Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Primary Education

The Democratic primary in New Hampshire is not over as I write, but a number of thoughts occur based on my experience as a political reporter, observer, kibitzer and rank guesser:

You cannot accurately poll in a primary, especially in a small state where the "n" is so small.

It was clear from the beginning that both Obama and McCain could not win, and when McCain wrapped it up early, it spelled doom for Obama. Why? Because more than 40 percent of New Hampshire voters were registered as independent and could vote in either party's race, meaning either Obama OR McCain but not both.

As any guy can tell you, tears work.

Women voted heavily in favor of Clinton, unlike they did in Iowa and there were far more women voting than men.

Obama peaked way too early, though he could not control the fawning coverage of TV commentators and, surprisingly, the paeans from the right wing crazies who wanted to look tolerant. As a result of the conventional stupidity, independents may have believed Obama did not need their votes and gave them to McCain.

It would be nice if you could only vote in a primary if you are a Republican or Democrat, so that your opponents cannot determine your party's nominee.

Bill Clinton should have been sent to the South Pole.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:39 AM

    1. I think the polls were not really off. The media made a big deal about the percentages of decided voters, and apparently assumed that the undecided would break the same way or for Obama. If you average the polls from Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday (see http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/latestpolls/index.html) you will find that Obama's average was 36% -- precisely the percentage he received. So the undecided broke for Clinton -- largely, I would guess, due to some impact from the "experience" argument and the extraordinary emotional answer on Monday. Still, it may be significant for later that the Obama/Edwards totals swamped Hillary. The media will not play it that way, but that will be unfortunate, because it still strongly suggests that Hillary cannot get enough enthusiasm in her own party and would not be able to attract very many Independents in the general election.

    2. The fact that more than 55% (my very rough calculation) of the primary voters chose the Democratic primary suggests that the idea that Obama was hurt by McCain may not be correct. That percentage is, I think, roughly the same -- or a bit higher -- than the Democratic victory in NH in 2006.