is it's really easy to move public opinion!

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Kip:

Something else to consider. The final polls in Wisconsin put Obama up by between 5 and 10%. The final outcome had Obama up by almost 20%. This same pattern has emerged in almost every contest since Super Tuesday where Obama is beating expections of the closest polls. Why is this? I think it is a combination of factors. 1) As mentioned earlier, late minute deciders are leaning towards Obama. 2) There is a certain amount of sampling error due to undercounting the youth vote because they are hard to sample (not having land lines). Mark does a good analysis here, but I think more attention needs to be made on factoring in the youth.

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another thing:

Also, Obama's base border's Wisconsin. Wouldn't it stand to reason that he started off more popular with white working class Dems on the Illinois border than he is with their demographic counterparts in Ohio?

There does seem like there might be a statistically significant difference between the polls taken from October to December, and that Obama.

When you throw in the fact that Wisconsin shares borders and media markets with Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota which have all voted, while Ohio shares borders with Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania which haven't voted, and Michigan where no advertising was conducted, and you have very different exposure.

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Gavin:

Nope, it happens in the Garbage can we call American Media! *rimshot*

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oops:

make that second paragraph end: "... and that Obama started off stronger in WI."

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oops:

make that second paragraph end: "... and that Obama started off stronger in WI."

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except...:

that doesn't work grammatically, either. I'm giving up.

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Mike:

you Obama supporters should feel nervous b/c he won 10 victories but yet he and she are tied nationally.

It spells doom for O-bambi. Also, he's winning with Republicans and Independents, something tells me Obama is being set up.

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Michael:

One of the differences between Wisconsin and Ohio is that ini Ohio, Hillary has the backing of a popular Democratic governor (Strickland) as she does in Pennsylvania as well. In Wisconsin, Doyle backed Obama. I recognize that these endorsements don't often carry great weight, but governors who have just come off successful election campaigns (Strickland) or who have superior political organizations (Rendell) can make a difference.

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Chris S.:

Don't downscale whites in the upper Midwest tend to vote differently from downscale whites in the Ohio River Valley? I've never lived in Ohio, and I'm certainly not an expert on the region, but aren't there parts of southern Ohio that are much more like "the South" than is any part of Wisconsin? Remember that Obama has done worst among rural Southern whites. If there are parts of Ohio that are more like the rural parts of TN and VA that Obama did poorly in than any part of Wisconsin, might that account for part of the difference?

(Maybe those areas are too sparsely populated to matter. I don't know.)

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I think this may be one instance where we see how polls aren't always so relevant as explanatory devices.

Demographics aren't everything. What's more, no matter how consistently demographics may seem to track from state to state, it doesn't mean next time they'll turn out to be relevant. It's a classic mistake that even the most scientific of investigators make over and over again, correlation does not prove cause. Also, historically it is always a mistake to assume that because there is a trend, it will necessarily continue. The appearance of continuity is often much more arbitrary than people want to acknowledge.

In this case, and I may be wrong about this, but isn't Wiscsonsin pretty well known culturally to be a much more liberal, progressive, and independent state than Ohio? This could easily explain the difference between the two. It is the self-identified progressives for who Obama really is a rock star. I realize "progressive" is an elusive category to define. But this is precisely why polls and demographic data may be missing the point. To me, demographics aside, Wisconsin and Ohio do not at all seem like similar states culturally.

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Adam G:

You know, Ohio still doesn't vote for nearly two weeks. With respect to Obama's win in WI versus his deficit in OH, is it not possible that all we're noticing is that people are just beginning to pay attention?

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jr1886:

Ben,

It's not a matter of feet on the ground, it's a matter of spending. When you outspend your opponent like Obama is it's really easy to move public opinion!

I am sure Mitt Romney would have hoped this assessment to be true but this is a flawed argument that hinged on the wrong belief that money, not the candidate, won elections.

First of all, you are ignoring recent events. McCain the Republican nominee was broke and end up winning his party nomination. Conversely, Romney a multimillionaire, outspent McCain immensely only to see his hopes of getting his party nomination dashed.

Obama is winning, not because of his money, but because he is a better candidate than Hillary. Sometimes, the moment is just not right for certain candidates and this is certainly true for Hillary. She is a formidable candidate and considering her name recognition, she can spend all the money in the world she would still lose.

Don't get me wrong, Obama badly needs the money and he wouldn't be as successful without having raised enough money to build his name ID and a well orchestrated organization.

Here's the upshot, since Obama is not well known, his potential is very high and because he's such an effective candidate his numbers shoot through the roof in every state he sets foot on, and Ohio should be no different.

Wisconsin is strikingly similar to Ohio and Hillary's campaign should be very worried considering the inroad Obama has made into her core constituencies.

Why does Mark Penn still have a job? because Hillary values loyalty over competence. This guy is such an incompetent strategist, he should never get another job.

A few articles for those who wish to know about Hillary's management style

http://tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=75e41edb-784d-4f9a-ba6e-08cab93d09ae&k=81936

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/22/us/politics/22clinton.html?ref=politics

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G.G.:

Although similar in many ways across both genders, it could be significant that there are differences for women between both states. Ohio, where women have lower educational levels, does better in women's income, women-owned businesses, etc. -- whereas more women work in Wisconsin than in almost any state but work for less than in most. (See IWRPG Status of Women in the states reports.) Wisconsin also is among the worst for progress of women in politics, one of the last states with a woman in Congress (1999), one of the last states where a woman never has been governor, and is bad by other indicators.

Most important, though, may be the differences in the open vs. semi-primary processes. I've posted before here (to howls, so I won't do so again) considerable qualitative and anecdotal indicators of how massive the crossover was in Wisconsin from GOP to Dem races. This has since been analyzed by the local media as well; I do not make up the makeup of solid-red counties that went two-to-one for Dems.

Howls may arise again at this suggestion of just how confounding this can be in attempting to poll for this -- but consider this: In 1960, Wisconsin's primary launched JFK on his way -- although he then lost the state in the fall. And four years later, when there was not much of a race on the GOP side, the same state voted second place in the Dem primary to George Wallace. And a lot of those voters still are here in Wisconsin, one of the most hyper-segregated states in the country (more than 95% of all African Americans live in one congressional district, for example).

It does not sound like this level of gaming the primary can occur in Ohio -- but then, who knows? Thanks, though, for this; I've looked a lot at the census data for the two states but had less info on the different primary processes.

Btw, points to the poster who also noted the considerable overlap in media markets with surrounding states where advertising already occurred (not just tv ads but also flyers and the like in Michigan, where tv ads were not to be done); parts of Wisconsin are more pro-Vikings or even pro-Bears than they are pro-Packers; many students from other states are in Wisconsin, with its extraordinarily easy registration requirements, etc. -- especially many Illinoisans from just across the border, which also was significant in Iowa.

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Ellis Island:

Could it be that whites in Ohio are slightly different ethnically from whites in Wisconsin. Is there any data to show that Ohio's white population has a higher percentage of Polish and Italian and other early 20th century immigration, while Wisconsin has a more "19th century" white ethnic makeup of Danish, German, Scotch extraction. The former may be more shaped by an urban experience that included at least some degree of racial tension. The latter, by contrast, probably has a more rural outlook that is marked by an absence of such tensions, and is therefore more progressive on race.

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eh?:

The only difference in Ohio is 1 they are under counting independents and they are giving clinton 30 percent of the AA vote (why the heck?) 2) Ohioans hate Hillary so much more. OH and Strickland isn't loved, he ran against a fascist idiot, after we had the least popular gov. of any state of all time (13 percent).

Believe me the Catholics, especially in the Cleveland Metro think it is God's calling for them to destroy Hillary. Oh one more thing, there's been a call, for white people to actually play w/pollsters and deny their support of Obama when called (to get rid of the notion of the Bradley effect). The young-ins might be messing w/your polls...

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roy:

Chris,

Obama actually did better among less-educated whites in VA than in almost any previous primary (I believe he got 42%). I think the terrain may have changed since Super Tuesday.

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Ben:

response to jr1886:

You're right, I should have included a caveat that it's easy to move public opinion when you outspend your opponent 5-1 if you have a likable candidate with a good message. (Romney was a terrible candidate with no consistent message whatsoever!)

I'm not convinced that Obama is that much more likable or has that much better a message (though I would give him a slight advantage in both category). He has run a much smarter campaign which has allowed him to outspend Hillary by huge margins in terms of voter contact. That's ultimately what has led to the huge movement in the polls.

It's important to note that this isn't money raised that I'm talking about. Hillary's campaign had the opportunity to spend almost as much as Obama (at least until this month), but as we've leaned today, she hasn't because she's spent far more on Penn and other consultants than she has on the airwaves or on the ground.

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I am also an Ohio native and have spent time in Wisconsin since my parents moved to Chicago's northern suburbs.

One unfortunate but true comparison - there seems to be a lot more bigotry in Ohio than in Wisconsin.

My birthplace, Cleveland, has become a city filled with racially-motivated gang violence. Cincinnati and Dayton (U.D. graduate) were horribly racist when I lived there.

I haven't had that same experience in Wisconsin.

That being said, I was one of the over 3000 - 5000 new Democrats who registered in order to participate up here in the Alaska Dem. Caucus - that's after a lifetime spent as an Independent. Most of us clearly did so for Obama, as Alaska went for Obama 75% compared to the 25% for Clinton.

I think that when it comes to polls, all bets are off as a result of the swarm of new (unpolled) blood coming into the party.

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Chris S.:

-----
"Could it be that whites in Ohio are slightly different ethnically from whites in Wisconsin. Is there any data to show that Ohio's white population has a higher percentage of Polish and Italian and other early 20th century immigration, while Wisconsin has a more "19th century" white ethnic makeup of Danish, German, Scotch extraction."
------

Wisconsin definitely has a much larger number of ethnic Germans (and more ethnic Scandinavians as well). 2000 census says that 43% of Wisconsinites identified their ancestry as German, second highest number in the country to North Dakota. Ohio only has 25% identifying as German.

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"Obama actually did better among less-educated whites in VA than in almost any previous primary (I believe he got 42%). I think the terrain may have changed since Super Tuesday."
-----

How many of those less educated whites were in NOVA, and how many were in the rest of the state? NOVA is just so different from the rest of the South, that I'm not sure how much you can infer from the fact that he did well there, even among less educated whites.

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Cade:

This is a non-issue.

Three reasons for the difference in the two states:

1) Time
2) Time
and
3)Time

Time for campaigning, time for ads to play, time for people to get involved (not everyone has nothing to do but follow politics) etc, etc.

Only true disadvantage for Obama that will keep it close is that Wisconsin had same-day registration whereas Ohio and Texas do not.

Look for the next Ohio poll - it is going to have Obama inching closer to Hillary.

Like sand through the hour-glass, so are the days of Hillary's campaign.....

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Coltrane:

Not a much better message?? LMAO...Just look to her lack of message...trying to change it when the "ready from Day 1" does not resonate at this moment in time.

She's just not that great a candidate...her political skills are marginal at best.

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BitJam:

Mark,

You said:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
African-Americans were a greater share of the Ohio electorate four years ago (18%) than in Wisconsin this week (8%), a difference that should work in Obama's favor.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't think this is correct. I remember seeing a graph of how well Obama did in states based on the percentage of African-American voters. The curve was bathtub shaped. Obama did the worst in between. One theory to explain this was that he did well in states with very low African-American populations because they had very little racial tension. In states with high African-American populations, their support greatly outweighed the tension negatives. This explains why he did the worst in the in-between states.

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Joe:

Ohio has a whole lot of "cell-phone only" first time voters that haven't been included in the polling just waiting in their college dorm rooms to vote for Obama.

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kamajii:

Wow, where'd these folks come from??
What an intelligent, reasoned, insightful thread.
A pleasure to read each and every post here.

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eh?:

The whole doesn't do well in AA/White states was kinda blown away by VA..... Can't we just all say he does well in most states (states w/out southern baptist).

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Erik:

"The final polls in Wisconsin put Obama up by between 5 and 10%. The final outcome had Obama up by almost 20%. This same pattern has emerged in almost every contest since Super Tuesday where Obama is beating expections of the closest polls."

It's the ground game. Obama has put together a ground operation and GOTV effort in every state. Clinton, on the other hand, expected to have the nomination wrapped up by Super Tuesday. There was no game plan after that.

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Mark Lindeman:

@BitJam: yeah, you saw that graph, but the Afr-Am proportion was hopelessly confounded with caucus vs. primary states. Limit the analysis to primary states and the "U" relationship goes away (unless maybe one counts Obama's 0% in Michigan).

There may be a racial tension story here, but that kind of analysis doesn't seem likely to get at it.

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Coltrane said:

This is a non-issue.

As a great-granddaughter of two of those Polish immigrants, I have to disagree.

Spend some time in Cleveland. You'll see that while racial boundaries may not be the case in many cities, you can still get the crap beaten out of you (or shot) if you are the wrong race in the wrong place.

I have a black daughter. The Ohio relatives are the ones who had the biggest problem with it.

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Kathleen:

The urban core of Cincinnati is fairly progressive, actually. The ex-urbs/suburbs of southwestern Cincinnati are like another country. Butler, Warren, Clermont counties have spawned the likes of Jean Schmidt and have been bastions of Bush support. (Warren County is the site of the famous "Waren County Lockdown" from the 2004 election) I think the Cincinnati area as a whole is racist and reactionary and just plain mean. One of the top rated talk radio jocks wrote a parody of a Beatles' song about an African American man who had been killed by a policeman. I'm rambling here. Forget about Obama, Clinton or McCain. The troglodytes around here will probably write in Bush.

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hardheaded liberal:

I am amazed that NONE of the previous comments mention the fact that the Teamsters and the United Food & Commercial Workers union endorsed Obama after most or all of the Ohio poll had been completed! This fact does not explain the differences between the Ohio polls and Wisconsin vote this week - that, I think, is explained in Cade's post: Time, Time, and Time for Obama's rallies and ads to introduce him to the Ohio public.

On the other hand, the union endorsements of Obama will certainly will come into play in the dynamics of decisions by many white voters as the Ohio campaign comes down to the wire. Come on, folks - don't any of you think about who offers word of mouth enforcement for voters who may be undecided or wavering? Who gets the voters out to the polls? Sixty thousand Teamster households in Ohio don't hurt!


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Artie:

Chicago is the NYC of the midwest. It is tTHE big city for a multi-state area. Iowans, Wisconisn people, look up to Chicago.

Iowa and Wisconsin border northern Illinois. Both are an easy drive to Chicago.

Obama is FROM CHICAGO. He has been a star in Chicago for more than five years.

Ohio is not close to Chicago.

End of difference.

The stuff about Ohio being more bigoted than Wisconsin or Iowa is bull. The difference between Ohio and the states bordering Chicago is the distance to Chicago. Obama has a home field advantage in the states bordering Chicago.

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Daniel T:

Chris S writes: "Don't downscale whites in the upper Midwest tend to vote differently from downscale whites in the Ohio River Valley?"

Yes they do and I think this is a critical point. The money isssue is important too but I think it remains to be seen whether that translates into more votes in all cases. I also think that Texas=Obama country is way overrated. The race will be close there.

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youngandumb:

obama is goinst to be ours presidence,And with the whites peoples help its goins to be easy.ours movement has finaly started.

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ABCD:

Obama's base border's (sic) Wisconsin. Wouldn't it stand to reason that he started off more popular with white working class Dems on the Illinois border than he is with their demographic counterparts in Ohio?

That comment was written by someone who's clearly never set foot in Wisconsin, where the sentiment against Illinois is comparable to, say, Maine's sentiment against Massachusetts or Oregon and Washington's sentiment against California.

Iowans, Wisconisn people, look up to Chicago.

Ha ha ha ha!!

Cincinnati and Dayton (U.D. graduate) were horribly racist when I lived there.

I haven't had that same experience in Wisconsin.

Whoever wrote that hasn't spent much time in Milwaukee, one of the five most segregated cities in the United States.

"Could it be that whites in Ohio are slightly different ethnically from whites in Wisconsin. Is there any data to show that Ohio's white population has a higher percentage of Polish and Italian and other early 20th century immigration, while Wisconsin has a more "19th century" white ethnic makeup of Danish, German, Scotch extraction."

What, Germans are less racist? Are you nuts? I was born and raised in Milwaukee and am of German ancestry on both sides, first generation. To argue that Germans are somehow less prejudiced against blacks than other Americans would be funny if it weren't so blindly stupid.

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ABCD:

Reposting in part, to correct the implied attribution:

Cincinnati and Dayton (U.D. graduate) were horribly racist when I lived there.

I haven't had that same experience in Wisconsin.

Whoever wrote that hasn't spent much time in Milwaukee, one of the five most segregated cities in the United States. And to add: Milwaukee has, for many decades, had one of the most racist police departments in the country. It has eased off recently, but it's by no means corrected.

The racial tensions in Milwaukee are high and growing higher all the time. The idea that Wisconsin is more racially harmonious than Ohio is ridiculous.

What makes Ohio more politically conservative than Wisconsin is the evangelicals in the southern part of the state. Southern Ohio might as well be Dixie in many places. That's something you don't have in Wisconsin, but the idea that white Methodists, Catholics, and Lutherans in Wisconsin aren't racist is outlandish.

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Elrod :

Three answers to this:

1) Obama has not started to campaign heavily in Ohio yet. Downscale white voters who don't pay much attention to the campaign haven't been sold on Obama yet. Money and good media will change that.

2) Union endorsements have recently come in for Obama and they will help to close this gap significantly.

3) Ohio is not identical to Wisconsin. There are Appalachian counties in the Ohio River area that are less amenable to Obama - partly because of racism and partly out of loyalty to Clinton. Another factor is that with a higher black population in Ohio, there is a higher proportion of white racists. Sorry, but that's a pattern in many states. Outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin is lily-white. In Ohio, several large AND SMALL cities have sizable black populations and lots of "racial tension". Obama can probably overcome a lot of that as these voters see him more as a Bill Cosby than a Jesse Jackson. But there are some barriers to it.

The higher black population should make up for the higher racist white population and the rest of the story should equal that of Wisconsin. Obama will win big once he campaigns.

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G.G.:

As Ohio has twice the proportion of African Americans in its population, and as they are distributed in several areas of the state, and as I have discussed this with Ohio relatives -- I don't think it can be said that Ohio is more racist than Wisconsin, by any means.

Again, more than 95% of African Americans live in one congressional district. One. And they are segregated into two neighborhoods in that one, in Milwaukee -- ranked as one of the most segregated cities in the country. And it is an integrationist Eden compared to the rest of the state, the region, or even Milwaukee County.

And consider that less than 100 years ago, only a few thousand African Americans resided in Wisconsin, while Ohio has a long history of communities of color, with so much of its border just across the river from the South -- while Wisconsin, or specifically Milwaukee, experienced what is called the Late Great Migration. And Milwaukee was called the "Selma of the North" in the 1960s by national media.

Ohio has its problems, but those come from looking a lot more like America.

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BitJam:

@Mark Lindeman,
Thanks for the clarification of the graph I saw.

@everyone,
I'm sorry to see some of the discussion descend to speculation about states being more/less racist. If I helped cause that, I apologize.

I had been wondering about Obama's "working class gap" on Super Tuesday. Along with many others, I wondered if it was due to a communication gap. Perhaps Obama was getting through to the upscale voters more rapidly. The 2/19 Gallop poll seemed to confirm this theory. Particularly when the voters were in graduated groups such as by age or by education:

Age ......... Obama Gain
----------------------------------
18 -- 34 ..... 6%
35 -- 54 ..... 16%
55+ .......... 12%

Education ........ Obama Gain
----------------------------------------
High School or less .. 15%
Some College ......... 18%
College Graduate ..... 6%

Note that Obama made the most headway in the middle group which tends to confirm that his problem on ST was a delay rather than a ceiling.

Another difference between Wisconsin and Ohio that hasn't yet been mentioned is that Ohio is much bigger than Wisconsin and Clinton tends to do better in the bigger states. I don't know why this is. I wonder if some of it may be due to "inertia" from her name recognition. Or maybe it is because those states have a better developed "party machine".


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hardheaded liberal:

Why did the ABC model use a turnout model with only 16% African American in the likely voters and 50% no-college degree whites. If we apply the distribution of voters from the 2004 exit polls to the percentages of support for Obama reported by ABC in each grouping, Obama's total vote is 45.24% - at least 2% better than the total support reported by ABC!

A very conservative turnout assumption, more likely than 2004 turnout, would be 21% (or more) African American, 4% (maybe more) Hispanic, 45% no-college-degree white, and 30% college grad white. That turnout model produces 46% overall for Obama, on the % support in each ethnic/education group -- not 43%.

Using that conservative turnout distribution, if support for Obama increased 5% in each group - or 5% overall from any combination - before the election, Obama would win Ohio.

With two weeks of Obama spending over $700,000 a day to increase his visibility and recognition is Obama's overall support going to increase by 5%? I'd make that bet - if I were a betting man.

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NB:

Yet another (version of the same) explanation:

If you regress the Obama-Clinton margins by state (as of the day after Super Tuesday) against a few demographic variables and then predict the margins for Ohio and Wisconsin, you get Obama ahead in Wisconsin by 3 points and Clinton ahead in Ohio by 10. Not a perfect prediction for Wisconsin, of course, but it shows that the demographics alone suggest strongly different outcomes in the two states. (The independent variables I used were % black, % hispanic, average age, average income, average education, population, and whether it was a caucus.)

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hardheaded liberal:

Mark,

A post on another blog commented that the characterization of "downscale" whites is demeaning and disrespectful. I am sure you mean no disrespect, but I agree that "downscale" is not a respectful description.

If the pro-Clinton category is $50,000 or lower household income (one category in the exit polls), this group might be described fairly accurately as working class and lower middle class. If the category is voters without a higher education (college) degree, I'd suggest that the best description is "voters without a college degree," but "working class and lower middle class" would fit reasonably well.

What do you think, Mark? Do you agree or disagree that writers need to find a replacement for the "downscale" descriptor?

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Mito:

Ohio has a whole lot of "cell-phone only" first time voters that haven't been included in the polling just waiting in their college dorm rooms to vote for Obama.
///
It does, but a good number of them are in for an unpleasant surprise when they get to the polls. Ohio has some of the most backward voter identification laws I've ever seen. (My own registration has mysteriously vanished from the Lorain County Board of Elections files for some reason.) And if you show up the polls, even registered to vote, you need to show proof of residency. Usually a driver's license in Ohio will do, or an energy bill or something. But attending college from out of state- bad news.

Really the requirements here seem designed to keep college kids from voting (and after the last secretary of state whose gotten an invitation to visit the House Judiciary Committee....maybe they were designed to do that.)

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response:

to ABCD:

Not only have I set foot in Wisconsin, I've worked two elections there.

Bordering states' rivalries aside, we're talking about a likable Democratic politician and a Democratic primary electorate, not the population as a whole. Working class white Democratic primary voters on the Illinois border (think Janesville) simply have had more exposure to Obama. In polling terms, he would start off with a higher name ID and favorable rating with those voters in Illinois than he would with their demographic counterparts in Ohio.

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Mark Lindeman:

@NB: Interesting. I have a model in terms of caucus, %black, % Hispanic, % Catholic, youth share of Kerry vote (poblano's idea), % college degrees, and per capita income, excluding home and no-campaign states. It gives Obama better prospects in OH and TX than in WI, largely because WI has more Catholics and had fewer young Kerry voters.

This sort of exercise has so many problems, I certainly don't offer it as a prediction. It is just one way of exploring possibilities. Also training myself to type on my OLPC.

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Pankaj Prakash:

"African-Americans were a greater share of the Ohio electorate four years ago (18%) than in Wisconsin this week (8%), a difference that should work in Obama's favor."

Mark,
Good post, however, according to CNN exit poll data for 2004 African-Americans were 14% of Ohio's Dem primary. Might want to correct that. In 2000 it was 17%. Thanks.

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/epolls/OH/

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/primaries/OH/poll.dem.html


____________________

Pankaj Prakash:

"African-Americans were a greater share of the Ohio electorate four years ago (18%) than in Wisconsin this week (8%), a difference that should work in Obama's favor."

Mark,
Good post, however, according to CNN exit poll data for 2004 African-Americans were 14% of Ohio's Dem primary. Might want to correct that. In 2000 it was 17%. Thanks.

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/epolls/OH/

http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/primaries/OH/poll.dem.html


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Anonymous:

Bitjam, what we see from Wisconsin is that Obama's only "problem" was not a delayed surge on Super Tuesday -- it was that those states didn't have the advantage of Wisconsin's extraordinarily open primary. The Obama voters you see in your data include so many crossovers who simply won't be Dem voters in November. Nor can so many be Dem voters in Ohio, with only a "semi-open" primary. Jsonline.com has useful analyses showing the enormous extent of the crossover vote.

And note that the turnout in Wisconsin was not that much higher, overall, than in previous primaries; it's a state that traditionally has very high turnout. And turnout of the youth vote wasn't that much higher, either; it's a state that topped the country in youth turnout in 2006 and was second in 2004.

Yet Clinton, even with her far lower vote totals, still got a third again as many votes as did Kerry, the first-place finisher in 2004. She got more votes than Edwards and Dean, the second- and third-place finishers combined in 2004. Or put it this way: In the closest state last time, a state with 50% GOP voters then (and often in the majority in state-level races), Clinton got more votes than did ALL of the GOP contenders this week, combined.

All this is to say, again, that the data on Wisconsin with its massive crossover votes may not be useful as a predictor for a state where that will be much harder to accomplish. And a state so much larger that it will not be as prone to the Obama ground game of reaching a lot of voters that worked in very small states.

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BitJam:

The numbers I posted were not from the Wisconsin exit polls. They were from the results of national Gallop polls that were published on 2/19. I'm sorry I was unclear.

There is no doubt that Obama has faired better (so far) in the races that followed Super Tuesday. He must be making headway in some demographics. The Gallop results gave us a glimpse of where he is making the most improvement. Those results match the predictions of a "communication gap" model.

This model could have been called "the more he campaigns the better he does". But clearly there must be some limit to this because no one can get greater than 100% of the vote.

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Bob Evans:

It doesn't look good for Billary! Expect a 10-14 lead for Obama in the next polls. She tanked in the debate. He ruled the day. When does Billary get a fat lady on tap to start singing?!

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James:

Ben, spending isn't everything. If it were, we'd be looking at Romney as the Republican nominee. You can't discount Obama's charisma in turning out voters.

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James:

Ben, spending isn't everything. If it were, we'd be looking at Romney as the Republican nominee. You can't discount Obama's charisma in turning out voters.

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Beth:

The main point is that party regulars vote Clinton. Independents and crossover Republicans tend to vote Obama. Ohio has a less open primary, and you will see fewer crossovers casting their Hate Hillary votes.

Ohio has been hit harder than Wisconsin in the coming recession. The Rust Belt feels it before the rest of us do, and I'll bet that's the reason Clinton is doing better there.

I do, however, object to the "less educated", "downscale" voter words used to describe Hillary supporters. She gets a core class no one ever wants to talk about... single mothers who are intelligent but working hard to feed their kids, and that's one demographic that doesn't think of itself as "downscale". (I'm not one myself, btw).

Besides, everyone who knows anything about demographics knows there are more WalMart voters than upper elite in the country. Any other election, you would be pointing to that demographic and saying that's the winner.

Reminds me of the "firewall" comments prevalent. Obama builds a coaltion, but Hillary has a "firewall" --- a coalition of people who somehow have simply not been convinced to vote for Obama, not a coalition of people who like Hillary. Misleading, but I have watched the media darling frenzy for Obama with fascination.

____________________

Ben:

James,
If you read down a little further, you can see my response. Spending isn't everything, but it is a necessary component to see a 25-30 point swing in three weeks. Obama has a charisma and message edge on Clinton, but it if you think that it's large enough to have led to that kind of swing in that short a time period, you're just fooling yourself. Not every voter is as plugged in as you or I, and as a result charisma requires a paid media edge (and a ground game edge, which in this case was at least as important) to saturate the collective consciousness.

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G.G.:

Response -- I think awareness along the Illinois border in Wisconsin makes sense, but see the results in Kenosha County, the one on the border due north of Chicago (increasingly a residence for Chicagoans, too, called almost a suburb). It went for Obama but by one of the closest margins of counties that did so in Wisconsin.

It is a union area, though -- so that also might suggest, conversely, an indicator for Ohio, and even where they ought to know Obama best? (Btw, the next county north, between Kenosha and Milwaukee Counties, is Racine -- and it has an AA population and went more as Milwaukee did.)

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response:

G.G.
Good point, but check out Rock County. It's a heavily white, working class community -- Janesville -- and Obama won 57-42.

My guess is that Kenosha would have been a lot better for Obama if Clinton hadn't campaigned so hard there. Her biggest press hit for Wisconsin campaigning was her rally at the Brat Stop.

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response:

G.G.
Good point, but check out Rock County. It's a heavily white, working class community -- Janesville -- and Obama won 57-42.

My guess is that Kenosha would have been a lot better for Obama if Clinton hadn't campaigned so hard there. Her biggest press hit for Wisconsin campaigning was her rally at the Brat Stop.

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MikeKC:

I think Chris S. is closest to the mark. See this map from OpenLeft showing the vote so far by county:

http://img524.imageshack.us/my.php?image=counties219sg6.gif

Hillary has done very well in the border states and sourthern Ohio will hold for her.

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John - Spokane, WA:

Amazing how the polls mean nothing UNLESS they show Obama in the lead. The polls (Overall) Have been fairly close from the start. Speaking of your "Golden Boy", I would like to hear what you Obamanites have to say about his recent Missed statement on the Military not equiping their Solidiers? He just lost all hopes of gaining any credibility with the Armed Forces. OH, how bout refusing to go to New Orleans this past Week as Hillary has done to address some of their desperate issues ? I forgot, that primary is overwith and they already voted for his promise of Change, so they are of no value to him now. I like this one the best though; when asked if he would meet with Cuba he said "I wouldn't set any PRECONDITIONS" and guess what ? He proceeded to cite "PRECONDITIONS within the same breathe that would have to be met before he would meet with them ! Where I come from thats called talkin outa both sides of your mouth ! Come on people start paying attention ! this guy is so full of it I just wanna go find a corner and throw up !

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Joe:

John-

Give it up already. Your numerous lies in your post speak volumes about you and your candidate. You are delusional and are grasping at straws - just like your precious billary getting enraged today at month old mailers that are in fact TRUE! Hilarious! Get it HIL-arious?!?! I crack myself up.


Anyway, see if you can get a refund on your donation to Billary. That is unless she spent it already.......oops, too late. Sorry, sucks to be you I guess.

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s.b.:

Geography. Ohio is North East. Wisconsin is midwest.

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roy:

Gee, we got so far before the inane woofing started.

Did anybody see the 'poll' by something called Decision Analyst? Apparently the sample was chosen from among members of some online organization. Not surprisingly, the results favored Obama, but what impresses me is that places like politicalwire.com reported it as though it were a real poll.

Beth, what is the correct term for the difference between people who went to college and people who didn't? My parents were very smart people, but when they talked about ensuring that their kids got the education they didn't have a change to get, they meant college.

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Eric:

First of all, wow, what a great board. It's nice to be rid of the more obnoxious partisans from both camps - excellent job everyone!

Second, I've travelled extensively through Illinois and Wisconsin, and it's a huge mistake to consider the shared border significant at all. This smacks of one of Penn's absurd excuses. People in the Fox Valley (for example) could care less about Chicago, and are generally pretty suspicious of Chicago politicians - if anything, it's a big negative. The regionalism is intense. Similarly, downstate IL voters are extremely different from Chicago area voters.

If geographical closeness were anything to consider, then Indiana should be a lock for Obama. And by all indications, it's not.


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Eric:

Oh yeah, my complements to the contributors exclude John. Shall we keep the partisan hackery to a minimum, please?

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Eric:

Oh yeah, my complements to the contributors exclude John. Shall we keep the partisan hackery to a minimum, please?

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Eric:

Oh yeah, my complements to the contributors exclude John. Shall we keep the partisan hackery to a minimum, please?

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Anonymous:

"Oh yeah, my complements to the contributors exclude John"

What about "Bob Evans?"

"He" seems among the worst on the boards.

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response:

Eric
My original point is that the familiarity with Obama was responsible for a slightly better starting point in Wisconsin, not the entire victory. Averaging the three polls in each state taken from October through December, we get:

Wisconsin
39.3 - 26.6

Ohio
44.7 - 18.3

Before any ads had been run Obama was stronger in Wisconsin. I'm not saying that everyone in the Fox Valley cares about Obama, but remember that Obama has been a surrogate and fundraiser for Wisconsin candidates in 2004 and 2006. I remember in 2004 he did a rally for Kerry in Milwaukee once it was clear that he wasn't in any trouble. That's the kind of familiarity that I'm talking about. It also may have helped in building a local base and organization which translated into a head start.

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ABCD:

see the results in Kenosha County, the one on the border due north of Chicago (increasingly a residence for Chicagoans, too, called almost a suburb). It went for Obama but by one of the closest margins of counties that did so in Wisconsin.

check out Rock County. It's a heavily white, working class community -- Janesville -- and Obama won 57-42.

These results show that Obama's supposed "familiarity" based on his being from the South Side of Chicago played neither for him or against him in Wisconsin. If anything, my upbringing in Wisconsin would tell me that Illinois roots would work against someone there, but the reality would seem to be that Obama is viewed not as an Illinois politician but as a national figure.

Ohio is North East. Wisconsin is midwest.

By utterly no stretch of the imagination is Ohio a northeastern state. It is a Midwestern state. Now, it's true that the Midwest is a huge and diverse geography that encompasses the Upper Great Lakes, the Great Plains and the Corn Belt, but no one extends the Northeast west of Pennsylvania unless maybe they picked some of those wacky mushrooms off of a cowpie somewhere.

People in the Fox Valley (for example) could care less about Chicago, and are generally pretty suspicious of Chicago politicians - if anything, it's a big negative.

The Fox Valley's relationship to Chicago is closely similar to Maine's relationship with Massachusetts. Happy to take the tourists' money, but just as happy to mutter under their breath about "Massholes" and "the Illinois crowd."

Obama's strength in Wisconsin's Democratic primary can be traced to Wisconsin's history of supporting primary candidates perceived to be liberal, "maverick," or both. Ohio doesn't have that strain, plus it has what are essentially a bunch of Dixiecrats in its southern counties.

Even with that, barring (?) the sort of fraud seen in '00 and '04, I think Obama is going to outperform his polling numbers there. Oh, and so you all know, I maxed out ($4,600) for Clinton in the primaries. But I'm not stupid enough to ignore what's plain to see.

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THE General:

"sort of fraud seen in '00 and '04"

coupled with

"I'm not stupid enough to ignore what's plain to see."

Seems that you are stupid enough to see what isn't there, like voter fraud. Kerry lost because Americans did not want to sell our foreign policy to the French. Deal.

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kemurph:

I think the couple of comments here that Ohio will just catch up to WI as Obama campaigns more lack some clarity of thought. There is a different situation in OH than existed in other states where Obama came from -20... Clinton has 50+ percent of the vote share already. When Obama has come from behind before, it was starting at 37-17 or something like that, with many undecided who came into his camp. Changing 55-35 to a win is a lot tougher, though not impossible. Changing people's minds is more difficult than just convincing those on the fence to come your way. He does seem to have netted four points or so.

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G.G.:

Re is Ohio in the Midwest? The U.S. Census says so, and for polling purposes, most useful is to go with its mapping. The reasoning is historical; Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory that became the five Great Lakes states. (The rest of the Midwest is comprised of the seven Great Plains states that were the Louisana Purchase.)

Does Ohio fit the Eastern preconceptions (or misconceptions) of the Midwest? Maybe not, but neither do many Midwestern states. (See Madison, et al., Heartland and other studies.)

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s.b.:

If you think about the economies of these two states, Ohio is definately north east, ie industry. Wisconsin is midwest ie cheese heads, aka farmers. Ohio is definately much more North east and associated with the industrial economies of the great lakes basin. Look you have the South, cotton and tobacco, historically. The North east, industry. The west ranching and mining and later luxury crops like citrus and produce, and the Mid West, the bread basket. Ohio is much more associated with the north eastern economies, and honestly their tv markests, news, travel etc. would all be associated with the north east not the mid west as Wisconsin's would.

Sure its a simple distinction but they don't call people from Ohio, cheeseheads. I think that means something. I have driven through Wisonsin on my way to Minnesota and it is absolutely buccolic, lush green pastoral. Can't say the same for Ohio.

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s.b.:

If you think about the economies of these two states, Ohio is definately north east, ie industry. Wisconsin is midwest ie cheese heads, aka farmers. Ohio is definately much more North east and associated with the industrial economies of the great lakes basin. Look you have the South, cotton and tobacco, historically. The North east, industry. The west ranching and mining and later luxury crops like citrus and produce, and the Mid West, the bread basket. Ohio is much more associated with the north eastern economies, and honestly their tv markests, news, travel etc. would all be associated with the north east not the mid west as Wisconsin's would.

Sure its a simple distinction but they don't call people from Ohio, cheeseheads. I think that means something. I have driven through Wisonsin on my way to Minnesota and it is absolutely buccolic, lush green pastoral. Can't say the same for Ohio.

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s.b.:

sorry about the double post. i got an error message the first time.

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B.T.:

Quote: "It spells doom for O-bambi. Also, he's winning with Republicans and Independents, something tells me Obama is being set up."

I'm an independent Ohio voter and I'd love Obama to win. To me, that makes the real election between two decent candidates: Obama and McCain. If the Democrats offer up Clinton, I vote for McCain. If the Democrats offer up Obama then I will face a tough choice in November.

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Bob Evans:

"Kerry lost because Americans did not want to sell our foreign policy to the French."

GENERAL-

Your rather idiotic posts thus far make me wonder if you are at the right message board. Are you sure you don't want to be on Fox News or the like? You have NO credibility here. Racists who support Bush are just sad. No one thinks you make an iota of sense either. It is rather pathetic that you continually waste your time posting hate speech in addition to your ignorant and nonsensical comments.

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Jerry:

kemurph said:

"I think the couple of comments here that Ohio will just catch up to WI as Obama campaigns more lack some clarity of thought. There is a different situation in OH than existed in other states where Obama came from -20... Clinton has 50+ percent of the vote share already. When Obama has come from behind before, it was starting at 37-17 or something like that, with many undecided who came into his camp. Changing 55-35 to a win is a lot tougher, though not impossible. Changing people's minds is more difficult than just convincing those on the fence to come your way. He does seem to have netted four points or so."

-- The main point you don't seem to realize is that the Obama campaign is not changing many people's minds about Clinton (although there are some who switch sides), what they are doing is enlarging the sample size of those who participate in a primary/caucus.


Even in Wisconsin, there were polls that showed Hillary at 50 or near 50. It was wiped out on voting day by MASSIVE TURNOUT for Obama. That is the difference. I live on the Wisconsin border, so I know how freakin cold it was on voting day. You had to be enthusiastic and determined to vote that day. Those type of people vote for Obama, not Clinton. She just doesn't inspire to be THAT driven to vote for her. That is why the polls showed her even or nearly even all the way up to election day there. People supported her, they just didn't vote for her.

Same problem will be evident in Ohio. No matter what the polls say, who do you think is going to come out in MASS for their candidate? The polls have been under-polling certain groups as well (AA and students). Think about this - Hillary and Obama were nearly tied in Wisconsin, but Obama won by nearly 20 points. 20 POINTS!! That is an unreal margin of error. If Republicans were involved, I might contemplate voter fraud of some sort. The reasons I noted above though, explain this difference.

The reason why Ohio will be closer is due to the following:

There is no same day registration like there was in Wisconsin - therefore only registered voters as of Feb 19 can vote. This is a major disadvantage to Obama - unless he had some massive voter registration drive that I don't know about. So many people who hear his message for the first time this week and want to vote for him will not be able to unless they had already been registered. Who does this affect? Students and African Americans - two populations who are notoriously under-registered and under-vote. These two groups happen to be key demographics in Obama's run thus far.


That is why he will not win by 20 points in Ohio. Depending on how Hillary's recent hysterics play out - I find it desperate but who knows how the good people of Ohio will interpret it - I see a 1 to 5 point win for Obama.

I also see Obama winning Texas - due to their strange rules and primary/caucus system.

Again, this will hinge on the interpretation by voters of recent events and future debates. After two Bush terms, I will never again underestimate voter's capacity for ignorance.


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ABCD:

Kerry lost because Americans did not want to sell our foreign policy to the French. Deal.

Gore lost in '00 because the Republicans stole FL and OH, and Kerry lost in '04 for the same reason.

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G.G.:

Jerry, I thought you gave useful insights here (but for not noting significant evidence of GOP crossover in Wisconsin) until your line about a Senator having "hysterics." Too bad, but your bias now is cause to discount so much else.

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Jerry:

Megadittoes! (sorry, I just *had* to!)

You are absolutely correct when you talk about numbers and not percents. That's what most people forget - the percentages are made up of people who traipsed out to the polls to register their voice.

Politicians who forget this lose, and pundits who forget this look silly.

Obama has been successful because he brought out the bodies, period. This isn't a contest of policy or really even personality. It's a contest of enthusiasm, and Obama is winning on that score. Make it a caucus, where enthusiasm is even more important, and you can see it in stark relief.

Why? That's another topic. What we can see now is that it works. Will it keep working? Let's see. It does suggest a strong negative campaign from the Republicans to temper that enthusiasm, but it will have to be carefully crafted. I don't yet know how that will work, but I know what to look for. That's what makes for good punditry - actually predicting the future.

You got everyone off to a good start. Let's see how many people understand what you're saying.

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G.G.:

Jerry, I thought you gave useful insights here (but for not noting significant evidence of GOP crossover in Wisconsin) until your line about a Senator having "hysterics." Too bad, but your bias now is cause to discount so much else.

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THE General:

"Gore lost in '00 because the Republicans stole FL and OH, and Kerry lost in '04 for the same reason."

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Mommie!!!!!!

What will your excuse be in 2008? PMS or Kool-aid overdose?

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BitJam:

Erik Hare,
You made some very good points, especially your point about enthusiasm. I too expect strong negative attacks from the Republicans. I would have predicted these regardless of who the Democratic nominee was.

But I think the enthusiastic support for Obama actually blunts the effectiveness of negative attacks partly because Obama can fire back with his "politics as usual" response which seemed to work well in Wisconsin. In fact, I wonder if the ad wars in Wisconsin were partially responsible for Obama beating expectations.

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roy:

s.b.,

I don't think many people would endorse your idea that an industrial state is automatically part of the Northeast. Illinois is part of the Rust Belt too, but nobody I know thinks it's in the Northeast.

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Jerry:

GG-

My barely political 95 year old grandma asked "What is Hillary so hysterical about?" when she saw her on tv. So...there you go.


Whether she has a right to be hysterical about a mailer that has been out for a month is dubious at best. Although the mailer did have slight distortions - factcheck.org concluded that Clinton's mailers also used distortions and did so to a higher degree.


My guess, is that Hillary's coffers and backers saw what the pundits said about her after the debate and got on her ass about being rather calm with Obama. Possibly, it went something like this:


"What the hell happened to the 100 million we got for you, you %#$@$ ?!!!?? Get your ass out there and fight for it you, @#&%@, or else you can kiss any future donations good-bye!"


So, therefore, you get the spectacle we saw yesterday.


Or maybe her campaign IS so poorly run that they don't see opposition mailers until a month after they have gone out to voters.

By the way, in Wisconsin, they barely knew about "plagiarism" charges. The local news filters out political BS usually. It may be the case though, that they believed Obama's ad, refuting Hillary's negative "he won't debate me" spot that they had going on the airwaves. Obama seems to have the money and organization to fire back effectively and powerfully.

Should be interesting to see if that will hold against the Repulican smear campaign in the fall.

I've always felt that you had to get dirty with the pigs if you wanted the bacon - which John Kerry refused to do in '04 - but perhaps Obama's methods of subtle suggestions and powerful counter-attacks are the way to go.

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Phil:

The Chicago bordering issue is a bit facetious - Indiana is a relatively short state, and northwestern Ohio is only two hours from Chicago. Toledo is closer to Chicago than Des Moines is. Heck, Cleveland and Des Moines are about the same distance from Chicago.

The larger difference is that Ohio has a larger urban population than Iowa or Wisconsin, and so its media markets are dominated by, well, itself. But the urban areas of the state don't favor Clinton particularly - Columbus, the largest city, has a 25% black population and the largest university in the country. Cleveland is majority black. Cincinatti is 43% black.

Once you get past the big three it's better for Clinton - Toledo favors her, for instance, as does Akron. Dayton and Youngstown, on the other hand, have black populations in the 40s.

In other words, Obama's base is very much present in Ohio. The nearly 13% black population is double that of Wisconsin, and it has a large student population. It is, in many ways, probably an easier win for him than Wisconsin, by the numbers.

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G.G.:

Jerry, hiding behind grandma to mock an older woman? C'mon. As for media coverage in Wisconsin, it follows the lead of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, a conservative media monopoly (which also houses the AP statewide). Call it filtering out b.s., but the JS just hates the Clintons. So of course the debate story and plagiarism story got no coverage; even Michelle Obama's quotes about finally having pride in her country didn't get coverage -- even though she said those in Milwaukee and Madison. And the Journal Sentinel's radio station's talk radio shows promoted conservative crossover for Obama . . . all while the Journal Sentinel's tv station benefited most from the Obama ad spending, 5 to 1 over Clinton in Wisconsin.

No question that the Obama camp ran a better campaign as well as outspent by far -- but it benefitted greatly from the conservative media monopoly in the metro area with a third of the state's population. But benefitting even more, of course, was McCain -- so it will be far different in fall there, wait and see.

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ABCD:

If you think about the economies of these two states, Ohio is definately north east, ie industry. Wisconsin is midwest ie cheese heads, aka farmers.

Where in the world do people come up with such utter foolishness? If manufacturing is the test of northeastness, then you'd better remove Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont (the most rural state in the country), and probably Connecticut from the Northeast.

And Wisconsin is non-industrial? Hah! While it's true that industry in Milwaukee and the Fox Valley isn't what it once was, this is no more or less true than anywhere else. Farming, forestry and fishing together constitute 3% of output in Wisconsin, and 1% of employment. Production, transportation, warehousing and material moving is 27% of output and 20% of employment.

Now lets look at Ohio. Farming, fishing and forestry is 1% of output and 0.3% of employment. Production, transportation and material moving is 25% of output and 19% of employment. Thus, Wisconsin is more agricultural than Ohio -- but from a very low base of comparison -- but also more industrial.

Now that we've paused for some facts, you can continue arguing.

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THE General:

How is the "united" Defeatocrat party doing tonight?

Pick a nominee yet?

LMFAO!

Is O'bambis wife going to insult America tomorrow?

A better question though, what's the over/under on how many times "Bob Evans" posts and says something inane before March 4? Polling data suggests 17 as the over/under.

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THE General:

Wow! Obama struggles with McCain, even in Taxachusetts and the Patrick-Kennedy-Kerry (the Three Stooges) connection: http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReportPopup.aspx?g=62ab4c93-4826-4819-b270-98b429577f32&q=45622

This could be the easiest GOP victory since 1984! McCain should get about 380 or 400 electoral votes.

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Peter:

Great analysis. However, i'm from Wisconsin and know a bit of Ohio, and i think you are downplaying cultural differences between Wisconsinites and Ohioans. One can not simply look at demographics but must also look at cultural factors. Wisconsin as a whole has a strong progressive tradition whereas Ohioans have a more rank and file democrat origin. Wisconsinites are more open to insurgent candidates and may be more able to embrace a change message. Ohioans may be more establishment candidate oriented. In addition, I recently talked to someone who has lived in Ohio his entire life who believes that Ohio has more racial divides than Wisconsin. He believes that a black man can not win Ohio given the level of ingrained racism he believes is there in comparison to wisconsin.

So my main point is you can't simply look at pure demographics, perhaps there are regional differences in attitudes and beliefs as a whole that permeates all demographic groups, but may most especially impact less educated whites. For example, i would expect less differences between college educated whites from Wisconsin and those from Ohio. I would expect less differences between African-americans from Wisconsin and those from Ohio. I would expect greater differences between less educated whites in Wisconsin and and from Ohio.

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Peter:

Great analysis. However, i'm from Wisconsin and know a bit of Ohio, and i think you are downplaying cultural differences between Wisconsinites and Ohioans. One can not simply look at demographics but must also look at cultural factors. Wisconsin as a whole has a strong progressive tradition whereas Ohioans have a more rank and file democrat origin. Wisconsinites are more open to insurgent candidates and may be more able to embrace a change message. Ohioans may be more establishment candidate oriented. In addition, I recently talked to someone who has lived in Ohio his entire life who believes that Ohio has more racial divides than Wisconsin. He believes that a black man can not win Ohio given the level of ingrained racism he believes is there in comparison to wisconsin.

So my main point is you can't simply look at pure demographics, perhaps there are regional differences in attitudes and beliefs as a whole that permeates all demographic groups, but may most especially impact less educated whites. For example, i would expect less differences between college educated whites from Wisconsin and those from Ohio. I would expect less differences between African-americans from Wisconsin and those from Ohio. I would expect greater differences between less educated whites in Wisconsin and and from Ohio.

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Jerry:

GG-

No way McCain wins in Wisconsin in November. If you want to set up a bet of some sort, we can GG. I live on the border, and can meet you in Wisconsin. How much money are you willing to pony up?

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1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34:

Since Mark Blumenthal wrote on Feb 22, new polls have come out which show Obama gaining. That supports the time, time, time explanation mentioned by several commenters above. The 'downscale' Ohio likely voters are still low in information: 21% of them are saying they haven't heard enough to have an opinion about Obama while only 5% of them are saying that about Clinton. See http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1322.xml?ReleaseID=1146

In the Wisconsin exit poll Obama defeated Clinton among non-Catholics by a 27.5% margin (62.5% to 35%), while the Catholic vote split evenly, 50% to 50%; and 40% of all the voters were Catholic. Obama has not won the majority of Catholic voters in any non-Southern state polled so far, not even in his home state of Illinois, and he lost by a huge margin in the northeast among Catholics. (In Southern states Catholics are more upscale in education and occupation and are relatively thin on the ground). The percentage of voters in Ohio who will be Catholic is substantially lower than in any northern state polled so far (it was 30% in the 2004 Ohio primary). This must be regarded as beneficial for Obama in Ohio.

Another beneficial thing for Obama in Ohio compared to Wisconsin, somewhat related to the first, is that Ohio is an overall more Republican state. In Ohio the types of individuals who are less dynamic, less attracted by a proposition for change, are more likely Republican and less likely voting in a Democratic primary.

Mark Blumenthal asked "why does Clinton run stronger in Ohio than in Wisconsin among downscale whites?" Short answer: the Ohio downscale whites have less information, and in the absence of info she's the default, safer choice. "Can she maintain that advantage through March 2?" Answer: No.

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G.G.:

Jerry, you may have missed that Wisconsin was the closest state in 2004. Lots of moderates like McCain, and I don't like how it is going here for those of us whose "hope" is, above all, that we stay blue.

As for meeting f2f, I don't do that with folks from the Internet, sorry. We'll have to settle for a virtual bet -- and you can bet that I hope you are correct on the "color" of Wisconsin.

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1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34:

The batch of polls out of Ohio published March 3 show Obama's going to lose by a pretty substantial margin tomorrow. In Quinnipiac's poll for instance it's notable that Obama is losing among White Women by a giant 40 point margin (26% to 68%) and he's barely winning among people with a college degree (49% to 45%). I believe Obama's campaign, to be losing now like this, must have done something wrong in Ohio over the past week. What? A key part of Obama's core message, one of his key advantages against Clinton, is -- to quote from one of his ads -- "I will always tell you where I stand and what I think". That claim has been totally contradicted by his posturing on international trade and NAFTA over the past week. His loss in Ohio tomorrow must be attributed, in part at least, to his NAFTA ads undermining his core message about straightforwardness. As a footnote, the more-or-less same ads, but with a lower profile, also ran in Wisconsin (but not in earlier states -- not in Maryland and Virgina for instance). In Wisconsin the NAFTA theme disappeared in the last few days before polling, and Obama gained in those few days. In Wisconsin in the days when the ads were running and in the news -- specifically the few days around his economic speech at Jainsville -- he wasn't gaining. The truth is that Obama's NAFTA stuff is phony and it's a turnoff, and it's bad press, and it's a basis for people to see Clinton as not worse after all.

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I think you are a genius because it looks like what you are suggesting is going to come through tonight!

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Ike:

Hey Mark,
This has been one of the more interesting threads recently, and since I am a Pennsylvania native (go Steelers!), you might guess why I am here --I suspect that Pennsylvania will fit demographically in between Ohio and Wisconsin and probably vote accordingly (the New York Times article on the PA economy this past weekend illustrates the point).

Any chance you'll be doing the 3-way demographics? (I have midterms and I'm too lazy). But heck, even without going through some data, I'll predict that Pennsylvania will fall between Wisconsin and Ohio.

Oh yeah...great work on the national horserace tables and graphs. Thanks to Charles too!

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