All entries for Monday 03 March 2008
March 03, 2008
I haven’t blogged about the US primaries in nearly a month, so its time to get back on the prediction box again. In the last month the big day turned into a score draw, followed by 11 straight primary defeats for Clinton. (The Obama camp count 12, since the results for democrats abroad, who voted on uber tuesday, weren’t in until afterwards.) So surely the race is over now? Obama’s got the delegate lead, after 11 wins he must have the momentum.
Well not quite. Tomorrow Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont all vote, with Texas and Ohio holding the lions share of the votes. Both of these states are traditionally expected to be Clinton strongholds. Both Bill and that clever guy with no hair, Carville have both said that these are must win states for Clinton. Her campaign has focussed on them heavily in the last month, since a defeat in either would really signal its end. Polls initially going her way have turned against her in the last week or so.
The real question at this point is whether Obama’s mail to the Canadians saying he really loves NAFTA and he’s just using it as a political football will hurt him. I suspect not his late in the day. Clinton has made a resurgence in the polls – she was down an average of 7 pts in Texas from polling data 5 days ago, its back to a level playing field again. Its entirely possible her message sits better with people in Texas and Ohio than Obama’s – I can’t really see why she is gaining otherwise. And the numbers frequently lie. Especially given the inherent pro-Obama bias of the texas polling system – I wouldn’t be surprised for him to take more delegates, whilst Hillary wins the popular vote. Hillary will probably win Ohio by 5-10% or so.
More interesting than this is speculation on the final race for the presidency. McCain has been doing very well in nationwide polling recently – of the last 5 nationwide polls I’ve seen Obama has only won one of them. Still the difference is narrow enough at the moment to not really be important. McCain’s campaign is in a poor state of organisation, and highly susceptible to a heavy tv spend over the summer months – as Clinton did in 1996 against Bob Dole. Such a strategy could only really work if Obama were to take the nomination early, months of uncertainty would help McCain a lot more.
Another issue is fundraising – In Janury Obama hauled 31 million, and early february this seemed to accelerate even more for both Democratic candidates. The question is how sustainable this is. McCain has huge fundraising potential, since his campaign hasn’t reached out to many republicans, who would certainly be more interested in seeing him in the White House than Clinton (I will continue to ignore Ann Coulter since I belive she is one of the few people whose endorsement would do more harm than good) and probably Obama as well. Consequently I wouldn’t be too surprised if McCain is competitive in fundraising by the time the conventions roll around.
I’ve already mentioned a few possible running mate choices for the democrats, but lets lengthen that list a bit and increase the chance of me being correct!
She has excellent brand name recognition, good experience, she’s female, african American, clever and would help get conservatives on board with McCain. She’s a fairly long shot though, and would provide Democratic amunition to tie McCain in with an unpopular administration.
States in this region are looking competitive, and are necessary Republican holds, so two term governors from this region such as Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota are possibles. Pawlenty is McCain national campaign co-chair.
Popular florida governor, who would help secure that state for the republicans, and has sound conservative credentials. Unfortunately he’s not married, and rumoured to be gay – if there’s anything that could put off Republicans more, or the ‘Reagan Democrats’ that McCain needs the votes of then he’s running mate being ‘outed’ as gay would be it. Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter would have a field day. To quote a republican strategist – ‘The republican party is the party of family values – and where’s his family?’ Still he’s probably one of the strongest options for McCain.
Obama should really look for a middle of the road – cross partisan democrat who has experience and popularity. Good thing Michael Bloomberg has recently announced he won’t be running! Bloomberg doesn’t have a long term Washington History, but his business experience is invaluable, he also has unmatchable fundraising ability. Whether Bloomberg would be willing to understudy is another matter.
Virginia governor who jumped on the Obama bandwagon early. He’s also in a key swing state, and has a lot of experience at the statewide level.
Even though I mentioned him in my previous running mate rundown – its worth mentioning that he hasn’t thrown his support behind Hillary as one would expect him to. He’s also being heavily courted by the Obama camp. Even if he isn’t named as VP – I read a suggestion to name him as secretary of state at the same time – in order to bolster Obama’s lack of experience.
Governor of Arizona and thus could help Obama in the south or west of the country. Being a female helps balance the ticket, and the geography works too. Also a former Attourney General of Arizona, so comes with strong experience. Not being a washington insider helps Obama’s message of change. For the same basic reasons Kathleen Sebelius .
I’m not going to bother suggesting vice presidential nominees, since I think Clinton would have a massive uphill struggle getting elected if she were democratic nominee.