Truths and Fallacies

Patrick Healy writes in today’s New York Times (emphasis added),

In recent weeks, Clinton advisers have been challenging Mr. Obama’s electability in a general election, and her victories in Ohio and Pennsylvania are perhaps her best evidence yet to argue that she is better suited to build a coalition across income, education and racial lines in closely contested states.

But the Pennsylvania exit polls, conducted by Edison/Mitofsky for five television networks and The Associated Press, underscore a point that political analysts made on Wednesday: that state primary results do not necessarily translate into general election victories.

“I think it differs state to state, and I think either Democrat will have a good chance of appealing to many Democrats who didn’t vote for them the first time,” said Peter Hart, a Democratic pollster not affiliated with either campaign. “Take Michigan. It has a Democratic governor, two Democratic senators, and many Democratic congressmen, so it’s probably going to be a pretty good state for the Democrats in a recession year.”

Mr. Hart, as well as Obama advisers, also say that Mr. Obama appears better poised than Mrs. Clinton to pick up states that Democrats struggle to carry, or rarely do, in a general election, like Colorado, Iowa, Missouri and Virginia, all of which he carried in the primaries. Obama advisers say their polling indicates he is more popular with independents, and far less divisive than Mrs. Clinton, in those states.

“Hillary goes deeper and stronger in the Democratic base than Obama, but her challenge is that she doesn’t go as wide,” Mr. Hart said. “Obama goes much further reaching into the independent and Republican vote, and has a greater chance of creating a new electoral map for the Democrats.”

Indeed, if Mr. Obama does become the first African-American nominee of a major party, the electoral landscape of the South could be transformed with the likelihood of strong turnout of black voters in Republican-leaning states like Georgia and Louisiana, which Mr. Obama carried this winter. (Mrs. Clinton has also argued that, given the Clinton roots, she could put at least Arkansas in play in the fall.)

Josh Marshall concurs:

As Patrick Healy explains, it is simply a fallacy to claim that winning a state’s Democratic primary means you’re more likely to win that state in the general election or that your opponent can’t win it. …

… And it’s really not a big mystery that the argument doesn’t hold up because it wasn’t devised or conceived as an electoral argument. It’s a political argument — one that only really came into operation at the point at which the Clinton campaign realized that it was far enough behind that it’s path to the nomination required making the argument to superdelegates that she’s elected and Obama is not.

In a nutshell, Senator Clinton does better in states that are either bound to go Dem in November no matter who the nominee is or Republican no matter who the nominee is. But Obama does better in states that could go either way.

12 thoughts on “Truths and Fallacies

  1. Carter lost New York and Massachusetts to Scoop Jackson in the ’76 primaries. He lost several other states in the primaries that he won in the fall.

  2. “In a nutshell, Senator Clinton does better in states that are either bound to go Dem in November no matter who the nominee is Republican no matter who the nominee is. But Obama does better in states that could go either way.”

    Right, but that is when they are facing each other, not facing McCain. It doesn’t necessarily mean Obama will do well in purple/red states against McCain, and it doesn’t necessarily mean Hillary will do well in the rust belt against McCain either. That was Marshall’s point – you can’t use primary election results to make a strong case for electability in a general campaign, which is why the whole thing is silly.

  3. I think you might want to rewrite that last paragraph for clarity. Kind of a “nominee tourettes syndrome”. Not that anyone blames you at this point.

    Even a former Republican Congressman and a former Republican Presidential Candidate agree that John McCain is running on a platform of “Less Jobs and More War!“.

    Barack is the odds on favorite to be our next president. He maintains the high trustworthiness ratings that hr clinton continually disposes of, and the new direction, less insanity platform is gathering resonance in many “purple” states.

    But it’s going to take an outright win in the Indiana primary to finish off the paleo-powerstructure that the clintons refuse to euthanize.

  4. I certainly hope Obama can win in Indiana but being from Indiana and knowing it is a Republican, conservative state and that it is the most backward state in the union, it will take a lot of praying.

  5. I get the feeling that the outcome of this prolonged nomination process will in the end decide whether the power base in DC remains in the hands of its established beneficiaries – aka Hillary, Bill, McCain, etc. or whether Obama will successfully challenge that power and eventually and hopefully return power to the people.

  6. The Wright issue turns off blue collar white voters. Hispanics don’t care for him. The African American vote is both Hillaries and Obamas, although Obama will get a better turn out, but we know how their votes get “counted” in states with Republican governors, and caging targets them to proven them from voting.
    Seniors don’t seem to like him, although he does well with the young. The problem here is that seniors outnumber the young, and vote in higher percentages. His book called Dreams from my Father is a serious concern for any white or female who reads it, blue collar or not.

    Hillary OTOH is detested by most conservative Christians who might be looking for change, so I think neither is electable. But then again, I am not sure we will even be having elections and this whole campaign may be just a distraction.

    If it comes down to Hillary and McCain, they might as well merge the Democrats and Republicans into one party called the Kleptocratic Party , cancel elections, and flip a coin on who should be President and the loser gets to be VP.

    Iran probably has a better selection for President in their controlled democracy.

  7. grannyeagle writes:

    but being from Indiana and knowing it is a Republican, conservative state and that it is the most backward state in the union, it will take a lot of praying.

    grannyeagle, if you change “Indiana” to x, I’m thinking that a lot of people from many different states would think you were talking about their home state.

    But having said that, I’m thinking you’re right, and that HRC is likely to go for broke and spend all her dough in IN, because as far as I can see she’s just running to wound Obama at this point so that she can take on McCain in 2012.

    However, if the Clintons keep cleaving the democrats apart as they are and the economy continues to tank and McCain wins, I’m wondering what will actually be left of the dems in 2012.

  8. Grannyeagle,

    “Indiana is the most backward state in the union”

    More backward than kentucky? More backward than Idaho? More backward than Texas? I admit much of my state is redneck central (after all it is the birth place of the KKK) but I don’t think it is the most backward state in the union. I live in N.W. indiana and it is quite diverse, we are basically a giant suburb of Chicago, we read Chicago newspapers, we watch Chicago media markets, we root for the Cubs, we generally use a knife and fork when we eat and even a napkin at times. So keep praying. (thats not too backward is it?)

  9. I just saw the rerun of the red carpet entrance at the white house correspondent’s dinner on C-Span (my band really needs a gig on a Saturday night). Wow! Where else can you see the corporate propaganda elite (Wolf Blitzer, Larry King, Richard Wolf, David Corn (Corn was only shown briefly sucking down what looked to be a whiskey in the shadows). Common Hollywood whores (Pamela Anderson, Ashlee Simpson, The Jonas brothers?) and everyday run of the mill war criminals (Henry Kissinger, Michael Chertoff, Zbigniew Brzezinski). Unfucking believable, if there was ever any question that maybe we don’t get the truth in this country, just watch the show. It is painfully obvious.

  10. uncledad:

    Sorry if I offended you but I stand my ground. Definitely more backward than Kentucky. I know Texas and Idaho are redneck but I consider that different from being backward. As you say, you are basically a giant suburb of Chicago and that probably influences your environment and your thinking. Reading some of your comments, I don’t think you reflect the typical Indiana attitude. But then even Indiana has its progressive thinkers. Actually, I am not alone in my assessment. When I was getting my hypnotherapy certificate, my instructor said the same thing. If I stayed in Indiana, most likely I would not be able to practice hypnotherapy without being connected to a MD and I was not able to practice acupuncture without getting a referral from a MD. So maybe I am biased but I spent 17 years in S. Cal. and now live in Washington state partly because I can be independent in my practice here. I always felt living in Indiana was like living in a cave. No mountains, no ocean. I do love the lush vegetation and the forests though. As for praying, I was just being facetious. I’m not in favor of praying to get something. Anyway, it’s just my opinion.

  11. Grannyeagle:

    “Sorry if I offended you” so I’ll offend you some more, “I always felt living in Indiana was like living in a cave”. Man get over yourself. I suspect you have a grudge against my state because they won’t let you practice your smoke and mirriors quackery. Now there I’ve offended you so we are even.

    I am not sure what makes a state backward, but one certain metric is how we educate our kids. According to this study (see link) Indiana ranks 34 with a graduation rate of 68.6% just above the national average of 68.3%. Nothing to proud of but we certainly are not last and in fact we are tied with Washington state. So put that in your pipe and smoke it!

  12. uncledad: Ouch! I think we are more than even. But I will stop here. As a matter of fact, I am a pipe carrier in the native american tradition and we don’t put “funny” stuff in it. It does seem like a good idea to go smoke it though. Just my opinion.

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