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May 02, 2008

You Really Don't Want to Run Against Clinton, Do You?

Following up on eddiebear's post (lot of good comments over there, too), I have to agree that more concern is warranted. And I know Ace disagrees with me about this, but propping up Clinton is a bad idea. Sure, we want the Democratic contest to continue, especially when it looked like she was in danger of dropping out. But she's looking a lot stronger now.

We've got to keep our eyes on the ball. She's the stronger of the two in the general. McCain will wipe the floor with Obama. Typically Democrats do not win without Pennsylvania. Guess who absolutely bombs in Pennsylvania? Democrats always make a fight of Ohio and Florida. Guess who got whooped in Ohio and Florida? And why? Because a large segment of Democratic blue-collar voters cannot bring themselves to vote for Obama.

Quinnipiac has a new poll that confirms this: McCain does better against Obama in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania than against Clinton. These are crucial states if we want to get to the magic number. Look:

Florida: Clinton tops McCain 49 - 41 percent; McCain gets 44 percent to Obama's 43 percent;
Ohio: Clinton beats McCain 48 - 38 percent; McCain gets 43 percent to Obama's 42 percent;
Pennsylvania: Clinton tops McCain 51 - 37 percent; Obama leads McCain 47 - 38 percent.

Now, lets not get too bent out of shape about the exact numbers. That's all subject to change in the general. The important point is that Clinton does better than Obama in these three key states, due largely to Obama's inability to connect with working-class white voters. That weakness is not going to magically go away, especially with Rev. Wright and Bittergate hanging around his neck.

It's time to stop playing around with this and conjecturing about a hypothetical Democratic crackup that may not even happen. People have started to believe their own propaganda. But the numbers don't back it up. At least as far as last month goes, 28% of Clinton supporters say they'd jump to McCain if Obama was the nominee, compared to only 19% if the situation were reversed. Now I know that's subject to change, and we all expect Obama supporters to riot on the floor of the convention if their guy loses. But what if they don't? Why would we take a risk on something like this?

If we can count to 270, the Democratic superdelegates can too. Pick your states. Why are we thinking about giving up Pennsylvania? What about Wisconsin and New Mexico? Them too? If she wins, we'll have have to fight Clinton for a year when the economy is going to be foremost on the minds of voters. That just doesn't make any sense.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 01:17 AM

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