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February 10, 2008

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Does that mean it's like an open thread? Because I wrote something this morning about the Republican primaries--they're basically over, I know, but the issue of the splits in the party is an interesting one, especially since Ron Paul is now basically out of the race. Where will his supporters--a not negligible number, mind you--go for the general election?

The Corner: highly reliable.

Maine has its own brand of cranky independent-minded cussedness to live up to. (Well, how would you feel if you were stuck up here in the frozen north, halfway (and then some) into Atlantic Canada, on the road to almost nowhere, certainly nowhere else in the U.S.?)

Consider that Maine brought us Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican who stood up to Joe McCarthy, and Bill Cohen, a Republican appointed to Bill Clinton's cabinet; and that our current Congressional delegation includes two female Republican senators and two male Democratic House members. There are fringe elements here (particularly a small but very visible and politically active religious right), but I think most people are solidly pragmatic and perhaps a little more ready than voters elsewhere (on average?) to look across party boundaries.

One reason for this is perhaps that because Maine's population is so small, it isn't at all hard to get, or to have had, some personal contact with the people running for office. After all, most of them were your local state senator or selectperson a few years ago. I'm not talking about presidential candidates, obviously, but I think people do have more of a sense than you might get in more populous states that the folks in government are not particularly different from the neighbors down the road, and therefore tend to react to them on a very person-to-person level.

Of course, what do I know? If you're "from away" you can never be a real Mainer, and I've been here for a measly twenty years. And -- I'm not a political junkie in any case, just an observant citizen.

JanieM: Maine is probably my favorite state in the union. I have family there -- some actual born-in-the-state Mainers, some not -- and spent one of the best summers of my life pitching hay on my Dad's cousin's farm there. It was mostly because of my respect for the unpredictability of Maine that I didn't so much as hazard a guess as to how it would turn out.

That said, have a great time at your caucus, and let us know how it goes. And smile at your state for me. :)

This sort of thing is why I've never been as impressed with the cleverness of James Wolcott as a lot of people. (His first two paragraphs, that is.)

Hilzoy -- I am smiling at the eternally falling snow right now, just for you. I didn't hazard a guess either, as you may have noticed.

I too love Maine, and that creates the dilemma I live inside now that my kids are grown up. "Why am I still here?" turns out not to be a simple question.

Caucus report to follow.

People say the Republican Party is fractured (it is), but so is the Democratic Party.

I’d break the Democratic Party down into three camps:

1. The ‘working people should get a better shake’ Democrats.
2. The ‘minorities do bad because of racism’ Democrats.
3. The ‘global warming, feel good about myself’ Democrats.

Maine has the highest tax burden in the nation, and a generous social safety net. So businesses are moving overseas or to New Hampshire, taking many of the #1 Democrats with them (largely Hillary supporters). That migration of jobs has not depleted the #3 Democrats (solid Obama supporters).

The wave of new residents seeking benefits are solid #2 Democrats (Obama supporters since the Hispanic population is small in Maine).

The caucus system benefits Obama since guilt will be a factor in the group dynamic.

So I’ll make a prediction: Obama wins, 60-40.

I sort of expect that most of Ron Paul's supporters will end up sitting out the election.

Results here.

I lived in Maine from ages 2-4 & we used to go back most summers. I am tickled to be reading caucus results from Deer Isle, Ellsworth, Hamden that matter...come on Bangor & Orono!

Wow. This is impressive.

Wow. (Yay Rockport!)

And double yay: Obama takes Camden, on one of whose hills the aforementioned farm is.

Clinton isn't happy with how it's gone:

Patti Solis Doyle, the campaign manager for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (N.Y.) presidential bid has stepped down from that post and will be replaced by longtime Clinton operative Maggie Williams.

In the post below that one, by the way, Cillizza writes: "Maine holds caucuses today and the Clinton campaign has expressed optimism about its chances there."

For the record.

Also just for the record, Clinton is entirely explicit about vote for me because I'm a woman:

[...] At Clinton's rally in Orono on Saturday, on the campus of the University of Maine, she was introduced by state Rep. Emily Ann Cain, who talked of the importance of electing a female president. Clinton spoke at length about her plan for universal health care, an issue that carries particular resonance with women. She also spoke candidly of the significance of her run, casting herself as a typical working woman.

"A lot of people ask me, 'What difference would a woman president make?' Well, probably more than we can imagine. But I'll tell you one: I have lived the balance of work and family. I know how challenging it is for families," Clinton said.

There's nothing wrong with that; it's one way to go. It has its ups and downs, pros and cons. But it's notable that she's doing it very straightforwardly.

Is it just me, or does it look like Clinton fired her campaign manager to distract the media from another Obama victory?

It's hard to think that's a good sign for her.

And yay Rockland!

Yow. I just refreshed the results page linked by Katherine above, and we're headed for blowout country. 57-42, with 44% counted.

Just this morning, I was reading something -- in the Post, I think -- about how the Clinton camp was going to approach Obama and ask him to stand down. After Texas.

Obama just won a Grammy :=)

CNN is calling its TV election coverage the Ballot Bowl!? I realize that people are gathering to watch the results much like sports (though that's probably more a DC thing), but this isn't a game. The name trivializes what should be treated as serious news.

I suspect that "44% of precincts reporting" is misleading. It sounds as if a lot of polling places were overwhelmed, and I'd bet that the remaining 56% of precincts contain significantly more than 56% of the voters.

Fendem, for the spoken word Grammy, the other nominees that Obama beat were Maya Angelou, Alan Alda, Jimmy Carter, and ... Bill Clinton!

Ah, yes, Obama is outperforming his own campaign's projections, wink wink. That was some smart expectations management there.

John: it wasn't just his campaign. A whole lot of people thought Clinton would win ME. (As she won NH and MA.)

Quick notes...

-- cars overflowing the parking lot and stretching down the road in the middle of yet another heavy snowstorm...

-- the upstairs room of the town hall overflowing -- 125 or so people in attendance, a far bigger turnout than anyone had seen before (town population roughly 2000)...

-- ages mixed, genders probably slightly tilted toward female, races not very varied (it being rural Maine and all)...

-- in the end, counting absentees, it was a little over 100 for Obama, roughly 40-ish for Hillary, 6 delegates to 2...

-- there was some brief speechmaking about lower-on-the-ticket candidates, but people mostly knew who they wanted and we didn't waste time speechifying; 4 initial undecideds split down the middle after some quiet conversation with people from both sides of the room...

I didn't see any clear patterns in the way the votes broke, but by no means were the "older" women particularly tilted toward Hillary. Some households must be having interesting conversations about this election. Since I'm single, I don't have that problem. ;)

Hilzoy -- Camden hills is a beautiful place to hang out, whether you're pitching hay or what. I'm not a big poetry fan but mention of that area makes me think of a scene described in Nancy Milford's biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay, where a young Millay recites a poem at a gathering of people, who just at that moment discover who it is in their midst. It gives me chills:

All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.
So with my eyes I traced the line
Of the horizon, thin and fine,
Straight around till I was come
Back to where I'd started from...

Katherine -- thanks for the link to Turn Maine Blue. It's great to see that there's huge turnout everywhere, despite the nasty weather. Cool!

Ok, 59% reporting, same percentages.

Of course you're right JMN. But the reason caucus sites are overwhelmed, I think, is because one candidate in beating the living sh*t out of expectations.

(We had a couple of O canvassers drop by today. Not a peep from the C side.)

So, Obama DOES beat Clinton (like a drum?).

John, it's about time Obama started having some smart expectations management. He certainly didn't have it for New Hampshire or Massachusetts.

Besides, part of the reason for the effect is that the estimates released didn't seem conservative, so beating them makes an impression. That wouldn't have worked if he'd had a mediocre performance that could only have beat the estimates if they were obvious lowballs.

Hilzoy, yes, I know, Maine wasn't expected to be this big a win.

I was just pointing out that the campaign's estimates were perfectly calibrated - not as well as they thought they'd actually do, but better than conventional wisdom would have them doing, and better than is needed to secure a plurality of the pledged delegates.

Brilliantly played, so far. Certainly they should do considerably better in Maryland and Virginia than they predicted, if polls are any indication.

I am beginning to think that the tide will ultimately result in an Obama win. Today is just one example. And from what Charley is reporting from a personal anecdote side, Clinton figured she would have it all wrapped up as of Super Tuesday. She didn't get much set up, particularly in terms of volunteer forces and ground troops in general for the rest of the states. Obama did.

I am not sure she has the time to get it in gear, even for Texas and Ohio.

It's beginning to strike me that perhaps the new focus on Ohio and Texas isn't based on confidence in wins there, but on fear of losses. If she was so confident she would win in Ohio and Texas, the place she should be focusing on is Wisconsin. A serious stand in Wisconsin seems totally plausible - the place doesn't look that demographically favorable for Obama - and would arrest Obama's momentum going into Ohio and Texas. It makes victories in Ohio and Pennsylvania more likely, and also makes them more meaningful.

Instead they seem to have already mostly pre-emptively ceded it. Maybe this is smoke and mirrors, so they can brag about a come from behind victory if they do win. We'll have to see her schedule.

But if she only lightly contests Wisconsin, that means she's scared shitless she's going to lose Ohio and Texas, too. Abandoning Wisconsin without a fight is not something a confident campaign would do, I think.

Great picture: a classic old New England town hall and a new citizen from Sudan.

JanieM,

Thanks for the poetry. One of the things I like about my old-fashioned high school education ws that we had to memorize stuff like that.

Doesn't that actually describe a scene she saw from atop a tower near Camden?

As I linked to here, and as anyone could provide a hundred more links within moments to support, the Clinton campaign, and just about every political journalist, and the conventional wisdom, all had Clinton taking Maine, on the basis of it being lily-white, with a heavy population of elderly, working class, non-college grads. It wasn't an Obama management thing at all.

But Clinton is right that Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, altogether, are crucial for both campaigns; losing any of them isn't good for either campaign. If Clinton loses all three, she's done. If Obama loses all three, it's tough going ahead.

Ohio is 161 delegates, 141 pledged. Texas, 228, 193 pledged. Pennsylvania, 188, 158 pledged. (Pa. is also a closed primary.)

Of course, the other remaining states still add up to more than those three put together, so they're hardly all there is, but they're among the more important contests where Clinton would seem to hold her strongest possibilities.

The remaining May and June 3rd contests may remain crucial to either candidate's chances.

I certainly hope this holds up.

Bush in an interview on FOX just made the fantastic argument that there is no point to taxing rich people, because they hire good accountants and don't pay any money anyway.

Uh?

And they accuse Democrats of the language of class warfare.

Gary - the expectations management by the campaign was more the relatively narrow victories they predicted yesterday, all of which were exceeded. If Obama wins Maine, again, he's outdoing projections.

And those projections, recall, have him winning the pledged delegate count anyway. You look at that memo, then you look at how he's done, and you say "Whoa, he really is going to win the pledged delegates, even if he doesn't win OH, TX, or PA!" And, hell, he might win there too.

My small Cumberland Co. town -- 7000 souls, 65% R 35% D by registration, broke 8-8. Turnout was 150, the biggest in 20 years (I can't vouch for before that). Both campaigns had out-of-state workers in the caucus, so it was a full-court press.

Bernard Yomtov -- I don't remember whether it was from a tower or just from up in the Camden Hills. But yes, it's what you can see from there.

I think that John is right that Wisconsin is becoming critical. If the polling out of Virginia and Maryland is accurate, we're looking at two more big wins for Obama. The problem with the Ohio/Texas firewall strategy for Clinton isn't momentum; I just don't think that that's a big factor this year. It's the fact that the firewall strategy depended upon her at least being competitive in some of these states.

Yesterday through the end of February distributes more delegates than Texas and Ohio combined. That difference is large enough, the next week has Wyoming and Mississippi, two states where you'd figure Obama would do well. Tack those two states on, and you get a total bigger than Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania together.

What that means is that, to keep pace, Clinton is not only going to have to win those states, she's going to have to win them by the same kind of margin that Obama is winning right now. That's a tall order. If she wins those states more along the lines of 55-45, she still might not keep tight enough in the delegate race for Obama to not have an edge in persuading superdelegates to come his way.

Clinton's other problem is that Ohio and Texas are both flat. She hasn't shown much ability to win where it's flat. Oklahoma and maybe New Jersey are pretty much it. Other than that, she only wins in hilly places. Unfortunately for her, Obama has started picking up wins where it isn't flat. Clinton needs to stop that trend.

That's why Wisconsin is important. A lot of it is flat, but not nearly as much as any of the other midwestern states. Having lived in Minnesota for twenty years, I consider the Land of Cheese to be almost mountainous.

Other than Wisconsin, look at the upcoming schedule:

Maryland: Flat
DC: Flat
Virginia: Hilly in the west, but more of the people are where it's flat
Hawaii: Not flat. I don't think that's going to help Clinton
Wisconsin: Only kind of flat
Texas: Flat
Ohio: Flat

Really, Wisconsin is Clinton's last shot.

Superdelegates are coming under pressure to follow the preferences of their constituents.

I suspect I won't be called upon to use my vote as an alternate at the County Assembly on March 15th, in which I'd have, among other issues, a vote for Mark Udall, or another candidate, for the Democratic nomination for Senate. I quite like Udall, from what I know of him, and would happily cast my vote for him.

But I'll also happily threaten to vote for his opponent if Udall won't pledge to follow the state's Democrats in overwhelmingly voting for Obama.

I recommend a similar course of action to any other Obama supporters elsewhere with a vote in their state Democratic apparatus at any level.

If Clinton supporters want to do the same in states where Clinton won or wins, their argument is equally fair and appropriate, of course.

Maine is now up to 70% reported:

Barack Obama has 1,564 votes, and 57.8% of the votes; Hillary Rodham Clinton 1,122, 41.5%
Uncommitted 17 0.6
Others 3 0.1

Clinton only won New Hampshire because of Chris Mathews.

I'm amazed at how easily the conventional wisdom on caucuses has changed. When the primary season began caucuses were presumed to favorite the establishment candidate. Now all of a sudden they are presumed to favor the upper middle class or the enthusiastic, or the young or something.

Caucuses DO favor the establishment candidate: after all it is harder to attend a caucus than to vote. You have to finnd it. Yu have to leave home. You have to be willinng to engage in discussion. You might even get sucked up in the whirlpool and find yourself in the role of a delegate.

But Obama has turned conventional wisdom on its head. Obama's approach--you win by having more voters, so go outside the base and get them--has worked brilliantly. He has succeeded in roping people into caucuses that didn't normally vote at all.

We aren't watching the caucuses get overrun by wine track voters. There aren't enought wine track voters to flood the caucuses so dramatically. My caucus--neara blue collar timber town, a small community collegee and some high end retirement communities-- was attended by a large contingent of first time voters, members of three labor unions, severl pot farmers, three people in wheelchairs and a whole bunch of upper middle class retirees.

Guess who the Hillary supporters were? That's right--the retirees.

I'd like to see some demographic data about the caucuses in Washington and Maine.

BTW, if we do the smart thing and nominate Obama, his campaign will have an awe-inspiring GOTV system in place that will swamp Republican dirty tricks and voter surpression.

79% now.:

Barack Obama 1,817 58.6%
Hillary Rodham Clinton 1,263 40.7
Uncommitted 17 0.5
Others 3 0.1
wonkie:
[...] You have to finnd it.
That's no different than finding your polling location in a primary, if you don't have mail voting in your state.
Yu have to leave home.
Again, the same.
You have to be willinng to engage in discussion.
That's not so. You can be silent as a block of wood, and no one forces you to listen to anyone, either; all you have to do, minimally, is either sign your name or raise your hand.

In a lot of these over-crowded caucuses, that's all anyone had a chance to do, in fact. And in most larger caucuses, most people say nothing, leaving it to a relative handful to speak up.

"But Obama has turned conventional wisdom on its head. Obama's approach--you win by having more voters, so go outside the base and get them--has worked brilliantly."

I wish to note -- and you likely know this perfectly well -- that there is nothing remotely original or new about this. It's how those of us who worked for Gary Hart in 1984 beat Mondale in our caucuses.

And the "changed conventional wisdom" about "[n]ow all of a sudden they are presumed to favor the upper middle class or the enthusiastic, or the young or something" is pure Clinton spin, of course.

The conventional wisdom on caucuses last time around, though, was "Dean lost because his young supporters didn't bother showing up &/or didn't know what they were doing--you need the people who've caucused before." Remember the skepticism about the Iowa poll because it assumed so many first timers? Obviously, they are helping Obama this time around--which is why I'm nervous about WI. He can win primaries but his enthusiastic supporters rack up more delegates in the caucuses. But that's a testament to his campign's get out the vote organization & his strategy, it's not just that the deck was stacked for him.

Also: yay wonkie! yay pot farmers for Obama! (I had a vague idea "hmm, doesn't Maine contain a lot more antiwar types than NH"? But this was based mainly on my going to an alternative school in Orono & my sisters' friends being named things like "Wind" over 20 years ago so I didn't want to bank on it to carry the state.)

And the "changed conventional wisdom" about "[n]ow all of a sudden they are presumed to favor the upper middle class or the enthusiastic, or the young or something" is pure Clinton spin, of course.

I disagree. Sure, it may be Clinton spin, but it's turning into a truth that's choking them. Sure, you managed to win Colorado for Gary Hart that way. How'd that campaign work out for Hart?

What has demolished the conventional wisdom is that Obama has managed to do this in state after state, which no one has managed to do before. The reason isn't even a secret. Unlike all of those other insurgent candidates that were going to win by turning out new voters, Obama has heaping piles of cash.

The people that have tried to do this before have tried to do it on the cheap, mostly because they didn't have a choice. So, it's always been an open question whether the strategy can actually lead to the nomination. At this point, Obama suggests that it is certainly possible, but that it's also expensive.

I was assuming that if one listenns one is engaged. Is there any state that doesn't supply an alternative to the pollinng place? Don't most places allow for absentee?

Caucuses can be intimdating for newbies. it is not a private, individual act to vote at one.
Besides at a caucus if you want your vote to couunt you have to make sure you get a delegate. Sometimes there are enought people for a delegate, but no one willing to do the job.

Caucusing is harder than voting: that's why campaigns do caucus training.

I can remember during the lead up to the iowa caucuses all the heart burnings about how the caucuses were in the hands of the party sctructure which favored Clinton. And under normal circumstances the caucus goers are the party activists. We had caucuses in my livingroom during my childhood. They were my attended by my mom and dad and their friends. Or that's how it seemed to me as a kid.

Of course I had a wierd perspective. For a long time I thought Democrat, Unitarian, Quacker and Jew were different names for the same people.

According to these official results, with 87% reporting, Obama seems to have 59%.

Wow.

Momentum.

CNN has 87% reporting:

Obama with 1,837 and 59% and 15 delegates, Clinton with 1,277 votes, 41%, and 9 delegates.

County results.

"Sure, you managed to win Colorado for Gary Hart that way."

Washington, actually. And a long list of other primaries and caucuses and states.

But I wasn't trying to claim that Hart won, so refuting that point isn't very interesting. Neither, obviously, was I trying to claim that Hart did as well as Obama, any more than I was trying to claim anything other than what I claimed: which is simply that going around the traditional caucus-goers by bringing a whole bunch of enthusiastic new people isn't a new strategy in itself.

That's all. It's not a knock against Obama, whom I'm a precinct captain for, and there's no reason to knock Gary Hart -- who has endorsed Obama -- to praise Obama.

"For a long time I thought Democrat, Unitarian, Quacker and Jew"

I should duck this one, but that's one of your classics, wonkie. ;-)

I'm going to waddle away, before you cry fowl. I just hope we can still all be Friends.

I am curious to see how the WA primary vote compares to the WA caucus.
I have been told that there was way too much shouting down and intimidation at the caucuses that some of my friends went to. There was some inappropriate behavior at the one I went to, too, but not as bad as I have seen in past years.
I wish we could get through this rediculous transition from caucuses to a primary and be done with it.

The terminological battle rages but seems to be deciding in favor of alliteration. Google News counts:

390 "potomac primary"
88 "potomac primaries"
46 "chesapeake primary"
12 "chesapeake primaries"
10 "beltway primary"
8 "beltway primaries"

I actually prefer "Chesapeake primary", since it covers a broader area, but at least the odious "Beltway primary" is losing.

Obama wins, 59-41 (and widening).

Don’t doubt me.

Interesting aside (via CNN): The GOP Caucuses.

Romney 52%
McCain 21%
Paul 19%
Huckabee 6%
Undecided 2%

Isn't the base supposed to rally around McCain now?

Sasha, note that the Maine Republican caucuses were February 2. Not "now."

Sasha, the Republican caucus in Maine was on February 2.

Man, and after all that time I spent reading the tea leaves last night... what a crush. Game over. Don't forget to turn out the lights on the way out.

Sasha - the Republican caucuses in Maine were last week.

In that comment I just linked, I did go into a long discussion about Ohio and Texas, and the importance of Wisconsin as a momentum-builder, but after tonight... I dunno.

I think Clinton's chances in Ohio and Texas are much worse than they seem to think, particularly with hyping both up so much (hello expectations game), but they have to actually hold on until then, and if they keep getting beat by 20+ point margins, that ain't gonna happen.

Isn't the base supposed to rally around McCain now?

I imagine that there is enough desire for someone to emerge as a compromise candidate from a brokered/broken convention and enough FUD floating around to make a thing like that seem like a good option. I certainly wouldn't put it past Guiliani or Thompson, and given Romney's a floppin' and a flippin', he could probably come out and say 'I know I said I was stepping aside, but when the people call, I must answer'. It was suggested that people like Limbaugh are swimming away from the potential whirlpool that the Republican campaign in general promises to be, but I wonder if their grasp of reality is that good. I tend to think of them as thinking that a hail mary pass will have them winning the game on the last play.

Clinton'a campaign manager quit, in case you hadn't heard.

"Clinton'a campaign manager quit, in case you hadn't heard."

Yes, five hours ago.

:-)

Mm, more like 3 1/2, actually.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager didn’t quit. Nobody quits those kinds of jobs. The question is how much did Doyle receive in exchange for the nicey-nice resignation letter.

"Solid friendships are more valuable in politics than gold."
-Patti Solis Doyle

Hillary is not as smart as I had thought she was. She just broke two simple rules:

1. You never openly change horses in the final stretch; you look desperate. Do it behind the scenes if at all possible (this one must have had the nails scratching and fur flying).
2. When you need to win a Democratic primary in Texas, never fire a Mexican campaign manager and replace her with a black campaign manager ahead of the vote.

Adam, in your tea leaves reading linked above, you should've looked up the demographics of Maryland - it's 30% Black. Combine that with all the educated, liberal white people in Montgomery County (suburban DC), and it's a great state for Obama, even if Clinton does well in the rural areas (far from certain) and the white working class parts of Baltimore. He should easily win by wide margins.

If 40% of the primary electorate is Black, and Obama wins 80% of the Black vote, as he's done everywhere else, he only needs 30% of the non-Black vote to win. Instead, the white vote should be split pretty evenly. Obama in a walk.

Earkier today, on a different thread, I stated that I felt that Clinton was probably going to win the nomination.

I felt she stood a good chance to win tonight and that would stop Obama's momentum to some degree.

Even if Obama won tonight I felt it would be so close as not to matter.

But a 20 point win (currently 19.6) in a state where Clinton was favored, a state with all the demographics that work against Obama is quite honestly unbelievable.

If he sweeps Tuesday, which appears likely, and with the ground game already in place in Wisconsin, Texas and Ohio, he may come out of March 4 with the nomination, for all intents and purposes all wrapped up.

If he wins even two of the above states, specially if the victories are by 10% or more, the superdelegates will have to start coming out for Obama for their own sake.

Meanwhile, what in God's name is going on in the Washington GOP race? It looks for all the world like the powers that be waited until McCain pulled a bit ahead and then stopped counting. Surely even the GOP... OK, strike that, they would. But will they get away with it?

Sasha - the Republican caucuses in Maine were last week.

[headdesk]

Never mind.

While we're prognosticating: here's an interesting post about Hawai'i. I know precisely nothing about Hawai'i politics (if anyone reading does, please do chime in!), but it was an interesting counter to the 'it's Obama's home state, of course he'll win' argument.

Utterly non-random data point: I did a little phone banking today in Baltimore. Found zero Clinton supporters.

Well, I was glad to see "Chinese-Americans for Obama" signs at the celebration in Chinatown today. Not that the Chinese vote is a big factor in DC, but still. There were a fair number of Hillary signs around, too.

A serious stand in Wisconsin seems totally plausible - the place doesn't look that demographically favorable for Obama

So far Obama has won the popular vote in Idaho, Alaska, Kansas, Washington, Georgia, Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, South Carolina, North Dakota, Louisiana, Maine, Utah, Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, Connecticut and Missouri,

Given those facts, what, exactly are the demographics in Wisconsin that seem unfavorable to Obama? As a demographic non-expert I would consider the demographics in Wisconsin to be similar to those in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota. But perhaps there is some demographic trait peculiar to Wisconsinites that those states do not share. Care to clue us in?

Adam, in your tea leaves reading linked above, you should've looked up the demographics of Maryland - it's 30% Black. Combine that with all the educated, liberal white people in Montgomery County (suburban DC), and it's a great state for Obama, even if Clinton does well in the rural areas (far from certain) and the white working class parts of Baltimore. He should easily win by wide margins.

Yeah, I was kind of unclear -- I don't think that Clinton will win Maryland, though I'm much more certain about that now than I was earlier.

Frankly, I wasn't too sold on MD in the first place, since it's an open primary -- all I was trying to say was that it seemed like a better shot for Clinton than Virginia (which is 20% black), and I think she has to win one of the two, or at least do decently, in order to slow down the Obama juggernaut. Losing 7 primaries in a row by 20+ point margins would mean it's pretty much time to pack it in, IMO.

At this point I'm just trying to come up with the scenario for how she stays afloat 'til March 4th, delegate/convention shenanigans notwithstanding (and really, I think that's the likely outcome at this point).

Hilzoy - if Hawaii were a primary, I might have some concern. But it's a caucus, and the Clintons are almost certainly going to basically concede it to focus on Ohio and Texas. I don't see Obama losing.

Yes, five hours ago

Totally missed that. Man, you just scoop me in everything.

I blame the spamfilter. I think it's hiding our comments from each other because it thinks it's funny.

Oh, and brilliant analysis, J. Michael Neal. Well done :)

The one thing I can say about Wisconsin, from my 20 some years living there is that the voters, particularly Democratic voters, tend to be somewhat anti-establishment.

Not only is this the state of Feingold, but Proxmire, LaFollette, etc. And there is a great deal of pride in that.

The Madison area will go strongly for Obama, Milwaukee will go for Obama and the great North woods, from what I am hearing from relatives will probably go for Obama.

The more Clinton attempts to push, the more they will abck away from her.

My guess right now would be Obama 58-42.

Given those facts, what, exactly are the demographics in Wisconsin that seem unfavorable to Obama?

I don't think it's demographics. It's a primary, which is good since Clinton apparently can't win caucuses. However, it's an open primary, which tends to favor Obama since he potentially gets Republican and independent voters.

The big wildcard is that the Republican primary is the same day, so depending on how competitive the Republican race is, that potentially siphons off Obama votes and we might end up with the same sort of situation we had in New Hampshire -- Clinton on the ropes and pulling out a large part of her base because they only have one state to focus on. I think that's the scenario.

Also, I don't think that she necessarily has to win, thought that would be huge -- just exceed expectations enough to give the media the ability to paint the race as competitive going into Ohio and Texas. If she loses big there, it's two weeks of "Obama is unstoppable," and Clinton is in big trouble going into March 4.

"While we're prognosticating: here's an interesting post about Hawai'i."

Here's what seems questionable about it to me: a) the writer appears to have made no attempt to get a quote from an Obama source in Hawai'i.

b) although Washington's results were caucuses, and therefore there were no exit polls, Washington has the fifth largest Asian population in the country, with 7.69%. I'd love to know what percentage went for Clinton versus Obama, but my suspicion is that it at least wasn't as one-sided as California.

I could, to be sure, be totally wrong, and there may be no way of knowing.

But perhaps there is some demographic trait peculiar to Wisconsinites that those states do not share. Care to clue us in?

A couple of possibilities that could play either way. Madison is a very liberal place (I would say it is a Midwest Berkeley, but someone might say that Berkeley is a West Coast Madison), but with a very large and deep rooted feminist movement. So, there could be a break for HRC, or, alternatively, an over ambitious push by liberals who are strongly to the left could turn off some more traditional Dem voters.

This analysis may be wildly off, but I do think that Wisconsinites view themselves as slightly apart from their neighbors. And, of course, Chris Matthews is still wild and on the loose. But, if nothing surfaces that would cause some sudden change, I would tend to discount a Clinton win, but I do agree that it is certainly becoming the place for a Clinton last stand.

Yeah, john's right --- I really don't expect Clinton to win Wisconsin. ARG's Feb 8 poll has Clinton 50, Obama 41. More polls here show a pretty consistent Clinton lead, but we've all seen how that's turned out so far.

The bottom line is that Clinton just can't afford to get clobbered in Wisconsin as badly as she just lost the last 4 contests, especially if VA and MD go badly. Both campaigns are going to fight hard there. (And in the states Clinton's actually, you know, contested, she's done at least decently.)

While we're prognosticating: here's an interesting post about Hawai'i. I know precisely nothing about Hawai'i politics (if anyone reading does, please do chime in!),

Dude's clueless about race in Hawaii.

Folks there definitely think and act differently than those from the mainland. There's a reason why they call the mainland boys "katonks" (sound of rapping on an empty coconut).

For one thing, he totally misses the corollary to his point about the Japanese running the islands. In order for that to be true, the Asian group differences have to be salient to Hawaiians (which they are). That means trying to treat them as a single group, acting en masse, is entirely the wrong way to go about it.

The one group identity that holds across groups is Hawaiian vs. non-Hawaiian (see katonk). And folks generally identify as Hawaiian even after they go to school on the mainland, get jobs and live here for decades.

If they include him in the group, he'll win. If they don't, he won't. Nothing in his article gives any indication that they're not (hell, if he does a Punahou/Iolani spot, he'll cement his group status in a flash).

May I say how completely wonderful it is to find myself, through sheer blind luck, able to ask a question like "so, anyone know what to make of this article?" and get actual informed answers from smart interesting people?

I mean, it's one of those things that periodically makes me look up and think: wow, I am really, really lucky.

End of maudlin (yet entirely sincere) moment. Back to your regularly scheduled program. :)

I haven't been clicking on links, so apologies if this has already been put up, but this KING-TV survey has some numbers for Washington State, with a racial breakdown among other points. The distinction between willing to vote and willing to caucus seems to have gotten them pretty close to the actual figures.

I'll keep beating the drum - I don't see how it's possible for him not to sweep Tuesday. He'd just have to ridiculously underperform his past numbers to lose places as demographically favorable as those three states. Maryland, in particular, is virtually the ideal state for Obama - the same number of black people as you have in Georgia, and the same kind of white people as you have in Connecticut. Virginia's not quite as good, but expect big victories on Tuesday.

"Madison is a very liberal place (I would say it is a Midwest Berkeley, but someone might say that Berkeley is a West Coast Madison), but with a very large and deep rooted feminist movement."

LJ's point here shouldn't be discounted. There really are quite a lot of quite fervent feminists around Madison, and quite a few are sure to come out for Clinton (although not the truly radical, of course).

But it would make a lot more of a difference if it was a caucus state. In a primary, the numbers are far less proportionally significant.

A little more on Wisconsin and why the demographics really suck for Clinton:

Wisconsin's cities are overwhelmingly African-American. That's really bad for Clinton considering how dependent she's been on the urban vote so far. There's also no Hispanic vote to speak of (<4%).

The state's economy is based heavily around manufacturing, which is Obama's bread and butter.

Also a bunch of rural areas that were red in 2004, which favors Obama. (Think Iowa.)

Finally, the 2004 voting breakdown favors Obama -- lots of young voters, very balanced Repub/Ind/Dem (38/27/35), tends conservative/moderate/liberal (32/49/20). That last one is probably the killer.

Dude's clueless about race in Hawaii.

Kind of interesting, cause it sounded at first like his (Chinese) family are long time Hawai'i residents. But with a name like Barron YoungSmith, there's got to be an interesting family history there.

Thanks, LJ. Although it was a pre-caucus survey, and thus by no means a precise measure of the actual caucus (which, of course, is not a precise representation of the views of the larger population of Democratic voters), it's certainly a worthwhile datapoint to see that they had it Obama 51% of Asian caucusers, Clinton 43%, and undecided 5%. I'm not surprised at all, but was far too cowardly to go out on a limb with a guess.

Of course, as gwangung notes, considerations in Hawai'i are wildly different than on the mainland, anyway.

Although I do think that in that context, when considering the notion of the Clinton campaign "giving up" on Hawai'i, I'd tend to think that the competition in Hawai'i stands pretty independently, no matter what; I doubt that support from the mainland is all that central, so I'm a bit skeptical that there would be many noticiable resources that the Clinton campaign -- or the Obama campaign, if it came to it -- would be drawing away from Hawai'i that would otherwise be going there. So I'm doubtful that there'd be much of that sort of thing going on, money or personnel wise, or in any other way that would make a difference, in any case.

But if anyone who knows more would like to tell me why I'm wrong, I'm quite prepared to believe any good case.

Well, if he's speculating about a difference between Hawaiians and mainland Asian Americans, then he doesn't know much (I mean, a katonk like me knows they're different). Missing the big stuff of intergroup dynamics, let alone the nuances, isn't very encouraging.

Dude's clueless about race in Hawaii.

Agree completely. That post read to me like somebody trying to trade on an attenuated local connection to sound plausible despite not having clue one about Hawaii.

Having said that, I don't think it's unthinkable that Clinton's support from Senator Inouye and chunks of the party establishment could be enough to let her steal Hawaii or at least come closer than expected. But I don't think it's likely. If I were going to bet, I'd bet on the local boy factor coming through in a pretty big way.

But if anyone who knows more would like to tell me why I'm wrong, I'm quite prepared to believe any good case.

Gary, I don't think it's that you're wrong so much as that I don't think it'll matter one way or another.

Like I said last night, I'd be very surprised if Clinton won there, but I think the bottom line is that Wisconsin will dominate the news no matter what. Consider the possible outcomes.

1. Obama wins Hawaii. Total non-event no matter what happens in Wisconsin.

2. Clinton wins Hawaii, but loses Wisconsin. The Clinton campaign might try to spin this as "beating Obama on his own turf," etc., but it'd make them look desperate or like they're trying to save face in the face of a Wisconsin loss, so they can't make too much of it.

3. Clinton wins both. That'd be huge, because then they get the "beating Obama on his own turf" story and the "our campaign is not yet dead" story -- but really, Hawaii would just be gravy. Clinton just has to survive until March 4th.

All that said, I still think there's no way Clinton wins Hawaii. First, it's a caucus. Second, as I recall Obama actually won the Asian vote in WA. Third, Obama will spend money in Hawaii to hedge against a loss. Fourth, he has a massive homefield advantage. Fifth, he'll get support in the state without spending money at all, just from personal contacts. Sixth, the upside for Clinton is minimal at best, so she has no reason to spend money there at all. It's just not going to happen.

Thanks, LJ. Although it was a pre-caucus survey, and thus by no means a precise measure of the actual caucus (which, of course, is not a precise representation of the views of the larger population of Democratic voters), it's certainly a worthwhile datapoint to see that they had it Obama 51% of Asian caucusers, Clinton 43%, and undecided 5%. I'm not surprised at all, but was far too cowardly to go out on a limb with a guess.

Well, the Washington conditions are different than NY and California, too; there's a history of inter-group cooperation among the different Asian groups. Sniffing around the community, I felt the politically active parts of the Asian American community were Obama partisans (all the caucus attendees I knew went very strongly for Obama), I don't know how that generalizes to other parts of the Asian community, though, since there are generational differences--the later generations are distinctly very well educated and younger, while the older, immigrants are more blue collar. And, of course, in other areas, the different Asian groups can be more clannish.

I think that anyone setting themselves up to be an expert in this campaign (including myself) are going to be proven wrong if they guess at something. Things just seem to be too unpredictable to say anything with certainty.

Hm. I think I like that.

Having said that, I don't think it's unthinkable that Clinton's support from Senator Inouye and chunks of the party establishment could be enough to let her steal Hawaii or at least come closer than expected.

Oh, yeah, that's possible. But Clinton got the endorsement of both Washington senators and former WA governor Gary Locke (still very popular; still Chinese American), and Obama still cleaned up here in Washington. As you said, the local boy connection will probably take over.

For the sake of sheer worthless exactitude: with 99% of precincts reporting, and using my handy calculator, I get Obama with 59.47% of delegates, and Clinton with 39.93%. Pretty close to the elusive 20 point spread.

I'll certainly do my part. And a totally unscientific survey--table of mostly older local (Okinawan) people at a wedding last night--didn't suggest that there's a lot of Clinton partisanship out there. But we'll see a week from Tuesday.

Also, wow:

""Around the country we've seen high Democratic turnout and Maine has joined the chorus of other voices across the nation calling for change," said Arden Manning, Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party. "The numbers tell a story here. Earlier this month, 5,000 Republicans gathered around the state to caucus for their nominee. Today, close to 45,000 Mainers attended the Democratic caucus. The message is clear: Mainers have seen what 8 years of Republican control looks like and they are ready for a change."

Sunday's Democratic turnout exceeded the previous record, set in 2004, by almost 28,000 votes."

Nine times as many Democrats caucused as Republicans did? And they more than doubled the previous turnout record?

Wow.

Nine times as many Democrats caucused as Republicans did? And they more than doubled the previous turnout record?

Man, November is going to be so awesome.

Let's not get cocky.

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