Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Informed Comment on Obama's Election Spin

Grim notes that O thinks he can win without Ohio--and that he'll take some Red States to make up the deficiency.

Wrong-o, O.

Consider the conceit that Georgia is 'in play,' for example. I live in Georgia. I've spent most of my life in Georgia. The suggestion that Obama will win Georgia is just whistling past the graveyard. It's never going to happen.

The argument is that he will do it with "record turnout" among "unregistered black voters." Well, Georgia does have a lot of unregistered potential voters. Obama does have special appeal to black voters, and might energize them more than others have in the past. He also has a lot more money than McCain, some of which can be used for GOTV efforts in Georgia.

Furthermore, Georgia has gone to Democratic candidates more often than Southern states generally: Clinton in 1992, Carter in 1976. Nevertheless, Georgia isn't competitive this year. Carter was a former Georgia governor, and was a 'favorite son' who had been a fairly decent governor (and was therefore a deep disappointment as President). Clinton had the benefit of the Ross Perot candidacy, and the personal endorsement of Zell Miller, the current governor at the time, a hugely popular man whose opinion was widely trusted. There is no figure in Georgia politics as popular today, not even close.

Lacking that kind of personal appeal, Georgia voters have a very strong conservative preference. In 2004, Bush carried the state 58-41. In 2000, 55-43. In 1996, Dole beat Clinton 47-45 -- a year when Dole did horribly at the polls, in a state Clinton had won in 1992. Clinton won in 1992, by the way, 43-42, with Ross Perot carrying 13 percent of the vote. It's highly likely that almost all of Perot's vote came out of Bush's column. Meanwhile, the last governor's race had the Republican winning 58-38. That was in 2006, a wave Democratic year; and the Republican governor isn't even terribly popular.

So, Democrats in Georgia get between 38-45% of the vote. In a big year, with a popular Democratic candidate and an opposing candidate who doesn't really inspire, 45%. It's possible Senator Obama can top the high water mark. To win, however, he would have to improve his standing by six full points over the high water mark. Being black isn't enough to do that -- I say, "being black," because his campaign predicates its ability to make Georgia competitive on high black turnout and support, which is supposed to be possible among unregistered black voters because they are excited about Sen. Obama being black. Being a conservative Democrat might be enough -- I would say, this year, it would be enough -- but it's plain that he isn't any such thing.

Mind you, Grim is a fellow with Democrat proclivities.


Jay Bullock said...

Georgia is not the winning formula for Obama; there are red states in play more likely to flip than GA. Iowa, for example, seems unlikely to swing McCain's way.

So, Kerry states + Iowa + Virgina puts him at 272.

Kerry states + Iowa + NM and CO gives him 273.

And, besides, Obama is currently winning Ohio, so it may well be moot.

Chironomo said...

All of the "maps" being put together to demonstrate "possible" Obama victories all seem to have at least 3 if not four critical variables. This would seem to be overly optimistic..."If he wins all of the Kerry states AND he wins Iowa AND he wins Virginia, he could win without Ohio or Florida. But what if John McCaine wins just ONE of the Kerry states? That would blow this scenario, requiring Obama to then pick-up some other very unlikely state to make up the loss. Remember that despit the hype, Obama only barely won half of the support from the Democrat electorate. That can't be discounted in such a tight margined race.