News from the Votemaster
The dust has now settled from the Pennsylvania primary. Hillary Clinton won a big victory and is raising money hand over fist. She's back in the running. But let's step back for a moment and look at the big picture. Below are the total delegates pledged or announced as of today and also as of 7 weeks ago (March 7), after the dust of Texas and Ohio had settled. On March 7, Barack Obama led Hillary Clinton by 109 delegates. Today, despite her substantial win in Pennsylvania, he leads by an average of 138 due to the steady drip drip drip of superdelegates going for him, which has more than countered the 11 delegates she won Tuesday.
Needed to win: Democrats 2024, Republicans 1191.
A point that has come up repeatedly with Hillary Clinton's strong wins in blue-collar states is can Obama get downscale whites to vote for him in the general election? The NY Times has a story about polling on this issue in these states. The bottom line is that while many blue-collar workers prefer Clinton, they still prefer any Democrat to John McCain so the Democrats are not in grave danger of losing states like Pennsylvania that they must win in November. What Obama brings to the table is sudden competitiveness in states like Virginia, Iowa, Missouri, and Colorado, which Republicans normally win easily.
One question that has vexed a lot of people in the identity-based campaign is the preference of black Democratic women. They have consistently voted overwhelmingly for Obama, in only slightly smaller numbers than black men. Haven't they noticed that this could be a historic year for women, as white women have clearly noticed? A reader suggested the following: black women hit discrimination for being black before they hit discrimination for being women. For example, if a black women applies for a job as a clerk in a store, nurse, teacher, accountant, or whatever, she is probably more likely to get the impression "we don't like blacks" rather than "we don't like women," especially outside major cities. Prejudice against women kicks in at a higher level, when a woman is trying to become CEO, director, dean, colonel, managing partner, or some other top position. Fewer black women notice that glass ceiling because fewer bump into it. There are fewer top jobs, fewer candidates, and fewer people to be affected by discrimination at that level. This explanation is anecdotal of course, but the data says very clearly that black women are voting in huge numbers for Obama whereas white women are strongly for Clinton. There has to be some explanation.
Another important race that happened Tuesday (besides MS-01 reported yesterday) is PA-10. As political-sex-scandal junkies no doubt remember, this is the seat formerly occupied by Don Sherwood (R), the long-time congressman who had an equally long-time affair with a Peruvian immigrant half his age. One fine day he choked her and she called 911. Exit Don Sherwood. He was beaten by Chris Carney, a political science professor who had this nutty idea of running for Congress as a Democrat in a district that has sent Republicans to Congress for nearly 50 years. Only due to Sherwood's shenanigans Carney won. The GOP wants the seat back. Tuesday they nominated a wealthy local businessman, Chris Hackett, who owns a temporary employment agency, to run against him. This is an R+8 district, so Hackett ought to have a good chance except (1) Carney is the incumbent and has spent a lot of time back in his district (2) Carney has $966,000 cash on hand as of April 2, (3) this is going to be a Democratic year for House elections (see yesterday's posting on MS-01 for one small example). But PA-10 is going to be one of the premier House battles this year. Stay tuned.
No new primary polls today but general election polls in Nevada show John McCain beating Barack Obama 48% to 43% and beating Hillary Clinton 49% to 38%.
-- The Votemaster