David Kirkpatrick

March 12, 2008

Does Clinton have Pennsylvania locked up

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:11 pm

This is an interesting bit of analysis that proposes just that.

From the link:

The press will try to make a race of it. There will surely be polls showing the race tightening, perhaps even suggesting that Obama could win it. But that’s just part of the predictable song-and-dance to sell newspapers and up ratings (and hit counts, for the political blogs and news sites that sell ads). The way the odd-numbered delegate districts break down, the demographics, the fact that it’s a closed primary (no Independent voters allowed), and its long border with the senator’s New York state make it a lead-pipe cinch for Clinton; to the extent that Obama supporters enter the “no, but yes, we can win it” narrative they’ll be walking into a trap.

Clinton has now moved 250 staffers (about 13 for each of Pennsylvania’s 19 Congressional districts) into the Keystone state and is opening two dozen field offices. She has the support of Governor Ed Rendell and his considerable machine, not to mention a phalanx of mayors including Michael Nutter of Philadelphia. They’re carrying a straight flush and they’re betting everythingon it. That makes it tempting for Obama fans to seek a knockout punch, but all their candidate really needs to do is survive to the next round – North Carolina, two weeks later – without having fallen into a rigged expectations game to clinch the nomination.

The new SurveyUSA poll(Clinton 55 percent, Obama 38) tells part of the story.

But a bigger part of the story was already told in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District. That’s the long, thin border district with West Virginia that The Field called the “Pennsyltucky” district. The Obama campaign outspent Clinton on TV and media advertising there, and Obama dedicated his final Ohio appearance in Athens, within that district (as well as sending rockers Arcade Fire to stoke up the youth vote on primary eve), but the Appalachian demographics were against him from the start: Clinton won there with 72.4 percent to just 27.5 for Obama.

The takeaway for Obama according to the post is to avoid too high of expectations in the state, and not let the media machine turn a Clinton victory into more than it it really is demographically.

In the big picture I don’t think even a Pennsylvania blowout for Clinton significantly changes her losing position math-wise. This Democratic nomination is an interesting game this year, but as has been written many other places, I wonder if it may not chew-up and disillusion many young voters who just joined the process.

It seems a lot of Ron Paul’s support has already begun slipping back into fringe-issue groups rather than a new libertarian/conservative political movement, and I bet many college-age voters tracking this campaign who thought the GOP had a stranglehold on scorched-earth politics and dirty tricks are growing more and more disgusted with the Clinton campaign and its ongoing “kitchen sink” attack.