One Limping Trick Pony

At the beginning of July we posted an article called One Trick Pony which provided some exercise advice. Exercising one set of muscles while ignoring the rest of the body/mechanism leads to eventual failure and a ridiculous appearance.

Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, reiterates our early July post in an article for Politico.

As important as cash can be in campaigns, it has less clout in winning the party nod than longtime support among the primary electorate and decades of good will built up with party, union and Democratic-affiliated group leaders.

All this is a way of suggesting that we take a deep breath before deciding that because Obama is the king of fundraising Clinton is no longer the big favorite for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Money is important, it’s the “mother’s milk of politics” but it is not everything. Big Media, Brown states, once again reiterating many of our earlier posts wants to create a contest using a bogus narrative.

Nevertheless, Obama’s money numbers are not as impressive as the large lead Clinton holds among Democratic primary voters, who seem to view her in awe, much like the way Nancy Reagan regarded Ronnie when she put on that adoring gaze.

The idea that Obama is now on equal footing with Clinton because of his fundraising power is a great story. It certainly appeals to a news media that loves the storyline of the first serious woman contender against the first serious black contender for the presidency.

It makes a good story, but it just ain’t so.

Singing Obama’s praises does not alter reality. All the commercials in the world will not change the fundamental dynamics of the 2008 election cycle nor the admiration of voters for Hillary.

The problem is that history shows that excitement and/or money don’t necessarily win presidential nominations. Of course they are useful to candidates, but the name of the game is “delegates,” and winning them comes from winning primary and caucus votes.

And despite Obama’s very impressive bank account — which will buy him a huge staff and countless television commercials — the freshman senator from Illinois has a long way to go to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

The first job for candidates running for president is to secure the party nomination. After that nomination is secured the attention of the nominee turns towards persuadable voters, independents and possibly disaffected Republicans. Another item to remember is that Democratic Party leaders in many cases vote as delegates at the Party’s convention.

His major problem is that Clinton may well be unpopular with tens of millions of Americans, but not very many of them are Democratic primary voters.

The New York senator has even stronger support within the Democratic infrastructure — party, union and Democratic-affiliated group-leaders — than she does among the overall electorate.

And, among those teachers, government workers, environmentalists, lawyers, union members, single and working women, gays, and African-Americans who make up the core of the Democratic primary vote, she is very, very well-liked.

Hillary’s opponents like to ignore her electoral success in New York State. On election eve it was obvious that all the worry warts were wrong because Hillary garnered strong support from Independents and even Republicans. The “not electable” myth Ripublicans and Naderites pushed for so long was exposed as a politically motivated superstition. The Democratic Party nominee will be attacked by the Ripublicans. Hillary has withstood all the attacks thrown at her. The same cannot be said of Hillary’s Democratic opponents whose negative numbers will rise once they are under attack by the Ripublican smear machine.

The fact that Clinton is a lightning rod who inspires both strong support and vehement opposition is well-known.

Overall, when voters are asked if they view her favorably or unfavorably, she has an unfavorable rating — depending on the poll — anywhere from the low- to mid-40-percent range.

These are dangerous, but not fatal, numbers for anyone who wants to become president. These numbers are roughly similar to the way the public felt about George W. Bush before it reelected him in 2004.

Peter Brown slays, with empirical evidence, the Hillary Can’t Win myth.

Among Democrats who do, Clinton is more popular than Obama. A Quinnipiac University national poll last month found that among Democrats, who make up the vast majority of those who get to vote in Democratic primaries (some states allow independents to participate), 80 percent view her favorably, and 12 percent unfavorably.

That same poll found that Obama’s numbers, by comparison, were 66 percent favorable vs. 9 percent unfavorable. And among those who like both candidates – i.e., the vast majority of Democrats — her claim on their support would seem to be deeper based on the length of their infatuation.

Another myth bites the dust.

Of course, Obama is not as well-known as she is. Among Democrats,

25 percent could not venture an opinion of him, compared to just 6 percent unable to rate Clinton. And, yes that means that he has room to grow his support.

On the other hand, if only 6 percent haven’t made up their minds about Clinton, it suggests that her support is unlikely to shrink a whole lot among that group.

The elitist argument that Hillary is supported only by “low information voters” and the poor and therefore she cannot win is also demolished.

There is one other factor at play in the Clinton/Obama race that is worth considering.

History says that the favored candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination among voters without a college education almost always wins.

The candidates who appeal more to Democrats with college educations generate lots of excitement and often do very well in the fundraising department, but they rarely win the nomination. That was the case for Howard Dean (2004), Bill Bradley (2000), Paul Tsongas (1992), Gary Hart (1984) and Edward Kennedy (1980) — none of whom won the Democratic nomination.

Virtually every current poll shows Clinton doing proportionally much better among Democrats without college degrees than those with one. The June Quinnipiac national survey showed Clinton ahead of Obama overall, 35 percent to 21 percent. But she was ahead 39 percent to 20 percent among Democrats without college degrees.

The last hope of Hillary opponents, that money will triumph over the people, is belied by her first New York State race when Hillary hate among Ripublicans was so strong and obsessive her opponents raised more money than Hillary did.

But he still has a steep hill to climb against Clinton, who not only is adored by Democrats, but also has more than enough cash to make us all sick of the large number of TV ads she will be able to buy.

The above does not mean we relax and get lazy. It means we work harder.