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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Yet More NH Outcome Theories

I know we need to move on regarding NH, but a couple more notions about HRC’s big win merit a mention. Karl Rove has some intriguing insights about NH in his Wall St. Journal article, “Why Hillary Won.” I thought these two were instructive:

Sen. Hillary Clinton won working-class neighborhoods and less-affluent rural areas. Sen. Barack Obama won the college towns and the gentrified neighborhoods of more affluent communities. Put another way, Mrs. Clinton won the beer drinkers, Mr. Obama the white wine crowd. And there are more beer drinkers than wine swillers in the Democratic Party.
The dirty secret is it is hard to accurately poll a primary…Our media culture endows polls — especially exit polls — with scientific precision they simply don’t have.

Rove sees HRC’s ‘Muskie moment’ as a big, humanizing net plus. He gives Obama’s track record a scalding critique, which may well become the GOP meme should he win the nomination. Obama’s long-term strategists might be wise to begin working on the rebuttal right now. Come to think of it, Obama is a very appealing candidate, but he could use a little warming-up too.
Rove clearly places a lot of value in the “likability” thing turning the tide for HRC. He does seem to want her to win the Democratic nomination, probably on the theory that her relatively high negatives make her vulnerable, as some netroots writers and a few msm’ers have charged. But that doesn’t mean Rove is right (see elections, 2006 for proof of his fallibility). IA and NH together have convinced me that any of our candidates can beat any of theirs on a good day. It’s up to Democratic activists, campaign workers and rank and file to make it a good day.
Another WSJ article, “Polls Missed Late Voter Shift, Key Absence” by June Kronholz has a couple of insights – one in particular – worth mulling over before we refocus on near and long-term campaign concerns. Kronholz explains:

Pollsters also overestimated the turnout of young voters, who overwhelmingly favored Mr. Obama in exit polls but didn’t surge to vote as they had in Iowa. Although Mr. Obama won the biggest share of independent voters and “walk-ups” (those registering to vote that day), neither was enough to offset the tide of women shifting to Mrs. Clinton.

In other words the youth vote returned to normal in NH. If she is right, somebody deserves a huge pat on the back for mobilizing the youth turnout in IA.
The last thought I have about NH: With 38 percent of NH voters making up their minds on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, is it so unlikely that a pivotal number of basically undecided voters said to themselves in effect. “Jeez, who died and made Iowa queen? I’m not 100 percent settled on any one candidate — they’re all pretty good — and I’m not quite ready to let a small fraction of Iowa’s eligible voters decide who runs the world. I guess the only way to slow things down for now is to vote for Hillary.”

One comment on “Yet More NH Outcome Theories

  1. C.B. on

    What suppressed the youth vote is not clear – but it’s clear it did not surge as needed. Hanover (Dartmouth) -netted Obama 1500 votes while Durham (Uof NH) netted him 500. Hardly enough to make a dent in Clinton machine that everyone knew was up and running going in.


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