When There Is Nothing Left to Burn You Have to Set Your Campaign on Fire


The much-maligned Zogby poll, which so badly blew the New Hampshire and California* primaries, actually did quite well in Pennsylvania and Texas. Zogby's tactic is to enter the field late and publish poll results over the last week before voters go to the polls; in those last two states** that meant he caught late movement to Hillary Clinton and called the results exactly right.

Here's what Zogby's saying about post-Wright North Carolina, where 15 percent of voters say the pastor's soured them on Obamania:

Obama—50 percent
Clinton—34 percent
Someone else(?)—8 percent
Other—8 percent

And Indiana's a 42-42 tie, with 21 percent of voters fretting about Wright. Zogby's outlook is a bit sunnier for Obama than most pollsters, but I'm convinced that he's worth following again. There's just no way that Obama can lose a state, like NC, where close to 40 percent of voters will be black. He'd have to lose the white vote by 60 points to lose, worse than he even did in Mississippi, and North Carolina has a fair sight more college kids and latte liberals than Haley Barbour's fiefdom.

I bring this up because of the engaging back-and-forth going on between Daniels McCarthy and Larison over at the AmCon. Larison thinks Obama has been done in by Wright; McCarthy thinks he's hit his nadir and is bound to rise against a GOP opponent who hasn't taken a punch all year.

The political environment that exists now, however, is nothing like the one that will exist in the summer, let alone November, when the Democrats will be fighting McCain instead of each other and the media glare will be upon the Arizonan as well as Obama. The present circumstances are—as several commentators, including me, have pointed out—the best that McCain is likely to enjoy for the rest of the season. I suspect present conditions are also nearly rock-bottom for Obama, though it's a mistake ever to underestimate how much slime a Clinton can excrete. Nevertheless, barring new skeletons spilling out of Obama's closest, the race is going to get better for him and worse for McCain.

McCarthy daydreams about the Democratic Convention and the bounce Obama will get when the party unites behind him. I think that's right, and I think Obama's Wright explosion this week, paradoxically, is making an Obama nomination more likely. For the first time Obama's entering a primary as bruised and mocked as Bill Clinton was before the 1992 New Hampshire primary. A week ago he was expected to win North Carolina easy, and Indiana would be the "tiebreaker" that the media paid attention to. Now if he loses Indiana narrowly and wins North Carolina by about 10 points (the black vote plus 30 percent of whites), he can sieze back the spin.

Another Zogby result from earlier in the week, predicting a four-way general election:

Obama (D)—45 percent
McCain (R)—42 percent
Barr (L)—3 percent
Nader (I)—1 percent

Barr rises to 4 percent in a Clinton matchup.

*Some of the explanation for that was the high absentee vote for Clinton. She won on election day narrowly, but won big with postal voters.

**Yes, Mississippi and Wyoming came between them, but they were so safely Obama that no one really polled them.

NEXT: Attn: SoCal Reasonoids — McCainapalooza Tour!

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  1. We seem to be missing a couple of footnotes.

  2. though it’s a mistake ever to underestimate how much slime a Clinton can excrete


  3. Polls consistently show 20-30% of Democrats saying they will not vote for the other candidate vs. McCain.

    Those numbers are similar to previous contests, and historically, that number has proven to overstate previous voting patterns by a factor of four.

    So, head-to-head general elections matchup polls taken today have a built-in underestimation of the Democratic candidates, even without the speculation about what the race will look like in the summer and fall.

  4. Wait, I’ve got that wrong. That 20-30% number needs to be cut in half, since that’s both candidates’ supporters.

    So, we’re talking about 10-15% of the Democratic primary electorate. Generously assuming a 50/50 partisan split, that’s 5-7.5% of the overall primary electorate.

    Conservatively assuming that the primary electorate is only 20% of the general election electorate, that’s a 1-1.5% built-in underestimation of the Democratic candidates’ votes.

  5. I don’t claim to know what is going to happen but Zogby being right in Penn is the equivilent of a stopped clock being right twice a day. I wouldn’t use his results as anything but fish wrapper. The guy has been too wrong too many times for one correct prediction to make any difference in his credibility.

  6. Barr getting 4 percent in the general is huge, if those numbers are accurate.

  7. Barr’s poll numbers are interesting, but does anyone really know who Bob Barr is? A pollster doesn’t explain the positions of each candidate. So is the 3-4% really for Barr or is it for any generic “Libertarian” candidate?
    Even if half the polled percentage disappears it would mean the highest LP vote for president ever. Because voters will be paying attention, then it is important the LP put someone up who can calmly, rationally, and
    convincingly explain real libertarian positions, and not some pale imitation of Reagan Republicanism.

  8. Creech — you got a problem with the LP finally getting above 1% of the vote? With Republicans disaffected by the last 7 years jumping ship and becoming more libertarian? Most importantly, with the LP becoming the crucial swing voters become their numbers are greater than the margin of victory in swing states?

    I’ll vote for any LP candidate besides Gravel, and if Barr can pull in the votes and get some air time to explain libertarian principles, good on ya mate.

  9. Zogby’s polling is either really good or really bad.

    They rarely seem to do just ok.

  10. Prolefeed, I’m voting Libertarian no matter who is the candidate. I’m saying the poll results are probably for “Libertarian Candidate,” not for Barr and that the Denver convention should take advantage of the opportunity – that is, the LP will corral significant votes – to make sure he/she is a candidate we can be proud of as libertarians.

  11. Barr’s numbers will never go above the percentage of fat in low-fat mother’s milk. Borat put a curse on the man.

  12. “I’m voting Libertarian no matter who is the candidate.”

    Some of the other meaningless things I do is clean my toe mustard out with cur tips, sleep with my head at the bottom of the bed, and shit with my feet on the toilet seat.

  13. That poll basically offers a choice between two leftists and two conservatives. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Libertarian Party actually nominated a libertarian instead?

  14. I’ll be voting for whomever the Libertarian candidate is, even if it is Gravel…. He’s an unlikely choice for the party, but my wrath for Republicans and Dems is far keener than any mild distaste for Gravel.

    He’ll get his dots connected soon enough.

    Barr does have a decent amount of name recognition, which is to his credit. In an ideal world, voters would care enough to research those with whom they are unfamiliar.

  15. Paul vs. Clinton

    The lawsuit claims that Peter Paul was fraundulenty induced to make a 1.2 million in-kind contribution to Senator Hillary Clinton’s 2000 senate campaign in exchange for former President Bill Clinton to be a rainmaker for this company once he left the White House. Paul claims that former President Clinton backed out of the $17 million deal, and his company collapsed.

  16. 4% for Barr in the national election translates to over 5 million votes.

    Think about that for a second. The highest the LP ever achieved in the past was 920,000 with Ed Clark in 1980.

    Such a vote total would immediately propel the Libertarian Party into a position of major prominence within the American electorate. They will indeed be “America’s Third Party.”

    The GOP is likely to react post-November with a major shift towards the libertarian side, to pick up that libertarian support.

    It’s a win/win for the entire libertarian movement.

  17. BTW, if you all haven’t heard yet, London England just elected a “Libertarian” as Mayor. Just minutes ago, it was confirmed that the Tory, self-described “libertarian” beat incumbent Leftist Livingstone.


    If you think like Barack Obama, that WORKING CLASS PEOPLE are just a bunch of “BITTER”!, STUPID, PEASANTS, Cash COWS!, and CANNON FODDER. 🙁

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think Barack Obama with little or no experience would be better than Hillary Clinton with 35 years experience.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience can fix an economy on the verge of collapse better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) led the greatest economic expansion, and prosperity in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience fighting for universal health care can get it for you better than Hillary Clinton. Who anticipated this current health care crisis back in 1993, and fought a pitched battle against overwhelming odds to get universal health care for all the American people.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience can manage, and get us out of two wars better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) went to war only when he was convinced that he absolutely had to. Then completed the mission in record time against a nuclear power. AND DID NOT LOSE THE LIFE OF A SINGLE AMERICAN SOLDIER. NOT ONE!

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience saving the environment is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) left office with the greatest amount of environmental cleanup, and protections in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with little or no education experience is better than Hillary Clinton. Whose 😉 husband (Bill Clinton) made higher education affordable for every American. And created higher job demand and starting salary’s than they had ever been before or since.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that Obama with no experience will be better than Hillary Clinton who spent 8 years at the right hand of President Bill Clinton. Who is already on record as one of the greatest Presidents in American history.

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think that you can change the way Washington works with pretty speeches from Obama, rather than with the experience, and political expertise of two master politicians ON YOUR SIDE like Hillary and Bill Clinton..

    You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you think all those Republicans voting for Obama in the Democratic primaries, and caucuses are doing so because they think he is a stronger Democratic candidate than Hillary Clinton. 🙂

    Best regards

    jacksmith… Working Class 🙂

    p.s. You Might Be An Idiot! 🙂

    If you don’t know that the huge amounts of money funding the Obama campaign to try and defeat Hillary Clinton is coming in from the insurance, and medical industry, that has been ripping you off, and killing you and your children. And denying you, and your loved ones the life saving medical care you needed. All just so they can make more huge immoral profits for them-selves off of your suffering…

    You see, back in 1993 Hillary Clinton had the audacity, and nerve to try and get quality, affordable universal health care for everyone to prevent the suffering and needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of you each year. 🙂

    Approx. 100,000 of you die each year from medical accidents from a rush to profit by the insurance, and medical industry. Another 120,000 of you die each year from treatable illness that people in other developed countries don’t die from. And I could go on, and on…




    It’s time for everyone to face the truth. Barack Obama has no real chance of winning the national election in November at this time. His crushing defeat in Pennsylvania makes that fact crystal clear. His best, and only real chance of winning in November is on a ticket with Hillary Clinton as her VP.

    Hillary Clinton seemed almost somber at her Pennsylvania victory speech. As if part of her was hoping Obama could have proved he had some chance of winning against the republican attack machine, and their unlimited money, and resources.

    But it is absolutely essential that the democrats take back the Whitehouse in November. America, and the American people are in a very desperate condition now. And the whole World has been doing all that they can to help keep us propped up.

    Hillary Clinton say’s that the heat, and decisions in the Whitehouse are much tougher than the ones on the campaign trail. But I think Mr. Obama faces a test of whether he has what it takes to be a commander and chief by facing the difficult facts, and the truth before him. And by doing what is best for the American people by dropping out of the race, and offering his whole hearted assistance to Hillary Clinton to help her take back the Whitehouse for the American people, and the World.

    Mr. Obama is a great speaker. And I am confident he can explain to the American people the need, and wisdom of such a personal sacrifice for them. It should be clear to everyone by now that Hillary Clinton is fighting her heart out for the American people. She has known for a long time that Mr. Obama can not win this November. You have to remember that the Clinton’s have won the Whitehouse twice before. They know what it takes.

    If Mr. Obama fails his test of commander and chief we can only hope that Hillary Clinton can continue her heroic fight for the American people. And that she prevails. She will need all the continual support and help we can give her. She may fight like a superhuman. But she is only human.

    Sen. Hillary Clinton: “You know, more people have now voted for me than have voted for my opponent. In fact, I now have more votes than anybody has ever had in a primary contest for a nomination. And it’s also clear that we’ve got nine more important contests to go.”


    Jacksmith… Working Class 🙂

  20. Nice Stars reference, Weigel. I was just listening to that album yesterday.

  21. You are an idiot if you equate experience with being married to Governor or President.

    Personally, I think it was a mistake not to defend the Clinton Administration in 2000 and 2004. But to pretend you have experience from being a wife, a lobbyist (albeit for a not for profit group) and a lawyer for the biggest law firm in Arkansas does not give you 35 years experience. Hillary Clinton has a year experience working on universal health care during the Clinton Administration and 8 years as a Senator —- all of this is great experience. 35 years —- give me a break

  22. Well, I doubt that Jacksmith will be back cuz he seemed like more of a *ahem* hit-and-run spammer than anything else, but just in case I have to say to him:

    Dude, I think you took a Right turn when you shoulda turned Left at Albaqoikie.

    This here is reason.com. Nobody here is voting in the Democratic Primaries, except for Joe and he’s only here because Affirmative Action forced us to take him.

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