Friday, April 11, 2008

No more national lead for Obama

For some time now, I've been touting the reality that it doesn't matter whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, they are going to have to deal with a close election and possible defeat. A new Associated Press poll released yesterday reinforces that argument:

Republican Sen. John McCain has erased Sen. Barack Obama's
10-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup, leaving him essentially tied with
both Democratic candidates in an Associated Press-Ipsos national poll released

The survey showed the extended Democratic primary
campaign creating divisions among supporters of Obama and rival Sen. Hillary
Rodham Clinton and suggests a tight race for the presidency in November no
matter which Democrat becomes the nominee.

An AP-Ipsos poll taken
in late February had Obama leading McCain 51-41 percent. The current survey,
conducted April 7-9, had them at 45 percent each. McCain leads Obama among men,
whites, Southerners, married women and independents.

Clinton led
McCain, 48-43 percent, in February. The latest survey showed the New York
senator with 48 percent support to McCain's 45 percent. Factoring in the poll's
margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, Clinton and McCain are statistically

Barack Obama is clearly more popular than Clinton among the Democratic base at this point, and for that reason he still has the upper hand if winning the nomination, but his national support among independents and cross-voting Republicans has now significantly waned. As I suspected, Barack Obama's coalition is a Democratic one only, and the
Red States that he is winning are not States he will be able to carry in the fall-period.

Obama will be able to carry those States that political analysts expect to "go Blue," or that traditionally trend Democratic in national elections. In addition to having lower support among white voters, Obama needs independents to win, and McCain is likely to keep his lead among that group. At this juncture, I do not believe that Barack Obama will carry a single Southern State, including Florida. Further, Obama will do as his Democratic predecessors have done in the previous two election cycles and lose every State in the Great Plains and the Mountain West (Gore did win New Mexico in 2000, Obama may not). He will win the three West Coast States and their huge electoral vote haul, but that won't be enough for him to win.

This means that once again, the General Election will come down (phrasing Tim Russert) to "Ohio, Ohio, and Ohio."

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