On 800 Pound Gorillas, Or, Wanna Win This Thing?

I don’t usually make direct statements without some qualifications, but I believe I can safely say that unless Gore gets in the race, we have our 3 choices on the D side, and that’s about it.

I’m looking at a March 8th American Research Group poll suggesting no candidate other than Clinton, Obama, and Edwards currently attracts more than 2% of likely D primary voters. That same poll shows Clinton and Obama statistically tied (34 and 31%, respectively, with a 4% margin of error).

Rasmussen reports 34/26/15% for the same three, in the same order, on March 5th, and reported a 3% Clinton slip from the previous week. (Most likely voters, 4% margin of error.)

An average of polls shows about 36/25/12, with Obama moving sharply upward.

Unfortunately for Hillary, her trend is going the wrong way-a Quinnipiac poll taken February 13th-19th, asking “for whom would you vote today?” showed her at 38%/23%/6% (Clinton/Obama/Edwards, 3.8% margin of error).

Unless somebody does something more severe in their lives than Giuliani has done so far, the top three seems pretty much in place.

A recent conversation addressed the Puppy Factor (for those who missed it, I posit that a percentage of the voting public will not, for any reason, vote for Clinton), and its effect on Hillary. The entirely unscientific poll connected to the diary suggests the Puppy Factor is real, and, if in any way applicable to the larger public, that big trouble lies ahead for the Senator.

John Kerry had to lose a Presidential election before he realized he was of more value in the Senate, and I worry that Clinton’s lack of electability could put us in the same boat in ’08.

Ds have a unique advantage this election cycle-gap voters are falling into the D camp in far stronger numbers than ever before.
Don’t believe me?
Here’s Charlie Cook:

But the real jaw dropper is when independents are asked which party they lean toward. This is important because historically, independents who lean toward a party tend to vote almost as consistently for that party as those who identify themselves with the party. There are just some people who like to call themselves independents but, functionally speaking, are really partisans.

In this category of leaners, Democrats had an advantage of 1.3 points in 2001. The parties were within the margin of error in 2002, when four-tenths of a point separated them and in 2003, when there was just a one-tenth of a point difference.
In 2004, Democrats had a 2.7 point advantage, and it grew to 4.4 points in 2005.

But in 2006, this category exploded to a 10.2-point advantage for Democrats: 50.4 percent for Democrats, 40.2 percent for Republicans. The remaining 9.4 percent did not lean toward either party.

This 10.2-point advantage is the biggest lead either party has had since Gallup began tracking the leaners in 1991.

And there’s the 800 pound gorilla-the candidate with the most money, the deepest connections, and a politically brilliant President to offer her counsel is not likely to win, nor is she likely to go home quietly.

Why do I think Hillary is in so much trouble, besides this very rudimentary polling analysis? Because I saw both the Selma speeches. In their entirety. And to be blunt, Clinton looked disconnected, forced, and, well...fake.

Obama, on the other hand-comfortable, strong, accessible-he just looked exactly like a President. And his ability to “preach” better than Hillary will get him a piece of the “Joe Wood” vote. And it’ll drive Conservatives nuts.

Edwards, who I admire, has yet to take off. But he is a white male, and history suggests white males win, so I wouldn’t discount him too quickly. Unfortunately, while trending upward currently, he’s less popular now in the average of polls than he was in 2005.

So these days, here’s what I’m wondering: there will come a point, if trends continue, where it will be time for Hillary to go. This poses two questions:

1) How can Hillary be convinced to gracefully step aside and let Obama and Edwards work it out? Options include Hillary as a Vice President (then run in 2012 or ‘16?), or convincing her to become an activist Senator in an all-D Executive and Legislative environment.
2) Edwards and Obama, or Obama and Edwards?

I’d prefer Hillary in the Senate more than VP, but that’s mainly because of math- Clinton, Edwards, and Obama, all in office, is better than any two of the same group being in office. And then there’s the Puppy Factor. Even as VP-which I’m not convinced she wants-she has a good chance, in my opinion, of hurting the D opportunity to win this thing.

Her Senate Committee memberships currently are Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; the Environment and Public Works Committee; the Special Committee on Aging; and on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Her biography also reports she’s the only Senate member of the Transformation Advisory Group to the Joint Forces Command.

So a deal to convince her to stay in the Senate might include a juicy Armed Services Subcommittee chairmanship, and more juice in force transformation (10th Mountain Division is New York based, so it helps her long-term at home); and additionally, a conversation about term limits and how they don’t apply in the Senate, but do at the White House.

With a good deal in place, Clinton should still remain a motivated D evangelist, and might choose to fundraise and spend in support of D causes.

The Clinton supporters will want to see what the February “national primary” has to say, but the current trends suggest next year may be too late-that opinions might have hardened before votes are cast.

So what about question 2?

At this point, I suggest more people around here can articulate an understanding of Edwards’ positions more easily than Obama’s, but I suspect that will become more even as Obama’s campaign gets into gear.

Obama, on the other hand, has come out of nowhere, quickly, in a way Edwards has not. He’s, ironically, filling the “Great Looking Guy” brand that Edwards occupied in ’04, and he has a great television presence. His lack of specificity on issues might or might not hurt him-we shall see. (No positions means fewer enemies, but I suspect he’ll want to express himself, and that often leads to positions, which leads to opposition...)

Perhaps the best answer to question 2 is: wait and see.

If Gore stays out, I would suggest that, just like Iraq, Edwards probably has 6 to 8 months to move into a position to seriously consider Obama as his VP. Otherwise, Obama/Edwards could be pretty tough to beat.

So there we are. Sometime between now and January we might have to have a deal in place, and by the third week of February the nomination race might well be over.

Let’s hope this time it’s the Republicans who tear each other apart.

Comments

I'm one of those who won't vote for Hillary

under any circumstance. I'm not sure how you see the "puppy factor" figuring negatively into to her candidacy since it posits that some people would vote for a candidsate who ate a live puppy on stage if only his/her actions could be logically explained. In my view, the only people who would vote for Hillary are those who could find a reason to condone "eating the puppy."

The current candidate polls don't do much for me. It's way too early to think the public's opinions have matured to a point where the polls mean anything. The gap poll you mentioned is, however, probably a good indicator because it has been around for a while and measures a trend over time.

I also think it's too early to count Richardson out. He has a lot more substance than Obama and he's tough. Edwards...well, hide and watch. While HRC and Obama are out court'in and coo'in and trying to outdo each other as the media darling of the moment, JRE is working on the real issues and meeting with real people and gathering momentum in Iowa and places where an early showing will count.

Stan Bozarth

Are you saying . . .

I'm one of those who won't vote for Hillary
under any circumstance.

that if Hillary wins the nomination, you won't vote for the Democratic candidate for president? Would you vote for the Republican, or a third party candidate, or "none of the above"?

Hillary is certainly not one of my favorites, either, but realistically, one of the two major party nominees is going to be president. Voting for the "lesser of two evils" is not the best way to pick a president, but if it comes down to that, it seems to me preferable to sitting back and letting others decide.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid if Hillary does win the nomination, it will have a serious negative impact on our GOTV efforts. The consequences will flow all the way down the ballot here in NC, and in some other states too. We need to be seriously thinking about how to stop her without tearing the party apart.

my feeling is hillary won't quit...

...unless she's below 30% in october this year, with someone else trending above 50%. any higher and she'll go "all in" and try to spend her way to the "natonal primary" and beyond in first place, and the others broke, or nearly so.

for reasons expressed in my other reply, that might not work with obama.

if she can be convinced to quit, maybe even a supreme court nomination could be offered.

if she is nominated, well, hold yer nose and vote for her, i guess. still better than any r option.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

no way

you cant bribe her to leave. the reason is that even if she loses in 08 she will still be in the senate, with as much or more clout.

If she cant squeeze out wins in the 4 early states then I dont see her being able to make this a national primary. If Edwards does as well as I think he will in the first 4, if Obama keeps trending up, and if Richardson is able to cut through the noise Hillary will be lucky to get top 3 in more than 2 of the first 4 states. And that would gurantee that she couldnt spend her way to the nomination.

Im just praying we get to the convention with Obama and Edwards not quite there with Richardson and Hillary holding enough delegates to make it a "who can find themselves the right VP" contest, and see some real drama.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

what do you give the woman who has everything?

supreme court is a pretty good bribe, eh?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

what do you give the woman who has everything?

supreme court is a pretty good bribe, eh?

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

I will not vote for Hillary Clinton.under ANY circumstance

and I don't know about the rest of your question. If she wins the nomination I will probably have to go into rehab. I've made it a point to try not to excoriate any Democratic candidates. I simply will say I find her contrived and dishonest.

Stan Bozarth

Move Over Stan

All I have to say is, 'If half of the registered Democrats don't want to vote for her, how in the world can we hope to capture that elusive 'purple' vote?'

We won't capture anything....it will be over.

I'm telling you the Republicans want Hillary to get the nomination. They soil their shorts when they think about President Edwards because when that happens, their jig is up. We The People are finally gonna get a fair shake and they're gonna finally have to earn a living rather than stealing from the tax payers by buying legislators.

If Hillary were to get the nomination...and they're working their little corporate media heads off to feature her mindless and contrived drivel, they'll then crucify her with all the stuff from the Clinton White House years...of which there is plenty to choose. They've likely got two teams working on it...one to help her win the nomination and the other to burn her at the stake once she does.

Obama is their second choice. Edwards is their nightmare! Go John Edwards!

Stan Bozarth

and thus is expressed point 1 of...

...the "Puppy Factor" analysis.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

point 2 of the analysis...

...the "even if she cured aids...she'd get no credit" premise, is what i consider applicable to her situation.

sadly, tv economics will drive coverage to 2 or 3 in each party only (edwards already suffers from this, i submit), which means richardson either better do well soon, or be the last one standing after a d implosion.

as for iowa-boots on the ground matter, but i wish he could find a way to get more national "face time" in the process. it would help in the money race as well.

finally, as for the polls-the only data that i find crucial now is:

--charlie cook's observation that 90ish% of voters have already formed opinions regarding hillary, but only 40ish% regarding obama. (that was in december '06, so that number has changed, i'm certain.)

and

--the puppy factor. both combine to suggest hillary will have to work harder than anyone else to gain new voters, which will dilute her money advantage.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Bill Richardson

Here's a scenario for you:

Edwards wins Iowa
Obama wins New Hampshire
Edwards or Biden wins South Carolina
Richardson wins Nevada

Three primaries and a caucus and no victories for the Hillary. This leaves Edwards, Obama, and Richardson duking it out on Super Tuesday. Edwards takes the South, Obama takes the North, and Richardson takes the West, and we've got one helluva dogfight heading down the stretch into the convention.

Bill Richardson.

Scrutiny Hooligans - http://www.scrutinyhooligans.us

South Carolina

If Edwards loses in South Carolina (which, you know, isn't entirely inconceivable), it's game over for him.

I think he's got a great shot at winning in Iowa and Nevada (his labor support could trump Richardson there), but if he stumbles in South Carolina, I'm not sure it matters.

The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

I hate that

stupid, "if he doesnt win __ he is done" I know why the media repeat it over and over and over, but I dont have to like the thought process.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

It's True Though

It's a question of viability in the general election--part of JRE's great appeal has always been that he can complete in the South, where others cannot. If he loses in South Carolina (his state of birth), after winning there in 2000, then there are obviously questions about that appeal. Think Gephardt and Iowa in 2004...

The sharpest criticism often goes hand in hand with the deepest idealism and love of country. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

that makes money matter,...

...but a surging richardson would attract money.

a most intersting scenario, indeed.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

A couple things

I'm disappointed that we don't have a guaranteed Senate Majority Leader Clinton, which she was offered if she didn't run. To have a Legislative branch RUN by Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Clinton, would be historic.

As for Independents, I think Edwards will do the best with them, given that they mostly are looking for a strong leader, a charismatic leader, and Edwards is that.

As for national polls, when you look at 2003-early 2004, Kerry was leading,then dropped down to single digits and Dean was leading, then he surged and won the whole damn thing.

I think that Edwards is in a good place, he just needs to keep picking up local activists and organizers in the early states, like he has been.

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Like any good Southern boy

... Edwards understands the importance of drafting if you want to win a race on the home stretch.

"85% of Republicans are Democrats who don't know what's going on." -Robert Kennedy, Jr.

"Man is free at the moment he wishes to be." -Voltaire

that made me smile

But he is managing to avoid most of the frontrunner attacks, while building a base of activists, and getting money.

I mean, Edwards has raised a million dollars online. That isnt anything to scoff at.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

as i said above...

...he needs to find a way to get more "face time" nationally, or tv will lock on the others.

"...i feel that if a person can't communicate, the very least he can do is to shut up." --tom lehrer, january 1965

Not sure

Where else to put this
So, while sinking big time in the polls, McCain has picked up Burr now in addittion to Blount and Vinroot.

I guess noone bothered to show him the approval numbers on Burr or the newspaper articles about Ferrell Blount. His campaign is in soooo much trouble.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"