19 February 2008

Obama continues to roll

Barack Obama posted a larger than expected win in Wisconsin by carving chunks of support from Hillary Clinton's coalition, much as he did in the Potomac primaries.

Let's make this simple by skipping a lot of verbiage and go right to the numbers in the voting groups that Clinton had been carrying until last week's primaries in the mid-Atlantic.

Women: Clinton won this group tonight 50%-48%. Clinton had dominated this voting block until last week in Virginia when Obama won with about 60%. So Clinton regained some ground here.

White women: Clinton won 53%-45% in Wisconsin. The results were nearly identical in Virginia a week ago.

Families with income of $50,000/yr or below: Clinton again lost this once-solid demographic for her 46%-53%.

Education: Among high-school graduates the exit polls showed a dead heat 49%-49% - again an area where Clinton seems to be losing ground in a once-solid voting bloc.

Union membership: Obama topped Clinton in households where at least one family member is in a labor union 51%-47%. Among voters who themselves are in a union, the results were a tie.

Negative campaigning: 26% of those polled said that only Clinton attacked her opponent unfairly, and among that group 91% went for Obama; Just 6% said that Obama was the only candidate to attack his opponent unfairly. 27% said both took cheap shots at the other side.

Age: Obama won all age groups except those voters 65 and over. In Virginia Obama won literally every age group, so Clinton did reclaim some of her base among older Americans.

To summarize: Clinton regained some women, but didn't come anywhere near the levels she had wrung up among in the early primaries. She failed to take back those earning $50,000 or below, and failed to take back her lead among union members and union families. She also was unable to repeat her early performance among voters with only a high school education.

Her less-than-stellar performance in the lower-education, lower-income and unionized-worker groups does not bode well for Clinton as the race moves to Ohio and later to Pennsylvania.


Just two more observations and then we'll call it a night.

For the second time in key points in this campaign (South Carolina being the other), the voters have told the candidates - the Clintons in particular - that they are sick of negative campaigning.

The other point is a thought for Obama.

In breaking with campaign etiquette, Obama began his victory speech in Houston tonight before Clinton finished her non-concession speech in Youngstown.

It's not the first time that Clinton has not officially conceded on election night during this campaign - a breech of etiquette in itself.

But Obama would be wise from here on in to keep to the high road because his decision to upstage Clinton tonight smacked of the arrogance of a candidate who smells the nomination. It was unbecoming of the campaign he has tried to wage so far and he should think twice before doing it again.

Sometime around the time my alarm clock goes off at 4:30 a.m. EST we'll know what happened in Hawaii tonight. If you stay up for that you are more hardcore than I.

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