Friday, March 07, 2008

Obama and the GOP in Tennessee...

Some interesting numbers via Kleinheider about the state of the Democratic campaign in Tennessee from the Nashville Scene:

SurveyUSA has a splashy new poll out this afternoon that looks at Obama-McCain and Clinton-McCain matchups in all 50 states as a way to estimate how the electoral college would play out if the election were held right now. In Tennessee the poll shows Obama trailing McCain by 16 points (54-38), but finds Clinton and McCain locked in a 46-46 tie. Aggregating to a national result, the poll shows either Clinton (276 electoral votes) or Obama (280 electoral votes) winning without Tennessee in the Democratic column.

The internals show how tough it will be for Obama, if he’s the nominee, to make a serious run at Tennessee’s 11 electoral votes. Obama’s strength nationally comes in large measure from popularity with young voters and independents, but the somewhat counterintuitive results of this poll find him doing worse than Clinton among both groups in a general election matchup here. Obama lags McCain among Tennessee independents by a whopping 37 points (61-24), compared to a 24-point deficit for Clinton (56-32). Among Tennesseans aged 18-34, Clinton beats McCain by 10 points, while Obama has just a 3-point edge. Among those who describe themselves as moderate (rather than liberal or conservative), Clinton beats McCain by 18 points, while Obama trails McCain by 1 point.

And the kicker: Only 66 percent of Tennessee Democrats prefer Obama over McCain (Clinton draws 80 percent).

These are very interesting numbers that show what the Democratic Primary numbers in Tennessee showed-Barack Obama is not popular here, no matter how much his supporters try to slice and dice the numbers to make him more so than he is. Nobody disputes that at a national level, Obama is far more likely to defeat John McCain than Hillary Clinton-if the numbers hold as they are now.

From a Tennessee Republican perspective, however, who is better for the GOP down the ticket? I'd be willing to wager that more than a few folks in Nashville think that an Obama nomination, while it could mean McCain's defeat, could lead to Tennessee independents (and some disgruntled Tennessee Dems) voting Republican in some downticket races, leading to an even larger-than-expected victory for Lamar! in the Senate race and serious possibilities for Republican gains in the General Assembly.

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