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« Iraq: More Air Strikes, More Civilian Causualties | Main | Gas Passes $4 Mark in North Florida »

May 23, 2008

Comments

Adam

There are a growing number of surveys that HAVE simply stopped polling McCain vs. Clinton. This most notably includes SUSA, who is the most accurate of the major sources and has become the de facto gold standard in polling this year. They've done a half dozen recent state polls that only included Obama vs. McCain.

Danny

It doesn't matter if they poll or don't poll. Hillary Clinton will win the nomination on June 3rd 2008. Hillary will be the next Presidential Nominee of the Democratic Party. Obama is supported by the people who alway's pick losers. The superdelegates are going to vote by the rules and Hillary will win because she and only she can beat McCain and put a Democrat back in the White House. Not only that Hillary will help down ticket Democrats - Obama will not.

D. Cupples

Adam,

I'd heard that some polling outfits were going to stop polling re: Hillary.

That doesn't change my opinion of it (as stated in my Rasmussen post).

You may like it. As a pretty staunch (though very civil) Obama supporter, it may seem logical to you to simply ignore Hillary before Obama officially becomes the nominee (if he does).

I find this indirect manipulation of public opinion to be horrifying -- just as I did when many media campaigned for Obama or the Iraq war.

Adam

There's no moral equivalence between the media cheerleading for the Iraq war, and SUSA dropping Clinton vs. McCain. None.

It's clear that a more honest discussion of the counterpoint to going to war in 2002/2003 would have been incredibly valuable. I would go so far as to say that there's hardly anything the media could have covered in that time frame that would have been more valuable.

The idea behind not taking polling data on Clinton vs. McCain is that there is maybe a one percent chance that they will matter. SUSA has limited resources and has decided that its resources are better spent taking more polls on the contest that is 99% likely to happen, as oppose to splitting resources evenly between the 99% and the 1%. They are increasing the relevance of their service by allocating resources this way.

Quite simply, SUSA has to make these sorts of decisions. Nobody (well, almost nobody) complains about the lack of Obama vs. Paul and Clinton vs. Paul races. Clinton's chances aren't quite the same as Ron Paul's yet, but she's getting there.

The other ENORMOUS difference is that there is no causality here. The MSM's actions in 2002/2003 actually tilted the outcome of the AUMF and the move toward war. SUSA's decision here has been made AFTER the outcome is more or less decided. Ethically, there's no comparison.

D. Cupples

Adam,

You seemed to react to someone's else statement instead of the one I wrote:

"I find this indirect manipulation of public opinion to be horrifying -- just as I did when many media campaigned for Obama or the Iraq war."

Nowhere did I use the word "moral." I was referring to objectivity, credibility, professional ethics, and trustworthiness. For me, it goes way beyond Hillary v. Obama.

The fact that I can't trust certain media or pollsters for objective reporting is what disgusts and horrifies me.

Obviously, the media's failure to objectively report pre-war news had the gravest of consequences.

I didn't say that the consequences were equal to pollsters' trying to shape public opinion re: Hillary v. Obama (instead of merely reporting it). But the underlying modus operendi is similar.

What other issues might media and pollsters choose to mislead us about?

Might some of them side with Bush on Telecom Amnesty? Might they try to sell us on privatizing social security, because certain network execs find it more personally beneficial? Might they try to turn us against a better health care system, because certain pollsters don't want their tax dollars to fund it?

I think the media has a duty to us consumers to report on the Hillary/Obama race more objectively and thoroughly. You know I think that.

Similarly, I think that pollsters who hold themselves out as scientific data-gatherers SHOULD at least gather AND report data objectively.

Many busy (or lazy) journalists scan tables and polling reports. They feed the public sound bites based on them.

If the pollsters are not objectively reporting, the public will get slop for info.

What you said about SUSA's resources sounds more like a massive speculation than an actual fact.

I took ONE political phone poll (early this year). I forgot which month, but I was asked about multiple candidates and match ups (e.g., Hillary v. Giuliani and Obama v. Romney).

My point: to ask one extra question (Hillary v. McCain) would NOT break the bank.

__

You said:

"The idea behind not taking polling data on Clinton vs. McCain is that there is maybe a one percent chance that they will matter."

First, your "one percent" sounds authoritative BECAUSE you inserted a number -- which you pulled out of the air.

Second, it doesn't matter IF the probability could be accurately calcuated and it turned out to be 1/2 of a percent. At this point, it's NOT ZERO.

The only way that Hill can get the nomination is 1) if she gets the popular-vote lead, and 2) if enough superdels are persuaded that she is more likely to beat McCain.

(PLEASE don't make up a probability figure in your response, because I'll just challenge its validity and we'll be back at square one).

Polling data -- and the media sound bites they help shape -- are a likely factor in some superdels' decision making.

Check out this article re: polling in swing states, which I think might be important to superdels:

http://blogs.cqpolitics.com/polltracker/2008/05/swing-state-polls-have-bad-new.html

Any pollster (or media) that refuses to report on Hillary v. McCain is depriving superdels of info they could use -- and they are having undue influence on our political process.

Again, it horrifies me, because there are many issues out there beyond Hillary v. Obama that I'd rather not see the public misled or deceived about.

Lastly, your Ron Paul comparison is invalid. McCain has won both the popular vote and the magic # of delegates. Thus, Paul truly does have zero chance of becoming the nominee.

Hillary and Barack are in a close race, and there are uncertainties.

Do we KNOW that the DNC won't decide on May 31 to let MI or FL count ? No.

Do we KNOW that Hill won't have taken the popular- vote lead on June 3? No.

Do we KNOW that numerous superdels won't commit (or switch) to Hillary based on a popular-vote lead or how they think she'll do against McCain? No.

I AGREE that Hillary's chances are SLIM, but Paul's are zero. There's a difference.

Adam

No, I'm responding to your statement, with open eyes. We are having a hard time communicating with each other. The reason I think this is, is the same reason I cited in another thread. You aren't looking at the math, so you fail to see how quixotic Hillary's quest for the nomination has become. Once you see that, not only are SUSA's motivations not really questionable any more, but it becomes clear how utterly irrelevant a few more poll results are to senator Clinton's chances.

Again, FL/MI is a red herring. If they are not seated, Obama has already won (i.e. he will clinch 2025 in early June without a single additional superdelegate endorsement). If they are seated, in full, he still only needs a very small number of superdelegates, and Hillary needs something approaching 90%. Obama has been winning the SD fight at a 4-1 clip or better for months, despite a constant barrage of the EXACT SAME arguments that you are citing here.

"The only way that Hill can get the nomination is 1) if she gets the popular-vote lead, and 2) if enough superdels are persuaded that she is more likely to beat McCain."

This argument presupposes a bunch of things I don't buy. Let's parse this piece by piece.

"if she gets the popular-vote lead"

Why is this necessary? We all know what a flawed measure this is - it's a red herring. You can already make the argument that Hillary has the lead if you count one (especially peculiar) way. Even if she has the lead by some other count at the end, it adds very little to her argument with the SDs. Sure, it sounds nice when Lanny Davis says it on Fox news, but it seems to me that Hillary can make her pitch with or without any particular popular vote metric.

"if enough superdels are persuaded"

Where is this "enough" coming from? Not the undecideds. She's not getting enough there. She only gets "enough" if she suddenly convinces COMMITTED Obama supporters to change their minds. There just aren't enough uncommitted SDs to get Hillary the nomination. Of course, the opposite is what is happening lately. (There was a C->O reversal yesterday, and word that there may be as many as 40 more SDs that have agreed to switch after the primaries end.)

"persuaded that she is more likely to beat McCain."

Well, if you think that's the key requirement, then I understand why you think Hillary still has a nontrivial chance of winning.

Nobody seriously questions Hillary's chances in the fall, in the "Obama somehow disappears from the picture" scenario. It's a quite reasonable (although debatable and ultimately unprovable) argument that Hillary has a better chance.

There has to be a sea change in superdelegate thinking, and no popular vote argument, or SUSA poll in Wisconsin, is going to do that. Hillary's electability is not the issue. Polls for her don't help her, because her electability is not being seriously questioned. Every slate of state-by-state polls has her doing fine. She doesn't need new polls to make that case. It's not an issue.

The ONLY thing that matters, the ONLY way superdelegates start jumping off the Obama express, is if something happens that convinces broad swaths of superdelegates that Obama is UNelectable. So really, the only polls that matter for Hillary at this stage are the Obama vs. McCain polls. If some massive scandal befalls Obama, then Hillary's argument is boosted. That's it - that's her only real path to the nomination at this stage. Or at least, the only one that requires her staying in - she gets the nomination if Obama dies, even if she suspends her campaign tomorrow.

My 1% was pulled out of you-know-where. I was just speculating on the chances of Obama having a serious scandal (or dying) in the next few months.

---

How is it "massive speculation" to say that SUSA has limited resources? Isn't that an obvious fact?

Sure, it doesn't break the bank to ask one more question. But they make these decisions all the time. The point on Paul is that Paul, or Gravell for that matter, was not being polled in GE matchups long before McCain clinched (or Gravell left the party). The pollsters have limited resources and pick only realistic matchups to poll.

Hillary and Obama are in a close race only in the sense that they have similar raw totals of delegates. But Obama's lead is something like having a 30 yard lead with 10 yards to go in a one mile race. Sure, it's a tiny lead compared to the overall distance, but you only lose if you fall down.

If Obama stumbles seriously, SUSA will put the Clinton questions back in. Nobody will really miss a beat - again, Hillary's problem right now has nothing to do with convincing SDs that she can beat McCain in a general election.

There is NO comparison between SUSA's actions, and manipulating public opinion in advance of a war. The value of presenting an alternative to going to war is not really debateable. By contrast, there's a perfectly reasonable argument for taking Hillary out of the polls at this point, and there's no need to assume bias.

D. Cupples

Good morning Adam,

Part I

I answered your resource argument well (SUSA), and YOU conceded to my answer: that one more question wouldn't break the bank.

Thus, it seems pretty obvious to both of us that resources are NOT the reason that SUSA stopped asking the one question about Hillary. I don't pretend to know what the real reason is.

We disagree re: manipulating public opinion. You haven't proven that NO superdels would consider Hillary's polling against McCain; thus, you haven't presented a persuasive defense of SUSA's decision to deprive superdels (and the public) of that data.

As I said in my last comment, I WASN'T saying that the consequences are just as bad (misleading re: war v. presidential race).

I was saying that I was disgusted (or horrified) by BOTH forms of manipulating public opinion. How is that not an acceptable stance?

I even gave you a list of issues about which I'd prefer the media and pollsters don't mislead the public.

You've likely figured out that I tend to think in terms of processes, standards, and potential for abuse.

That said, I don't get why you object to my not liking it when pollsters or media mislead the public. And fueling sound bites that give the IMPRESSION that the Dem race is over now is misleading, even if Hillary's chances are a mere 1/4 of a percent.

But I already argued all of this in prior comment. I can't argue it any better than I already did.

D. Cupples

Adam,

Part II:

SOMETIMES, I get the impression that you respond to me based on a skim reading of my statements OR based on other people's arguments that are in your head when you respond to me. NOT always, of course.

I HAVE seen the "math," and I AGREE with you that Hillary's chances are slim. I said so. But slim isn't zero.

I DON'T understand how MI and FL are "red herrings" with respect to Hillary's persuading superdels to commit or switch to her.

Your arguments and speculations haven't clarified this for me.

You quoted me then commented about something else:

"'The only way that Hill can get the nomination is 1) if she gets the popular-vote lead, and 2) if enough superdels are persuaded that she is more likely to beat McCain.'

"This argument presupposes a bunch of things I don't buy. Let's parse this piece by piece."

Please re-read the quote. It starts "The ONLY WAY" and ends with two "if" clauses. That's NOT an argument that these things will happen, and the "if" statements are NOT pre-suppostions but hypotheticals.

They don't assume anything, except that she COULD emerge with the popular vote lead and some superdels MIGHT comit or switch to her.

There's no rule or natural law prohibiting either of those possibilities -- even if they look like hyper-slim possibilities to you.

D. Cupples

Adam,

Part III

You said this re: popular vote:

"We all know what a flawed measure this is - it's a red herring.... Even if she has the lead by some other count at the end, it adds very little to her argument with the SDs. Sure, it sounds nice when Lanny Davis says it on Fox news...."

You seem to be trying to dismiss my thoughts as the mere parroting of others. For the record, I don't even have cable. I sometimes watch YouTube clips.

I think I've seen Lanny, but I don't remember what he looks like. (I also think he is connected to the Siegelman thing -- not in a bad way -- but I might be mixing up my Lannys).

I'm a pretty analytical thinker -- not that I'm always right, but I don't often blindly lap up other people's statements and assumptions. My questioning nature drove my parents nuts since I was a toddler. [Still drives my dad nuts, as he listens to Limbaugh.]

I KNOW that pop vote doesn't matter if a candidate gets the magic # of delegates. I'm NOT asking to upend the process/standards.

I don't get why popular vote is a "flawed measure" in terms of PERSUADING SUPERDELS to commit or switch. Some might not buy it, some might.

As I've said before, popular vote is a better measure of what the broader voter population than pledged delegates, if only because more than a dozen states had caucuses with very low turnout compared to primary states.

(PLEASE don't overlook that I've already said -- 3 paras back -- I'm NOT asking that we change the system right now).

If MI and FL votes count, what is that very small number of superdels that Obama would need?

And is that based on the assumption that superdels wouldn't switch to Hill based on the new landscape if MI/FL are included?

Yes, over the last couple months, Obama has picked up superdels -- based on the landscape at that time.

Part of that landscape was the DNC's arguing that the length of the race was causing the party divide and urging superdels to commit (to Obama).

I think the in-progress backlash is evidence that the DNC's own arguments and urgings have only intensified the party divide. This is part of TODAY's landscape.

I can't imagine now-committed superdels refusing to reconsider their commitment IF Hillary picks up all her FL delegates, some from MI (depending on what deal gets passed), and the popular vote lead come June 3.

Again, I'm NOT saying it will happen. Just that it could.

Incidentally, I really do understand that there aren't enough UNCOMMITTED superdels to give Hill the nomination -- which is why I keep talking about persuading committed and uncommitted SUPERdels.

You said:

"The ONLY way superdelegates start jumping off the Obama express, is if something happens that convinces broad swaths of superdelegates that Obama is UNelectable."

You MAY be right, but you're stating it as fact, and you haven't even described the basis of your statement.

You've mentioned scandals before as the ONLY way superdels would change their minds. How do you KNOW that's their only criteria for switching?

You're right: there have been a lot of defectors from Hill to Obama. The people who made the switch had nerves of steel.

What makes you think they don't have the nerve to switch back -- IF something convinces them that Obama won't do so well in Nov?

Or if they feel that choosing Obama would cause significant defections from the party?

I know that Obama supporters don't like entertaining these notions. Some even blow them off with arrogant statements like "We don't need those older farts, anyway."

I'm laughing now. As a former candidate, I know first hand that diminishing potential supporters' importance is NO way to get support.

Anyway, defections could be a REAL problem, given that spoiler candidates have screwed up elections with relatively small numbers of votes.

Defections could also be a long-term problem for the DNC.

The talk of defection over the last few months WASN'T just about sore-loser-ship (as one superdel said to me in an email).

A lot of Hillary-supporting Dems feel they have multiple causes to be mad at both the DNC and Obama. Many feel hurt and alienated. I'm not kidding.

TAKE OFF your engineer-who-studies-politics hat and try to imagine the perspective of people who DON'T have your knowledge and are far more fueled by emotion than you and I are.

Here's what a lot of them PERCEIVE (I say this based on anecdotal evidence from around the web):

1) They see Obama as unable to get the nomination UNLESS two states don't count. In short: they PERCEIVE a legitimacy problem.

2) They've seen since March party leaders (and Obama and the media) trying to end the race early.

3) Their thought re: #2: if Obama is so deserving, then he should go to the finish line and win. That, in their mind, also poses a legitimacy problem.

4) They see their own party's leaders willing to disregard their input and diminish their importance.

PLEASE remember (again): I'm just telling you what people with a different perspective than you have are expressing.

My own mother thinks Hillary has been treated grossly unfairly. She sums it up: "I don't see why they just can't go to the end." [Imagine it said with a Castilian accent.]

She doesn't study politics or even read my blog, but I forgive her because she's pushing 70 and isn't fond of the internet. She does have cable and likes the classical music station, which includes NPR reports, I think.

Anyway, today's landscape is different from the one in which some superdels committed or switched to Obama -- and intense party divisions are part of that new landscape.

Some supers might proudly take a "you can't threaten me" approach (like the one whom I chatted with over email).

Some might see beyond the pissing contest and realize that millions of Dems are genuinely dissatisfied with the party's (and Obama's) way of playing the last few months.

I guess we'll see. I still think that a joint ticket is the best way to go up against McCain.

Adam

I just looked it up, and now I realize why SUSA dropped Hillary. They are now polling a whole set of possible tickets. So after asking Obama vs. McCain, they ask Obama/Sebelius versus McCain/Romney, then Obama/Rendell versus McCain/Huckabee, et cetera. So they have shifted to polling the effect of VP choices. It's a reasonable thing to do at this stage, leading into the two months where VP options will be a common story. It takes SUSA about a month to sweep through the states, so by the end of June they will have a lot of data on this.

Adam

"I DON'T understand how MI and FL are "red herrings" with respect to Hillary's persuading superdels to commit or switch to her."

Two basic reasons:

1) The superdelegates are plugged into this debate. They already know what happened in these states and have their own opinions about what the votes in MI/FL really mean. There's not a superdelegate in the country who would look at the results the day after the Michigan/Florida resolution and say, "wow! Hillary now has the popular vote lead if I only count official state counts but not caucuses that didn't realease official totals! This totally changes the nature of the race!"

Why wouldn't they think this? Not because that particular vote total is or is not meaningless. They won't think this because each superdelegate has ALREADY DECIDED what they think of MI/FL, and has already internalized this into whatever they are thinking.

2) Even the full seating of the voted delegations won't give Hillary enough of a boost to really alter the dynamic of the race. Again, she needs a delegate stampede, and she's not even managing a trickle. In fact, delegates are steadily flowing the other way.

"It starts "The ONLY WAY" and ends with two "if" clauses. That's NOT an argument that these things will happen, and the "if" statements are NOT pre-suppostions but hypotheticals."

My point was

1) I disagree that she needs the first of those two things to happen (or, more precisely, there's no agreed-upon definition of what popular vote means in this context).

2) I disagree that the second would be sufficient. She won't win by arguing that she is MORE electable. She only wins by arguing that Obama is a very likely loser.

Adam

I didn't mean to imply that you got the popular vote idea from watching cable. My point was just that it's a common talking point coming from the Clinton campaign.

Given the patchwork quilt we are working with, popular vote metrics are one part fact and two parts opinion. Pick the one that suits you. Some superdelegates are surely swayed by popular vote arguments, but I can't imagine that 90% of them will suddenly change their opinion on MI/FL based on a compromise hammered out in the rules committee.

"As I've said before, popular vote is a better measure of what the broader voter population than pledged delegates, if only because more than a dozen states had caucuses with very low turnout compared to primary states."

Popular vote, as an argument, is essentially an end-around on the caucus states. You are arguing that the interests of Washington and Iowa and Maine and Minnesota and Colorado are less important, because the process they chose to use was less inclusive. To flip your Florida arguments back upon you - is it the fault of voters in those states that their leaders chose caucuses in stead of primaries?

"Incidentally, I really do understand that there aren't enough UNCOMMITTED superdels to give Hill the nomination -- which is why I keep talking about persuading committed and uncommitted SUPERdels."

OK, fair enough. My point is that I can't imagine an Obama superdelegate switching sides based on the popular vote argument post-Michigan. "Well, I was supporting Obama, but when I realized that Hillary beat him in the popular vote thanks to winning 45% to 0% in inner-city Detroit, I had to switch to Clinton".

Obama superdelegates COULD switch, but some particular popular vote arguments, and/or a favorable poll for Hillary in Wisconsin or Iowa or New Hampshire or Michigan, is not going to be the impetus.

Adam

Just to be clear - I know you weren't talking about me, but I've never blown off a Clinton supporter, except for those who say "I will never ever vote for Obama, ever". (Of course, someone who says that is really beating me to the punch by blowing ME off.) I fully realize that Obama will need the lion's share of the Democratic voters who preferred Hillary to Obama in order to defeat McCain. That said, according to the current polls, he's getting them.

I think that, as online political junkies, we get a slightly distorted view of things. Go to one of 3 or 4 strongly pro-Hillary sites, and you get the impression that there are a ton of people who have COMPLETELY written Obama off. I don't think that's the case.
http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/5/24/163437/416/562/522170
That said, I think there ARE a fair number of people, like you, who are angry about the way the process went and who are not sold on voting for Obama. So there is healing to do. But this is normal in a campaign.

"1) They see Obama as unable to get the nomination UNLESS two states don't count. In short: they PERCEIVE a legitimacy problem.

2) They've seen since March party leaders (and Obama and the media) trying to end the race early.

3) Their thought re: #2: if Obama is so deserving, then he should go to the finish line and win. That, in their mind, also poses a legitimacy problem.

4) They see their own party's leaders willing to disregard their input and diminish their importance. "

(1) - who gave them that argument? With the exception of a few political junkies in Michigan and Florida, most of the people who seem to think Obama's win may be tainted were told so by Hillary or her surrogates. I can't really see how this is Obama's fault.

2, and by extension 3 and 4, are more about the tone of the campaign than anything else. Obama's lead was already huge by the time March rolled around, and Hillary responded by going very negative. She compared McCain favorably to him, attempted to recycle the Wright controversy, and brought up the "bitter" gaffe in her stump speeches.

As Hillary's chances have steadily declined since early February, her attacks have increasingly been seen as hurting the party. While the effect is certainly debatable, I don't think this viewpoint is irrational or even unreasonable. Personally, I think that partly leaders should have more narrowly criticized Hillary - she should have been criticized for a lot of her campaign tactics in Pennsylvania, but not for simply being in the race.

D. Cupples

Mornin' Adam,

Pt. I: SUSA

As we both acknowledged, one more question wouldn't break the bank. Your argument about VPs may not be wrong, but I still think it's unreasonable to drop Hillary from the polls BEFORE her chances of winning are actually zero.

We can agree to disagree here.

Side note: why are you so interested in defending SUSA? Does a relative work there? (NOT sarcasm)

Pt II: Persuading Superdels

First, if all superdels truly understand FL, then why have prominent ones (including Brazile and Kennedy and Carter) repeatedly reduced FL to the misleading talking points that I (and Thurman and Nelson) have railed against for months?

Your speculation re: switching superdels MAY turn out right. It may not. You and I have different speculations, that's all.

We'll see soon enough.

Part III: Campaign talking points

As you know, I sometimes agree with Clinton Campaign talking points and sometimes don't.

MI is an example. I've never argued that MI should count (because Obama took his name off the ballot). 'Wouldn't be fair.

I HAVE argued that MI's vote should count differently than the state party's plan from a few weeks ago.

You said: "You are arguing that the interests of Washington and Iowa and Maine and Minnesota and Colorado are less important, because the process they chose to use was less inclusive."

No, I accept that if this comes down to only pledged delegates theirs count as much as primary states' delegates.

What I've argued is that the interests of the broader voter population in caucus states are NOT necessarily reflected by caucus results. Thus, Obama should not be arguing that he has been chosen by a majority of voters based on pledged dels.

He hasn't been. If he gets the popular vote too, THEN I'll accept his argument that he has the "will of the voters" behind him.

I tend to be a bit wordy in these debates, because some of my points are made in qualified, narrow contexts.

If you take them out of my context, we'll be debating apples and oranges.

That said, SOMETIMES I hear you reacting against Clinton campaign talking points instead of some of my carefully crafted statements. (Just so you know, I usually edit hard copies of my comments to you before clicking the "post.")

You said: My point is that I can't imagine an Obama superdelegate switching sides based on the popular vote argument post-Michigan. "Well, I was supporting Obama, but when I realized that Hillary beat him in the popular vote thanks to winning 45% to 0% in inner-city Detroit, I had to switch to Clinton".

Your speculation MAY (or may not) turn out right. Time'll tell.

As you note, we just have different speculations, that's all. On my part, some of those speculations stem from my support for Hillary.

(Part IV to come)

D. Cupples

Adam,

Part IV Legitimacy

You said: "who gave them that argument? With the exception of a few political junkies in Michigan and Florida, most of the people who seem to think Obama's win may be tainted were told so by Hillary or her surrogates. I can't really see how this is Obama's fault."

Aside: of course, OBAMA SUPPORTERS blame Hillary for the legitimacy argument. They also accused her of being a racist and of meaning something evil when mentioning RFK (though 3 of HIS KIDS endorsed her). Hmmmm.

Back to my REAL POINT (and yours).

FACT: the magic pledged-delegate # HAS been reported by media (and Obama) for months, and it DOESN'T include Mi and FL.

FACT: back when there was time for do-overs, the media emphasized that FL and MI were NOT part of Obama's pledged-delegate lead.

You honestly CAN'T see how voters -- on their own -- might conclude from those facts that Obama's pledged delegate lead EXCLUDES the pledged delegates of 2 states?

Further promoting a negative perception: the Obama campaign's own public statements indicated that he wasn't even friendly to re-do primaries when they were still an option. (Carville and an Obama guy debated it on national TV, which got subsequent press coverage).

You honestly DON'T think ordinary voters -- on their own -- were likely to conclude that Obama didn't want MI and FL to be necessary factors in his victory?

Unless a staffer hijacked the decision, it IS Obama's fault that his campaign played the hand that way it did and left him vulnerable to legitimacy questions re: FL and MI.

Keep this human dynamic in mind, too: when ill-informed (or emotionally charged) people settle on a perception, it CAN TAINT future perceptions despite evidence to the contrary.

In politics, perception often trumps logic and fairness -- which has worked to BOTH campaign's benefit and detriment.

You said: "2, and by extension 3 and 4, are more about the tone of the campaign than anything else. Obama's lead was already huge by the time March rolled around, and Hillary responded by going very negative."

About #3 (go to the finish line): I think that's simple logic on most voters' part (like my mother, who isn't a political junkie).

Even a child might see it that way -- esp. back in March, people saw headlines about Hillary's winning OH and TX (when there were still had 10 contests to go).

About #4 (DNC disregarding members): leaders like Dean and Brazile were dishonest in the media (e.g., "FL broke rules" and "we'll seat FL and MI's delegates AFTER the nominee is picked).

A lot of people likely figured out the FL spin was a crock because Fl officials (like Nelson) said so via media nationwide. And don't discount the contributions to the debate by angry Florida journalists (who actually understand our state lege).

A lot of people likely figured out that the DNC's delegate-seating plan was meaningless symbolism, simply because it really was.

Voters don't need a PhD to grasp that seating dels AFTER the nominee was selected would mean that FL's (and MI's) actual votes wouldn't be part of the selection process.

No amount of spin would keep ordinary voters of ordinary intelligence from understanding that.

And yet, some DNC "leaders" tried the spin anyway -- simply so it could falsely grab credit for being nice guys who wanted FL and Mi to count (despite the DNC's actions to the contrary).

Like Lincoln said: you can't fool all the people all the time.

And many ordinary folks feel insulted and distrusting when people blatantly try to mislead or manipulate them. (I know I do.)

That was THE DNC's MISTAKE, not Hillary's. And the DNC's handling of MI and FL prompted some of the legitimacy questions.

Note also that the legitimacy argument ISN'T new. Damozel and I (and Taylor Marsh and Talk Left) have been warning about that (and media bias and other things) since Feb or March -- back when re-dos were possible.

I don't get a few-hundred-thousand hits a day, but TM and TL do.

Note that TM is STILL openly committed to beating McCain even if Obama becomes the nominee. She's been arguing that for months.

Part V to come.

Adam

Just a couple quick comments - I'm trying to take care of stuff around the house/yard this weekend and you keep getting in the way!

"Side note: why are you so interested in defending SUSA? Does a relative work there? (NOT sarcasm)"

No, I just consider the case of SUSA dropping Hillary to be more interesting/more of a stark contrast, as oppose to Rasmussen just putting her numbers in the middle of a story. As long as we're having the debate, let's consider the most extreme example, right?

I guess I also find SUSA mildly more interesting because they have tended to be the most accurate major pollster this year.

"I've argued is that the interests of the broader voter population in caucus states are NOT necessarily reflected by caucus results. Thus, Obama should not be arguing that he has been chosen by a majority of voters based on pledged dels.

He hasn't been. If he gets the popular vote too, THEN I'll accept his argument that he has the "will of the voters" behind him."

By some/most reasonable measures of popular vote, he actually *IS* ahead, so it wouldn't be a terribly inaccurate thing for him to say if he did say it. Right now, Hillary is only ahead if we give her a 55%-0% win in Michigan, and leave out the votes in Iowa. Sort of an odd combo if you ask me.

We've gone around and around on how representative caucus results are or are not; there's no need to re-hash that in detail. In short, I think Obama's success in caucuses has had a lot more to do with organization and underlying state demographics than an unfair bias inherent in the caucus structure.

"You honestly CAN'T see how voters -- on their own -- might conclude from those facts that Obama's pledged delegate lead EXCLUDES the pledged delegates of 2 states?"

Of course they could, but there's several logical leaps between that, and actually questioning the legitimacy of Obama's nomination. Clinton's campaign has been all too eager to lay out stepping stones on that path.

I fully recognize that Obama's pledged delegate majority doesn't count Michigan and Florida. But since I don't consider those votes to be reflective of a fair and free election, I don't see that as robbing any legitimacy from his nomination.

"it IS Obama's fault that his campaign played the hand that way it did and left him vulnerable to legitimacy questions re: FL and MI."

I'm not really sure I agree about Florida. I don't see what Obama could have done differently there. On Michigan, I agree, as I said earlier. I see this as a poor strategic/tactical decision, but not really a moral/ethical failure.

"About #3 (go to the finish line): I think that's simple logic on most voters' part"

It's my logic as well. I've said many times that I have no problem with Hillary staying in until June 3, and I wish other pundits refrained from saying otherwise. I was simply pointing out that the underlying reason people asked her to drop out, was that she was attacking the candidate they considered the presumed nominee in a very negative way. I wish they had simply attacked the attacks directly, but I understand why they did what they did.

"seating dels AFTER the nominee was selected would mean that FL's (and MI's) actual votes wouldn't be part of the selection process.

No amount of spin would keep ordinary voters of ordinary intelligence from understanding that."

I think you underestimate the power of spin! After all, there are a ton of people out there who really believe that Hillary has been fighting hard from the beginning to get Michigan and Florida's votes to count.

NQ and TM get plenty of hits from people like me. It doesn't mean hundreds of thousands of people share their views.

There's a nuanced and reasonable argument why Michigan and Florida got penalized. That argument doesn't fit in a soundbite. "Count their votes!" does fit in a soundbite, so it beats the nuanced arugment. But "we're seating the delegations" also fits in a soundbite, so it offers an effective if equally vacuous counterpunch.

D. Cupples

Adam,

Pt. V: Hillary's Damaging the Party

Yes, some of Hillary's campaigning probably did promote party division. And SO DID SOME OF OBAMA's -- even as far back as January.

Below are just a few examples supporting my statement.

Starting in January, HIS surrogates falsely called Hillary a racist over the MLK thing. Clyburn did it twice (coincidentally, just before primaries in the heavily AA states of SC and NC).

That was downright harmful to the cause of party unity, but the DNC DIDN'T CHASTISE Obama's campaign.

And Obama didn't TIMELY chastise those surrogates or supporters.

Starting in January, Obama made FALSE comparisons between himself and Hillary (i.e., he and his $ were clean, but she and her $ weren't).

Before Indiana, Obama ran an ad making that false comparison -- despite recent news reports about Obama's oil, pharma and lobbyist dollars.

The DNC was SILENT.

On Feb 4, Michelle Obama told ABC (Good Morning America) that she might NOT support Hillary if she were the nominee.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/02/04/michelle-obama-ill-thi_n_84900.html

That was BEFORE Hillary's comment about McCain's experience.

Despite Michelle's divisive statement, Bill Clinton said this in TX on Feb 16: "I'm for Hillary.... If you disagree, you have another very attractive choice" [i.e., Barack].

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/021508dnpolclinton.c39e4e82.html

Again, Michelle's statement undermined the cause of party unity -- yet the DNC DIDN'T CHASTISE her or the campaign of which she was then a publicly integral part.

My final example (which you hate) is the March 11 email, in which OBAMA himself claimed that Hillary was directly attacking his supporters.

Plouffe sent another divisive email with the same message (attacking supporters) on April 14.

http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/04/post.html

These common-enemy talking points showed That Obama WAS NOT CONCERNED with promoting party unity -- yet the DNC was SILENT.

I'll stop with the examples and get to my point.

The DNC (and many Obama supporters and media) have slammed Hillary for negativity or divisiveness -- while IGNORING Obama's repeated negativity and divisiveness.

Ordinary folks HAVE noticed the different standards and unfair treatment (even some Obama supporters).

Ordinary Americans tend to abhor to blatant unfairness, whether in sports or politics. Our schools teach us to abhor unfairness (as opposed to teaching us to value fairness).

Many Obama supporters blame Hillary for ordinary folks' perception of and outrage over said unfairness.

That's easy to do, if:

1) one ignores the DNC's, Obama Campaign's and certain media's ACTUAL actions, and

2) one over-estimates ordinary folks blindness or stupidity.

Many Obama supporters (NOT you) seem to be arguing that the DNC/Obama/Media should have been able to play the game however they wanted WITHOUT people's noticing or calling them out.

I understand why they might want that result, but I find it incredibly unrealistic (and unfair).

You and I might disagree here (given who we support).

I think that perceiving the unfairness (and stuff in Parts 1-4) was what gave many Hillary supporters a mushy-brown taste in their mouths over the entire election and the Dem party.

I've been writing about it for some months now, and I've been frustrated that Hillary's campaign FAILED to deal with it as well as I (and other bloggers) have.

If the campaign had done better, we'd have had this argument months ago.

That's another reason I don't think Hillary is responsible for so many of her supporters' having become resentful toward Obama, the media and the DNC.

Of course, I can't prove any of it: it's just what I gather.

D. Cupples

Adam,

I haven't even done a blog post today, because I've been commenting w/you. :) See how important you are?

YES, Obama HAS been implying that the will of the people is on his side (via carefully crafted statements). The most recent example is here:

http://bucknakedpolitics.typepad.com/buck_naked_politics/2008/05/changing-argume.html

About SUSA: Your initial (speculative) argument was that SUSA made the decision on resources. In other words, you "knew" there was a reason (other than anti-Hillary-ness), and you imagined it into existence.

Then, you said that you looked up SUSA's purported reason (a different one) and you find that it makes sense.

That's WHY I think you're trying to defend SUSA. Admittedly, it's neither here nor there, though -- so I'll leave it alone now.

Remember, the popular vote hasn't been counted yet: it will be counted on or after June 3. So, the various calculations AT THIS POINT don't matter.

You wrote:

"'Seating dels AFTER the nominee was selected would mean that FL's (and MI's) actual votes wouldn't be part of the selection process.

"'No amount of spin would keep ordinary voters of ordinary intelligence from understanding that.'"

"I think you underestimate the power of spin!"

"After all, there are a ton of people out there who really believe that Hillary has been fighting hard from the beginning to get Michigan and Florida's votes to count."

YOU'RE RIGHT about spin: a lot of people still BELIEVE that Obama hasn't taken tainted money and hasn't played "politics as usual."

That's some powerful spin. :)

The DNC TRIED the spin (FL/MI seating) and I think it DIDN'T work.

You said: "There's a nuanced and reasonable argument why Michigan and Florida got penalized. That argument doesn't fit in a soundbite. "Count their votes!" does fit in a soundbite, so it beats the nuanced arugment. But "we're seating the delegations" also fits in a soundbite, so it offers an effective if equally vacuous counterpunch."

You're right about the notion of a counterpunch. Personally, I think that enfranchisement is too important an issue for a national party to spin over.

That AND, based on the facts that I've repeatedly shared with you, there is NO REASONABLE argument for the stripping of 100% of FL's delegates. DNC players know this (at least the ones who actually listened to Karen).

That's another reason the DNC should NOT spin about FL.

Here's the bottom line for some of the angry FL voters:

The DNC didn't care enough about millions of FL Dems 1) to have conducted the required investigation; 2) to have seriously considered evidence of FL Dems' powerlessness over the primary date; and 3) to do a 50% or 0% stripping (which rules allowed).

They feel, therefore, that the DNC does not deserve their support in ANY way. Many also now outright distrust the party (partly because of the FL spin).

It's like the DNC said: "We don't have good reasons to discount 100% of your vote, we're not going to count any of your votes, but we're going to pretend that we will."

Making matters worse for the party: many non-FL voters (largely Hillary supporters) are also upset about the DNC's handing of FL.

Even if they didn't actually care about FL's ordinary Dem voters, DNC "leaders" should have anticipated these easy-to-imagine consequences (resentment and distrust) from a self-interest POV.

The DNC failed in that regard, too. And now, it's trying to blame Hillary for anger and distrust that resulted directly from the DNC's own actions (and spin)?

As you know, I go back and forth over what I'll do in Nov.

At the same time, I don't blame people who distrust the Dem party over its handling of FL. In fact, I understand how they came to feel that way, which is why I can explain it.

You said: "NQ and TM get plenty of hits from people like me. It doesn't mean hundreds of thousands of people share their views."

Did I actually say that the people share their views? NO, so why are you arguing as though I did?

I was using bigger blogs as examples of sources (other than Hillary) that have discussed the legitimacy argument (and other things) for months. That's it.

I've gotta do a post of some sort.

Adam

"About SUSA: Your initial (speculative) argument was that SUSA made the decision on resources. In other words, you "knew" there was a reason (other than anti-Hillary-ness), and you imagined it into existence.

Then, you said that you looked up SUSA's purported reason (a different one) and you find that it makes sense."

I disagree. I did not work backwards from a desireable conclusion. I had an initial assumption, you challenged it, so I looked into it and CONFIRMED said assumption.

My initial guess was that they dropped Hillary from the polls because they have limited resources and consider her chances of being the nominee to be negligible.

You stated that it wasn't too much extra work to ask one question. I wasn't entirely swayed by this argument, but I decided to look into it. I found (well, actually, was reminded) that SUSA had started tracking potential full ticket matchups. This means that, in order to include Hillary, they would need to DOUBLE their questions, because they would need to poll Hillary+VP against McCain+VP.

So, my initial guess (limited resources) was proven out, it just took a little more looking to figure out why.

Deb Cupples

Adam,

Now I get what you're saying about doubling questions.

Although, they could just ask the one question about Hillary v. McCain without asking a full set of match-up questions about her.

Fact is, when I did that one phone poll, I just answered the questions as they were asked and didn't get any sense that they were being grouped in a particular way.

That said, Nothing precludes SUSA from asking about McCain v Hillary.

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