Carolina In My Mind

Update II: We added a graph of South Carolina polls.
Update: An assessment from The Hotline: “We would be “naive” to think that her battle with Obama is just aimed at primary voters. The bigger goal is to set her up as an acceptable Commander-in-Chief. Talk to any Dem strategist and they’ll tell you that GOPers’ ability to paint Dems as weak on security and terrorism is still their greatest fear.”

We noted last week that Barack Obama’s desperate attack on Hillary Clinton and his flipping and flopping could be reduced to 2 words: South Carolina. We noted in that article how Obama’s entire campaign strategy is based on victory in the South Carolina primary.

We noted in Barack Obama Flops, Then Flips – Part III, that Obama was doing very badly in the South Carolina polls both immediately pre-debate and immediately post-debate.

We stated that Obama’s desperate attack on Hillary was due to his failing campaign in South Carolina despite the fact that Obama is outspending Hillary 3 to 1 in South Carolina. So, how is Obama doing in South Carolina?
South Carolina polls

The polls tell the story that Hillary is beating Obama badly in South Carolina. What is the anecdotal evidence and what do knowledgeable political observers say about the South Carolina political situation?

Clinton brought the house down Saturday during a campaign stop at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Performing Arts Center as the first 2008 presidential candidate to visit Beaufort.

“Her message was right on,” said Hilton Head Island Democrat Jack Keable, 72, after Clinton’s 40-minute speech. “Something needs to be done to change the country back to the way it used to be.”

Clinton won over the crowd of more than 500 supporters seated in the auditorium and the roughly 300 people in overflow seating who watched the speech from closed-circuit televisions set up just outside the auditorium.

South Carolina’s The State:

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York is sailing right along toward the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

No one is in place to stop her.

Clinton has dominated the four debates conducted thus far featuring the eight Democratic presidential hopefuls.

“Once again she stood out,” Francis Marion University political scientist Neal Thigpen said of Clinton’s performance in Monday night’s Charleston debate.

Experts have praised Clinton’s overall performance, calling it smooth and warm, reflecting a deep knowledge of the issues. [snip]
Clinton’s poll numbers have strengthened and gone up after each debate. Voters have been impressed with her intellect and cool demeanor. She doesn’t get rattled easily.

InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion, an Atlanta-based polling firm, questioned more than 500 S.C. Democratic voters the day after Monday’s debate. It showed Clinton crushing Obama 43 percent to 28 percent.

Matt Towery, president of InsiderAdvantage, said earlier surveys showed Obama in the lead. The change occurred as more black voters decided on Clinton.

“It does appear that, at this point, she has a pretty good lead,” agreed Carol Khare Fowler, chairwoman of the S.C. Democratic Party. “I don’t doubt she is ahead.” [snip]

After Monday night’s debate and Clinton’s widening lead over Obama in the polls, some began to wonder whether the Democratic race isn’t over.

Many Democrats are saying Obama must make his move soon or be caught up in the Clinton sweep.

Well, Obama made his move, he flopped.

By Friday, even the Washington Post took notice of Hillary’s surging support:

The candidacy of the 45-year-old Obama elicits genuine excitement in a state where blacks comprise about half of the primary electorate. Yet coupled with that emotion is a strong degree of skepticism about the freshman senator’s experience and whether he can win.

Obama also is up against the formidable Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who enjoys strong support in the black community and is married to former President Clinton, who is wildly popular in the community. [snip]

Ashley Torrence, a 27-year-old college instructor in Greenville, S.C., is torn between voting for Obama and Clinton, and considers her vote crucial because either candidate could smash barriers. Torrence has talked to Clinton and was disappointed when all she got from her encounter with Obama was a handshake.

“I wanted to ask him how he had planned to combat the feeling that unfortunately a lot of people have about just not being ready for a black male to be president and particularly a lot of people with old South mentality,” she said. “How is he going to deal with that? Because you can’t campaign as though it doesn’t exist.” [snip]

Obama’s plea was directed not only at voters, who will participate in the Jan. 29 primary, but Democratic state Sen. Robert Ford of Charleston. Ford garnered headlines when he said he was backing Clinton in part because he was skeptical that Obama could win the presidency and feared that his nomination could hurt other Democratic candidates.

“Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose _ because he’s black and he’s top of the ticket. We’d lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything,” said Ford, who is black. [snip]

But the AP interviews suggested the view is prevalent among blacks, along with concerns across racial lines about whether Obama has enough experience to be president. Greenville County Democratic Party chairman Andy Arnold hears it frequently among blacks, who are supporting Clinton in greater numbers in recent polls.

“A lot of the African-Americans are with Hillary because I think they don’t believe white America is ready for a black president,” said Arnold, who is white and uncommitted in the race. “They want to win and so in a way, I think it is a barrier to him. And it may be more so in the South where the remnants of the old South are still in the older folks mind. They just can’t believe in their right mind that white folks will elect a black man president, so let’s not put ourselves through that agony.” [snip]

The Obama campaign argues that doubts about whether a black man can be elected is not widespread. They cite a Winthrop Poll of South Carolinians in May in which 79 percent of respondents said they think the country will be ready for a black president in the next 12 years. However, the poll did not ask whether they would be ready in 2008.

Did Obama’s desperate attack on Hillary calling her Bush/Cheney lite help Obama? The New York Daily
editorial today answers the question

Barack Obama made a soft-skulled statement in last week’s debate. He said he would meet one-on-one with dictators – including Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and nuclear saber-rattler Kim Jong Il – without preconditions in his first year in office. Hillary Clinton rightly pronounced him naive.

Now we have Exhibit B that something is awry in the Obama camp. Rather than explain under what circumstances he would, in fact, sit down with tyrants, Obama has labeled Clinton’s strategy – to conduct robust diplomacy while remaining wary of being used for propaganda purposes – “Bush-Cheney lite.” What?

The latest polls show Obama gained no traction with Axelrod’s desperate “Battle of the Bulge” type assault. The Battle of Charleston is over.

Several months from now, with soft music playing in the background, when Obama and Axelrod and Plouffe are having some drinks and having some smokes, thinking about what might have been – they can look back to last week and pinpoint the moment their campaign was utterly lost.


19 thoughts on “Carolina In My Mind

  1. Poll: A widening gap of 17 points for Hilary

    I usually do not write daily tracking poll since it is too volatile. However, Rasmussen has updated his weekly average numbers for the past week, it gives us a preliminary peek into the carnage of Clinton-Obama dust-up.

    Is this dust-up really a
    as Obama’s supporters breathlessly proclaimed: ‘Obama Clearly Won the Dustup With Hillary ‘ ?

    Now the numbers on a weekly basis:

    Clinton Obama Edwards
    07/30/07 41% 24% 14%
    07/23/07 38% 25% 14%
    07/16/07 38% 25% 14%
    07/12/07 38% 26% 13%
    07/03/07 39% 26% 13%
    06/26/07 37% 25% 13%
    06/19/07 38% 27% 16%
    06/12/07 37% 25% 11%
    06/05/07 34% 26% 15%
    05/29/07 35% 26% 14%

    Hillary Clinton has widened her lead to 17 points, the biggest ever in Rasmussen weekly tracking polls. Let’s also take a look at the daily tracking data for the past week or so.

    Clinton Obama Edwards
    07/30/07 40% 24% 14%
    07/29/07 40% 24% 14%
    07/28/07 41% 23% 15%
    07/27/07 42% 23% 14%
    07/26/07 40% 23% 15%
    07/25/07 41% 23% 15%
    07/24/07 38% 25% 14%
    07/23/07 40% 22% 14%
    07/21/07 39% 26% 12%
    07/20/07 40% 26% 12%

    It is clear that the gap has widened from 12-13 points to 17-19 points immediately after the debate. All these data are still preliminary and we will need more polls to verify this trend.

    So what are expecting now? We, Hillary supporters will embrace more vicious attacks from Obama campaign and his supporters. Just browsing a couple of diaries, you can get a feeling what kind of tactics they’ll be using. They will use some baseless charges such as this: ‘Abramoff Sweatshop Cash = Trouble for Clinton’ They will also likely use their last card – race baiting. I long predicted Obama will eventually use this card, but it looks like it is coming sooner than later.

    Read ‘diary like this’, which claims Clinton’s `naïve’ comment is equal to code word of racial slur. His supporter is now advocating:

    If im Obama, everytime im in south carolina, i make sure black voters hears the word “irresponsible” again and again and how one of his opponents attacked him with it…I think this word being used by a white woman describing a black man, is very uncomfortable for every black men in S.C.

    Also diary like this:’Tom Vilsack: A dead man working’, which claims:

    Tom Vilsack is a dead man working. When all is done and Hillary does not become the nominee, where will he go? Maybe, becoming a house boy for Bill. At least, he could give his wife to Bill, and he will do the cleaning and other domestic work for the Clintons.

    Yes, We can conclude the dust-up is a turning point for Obama and his campaign. A turning point to from a Reagan `Hope’ fantasy to a desperate `Hopeless’ journey to nowhere. Buckle up, embrace the worst and have some fun.

  2. When they said the diarist was a Berkeley Vox clone, I had no idea it was you, Kostner. Any “Hillary is surging, Obama is fading” narrative at Daily Kos is sure to get their blood flowing.

    Admin/Staff, showing my age, James Taylor is just about my favorite male voice, and Stevie Nicks, just about my favorite female voice.

  3. Those diaries are definitely of the WTF variety, if you pardon my language. But you’re right, kostner, it’s only going to get worse. Let’s all don our flak jackets!

  4. You’re right Paula…those diaries are definitely WTF…I think most of the Obama supporters had their heads up their asses….and then they always try and argue semantics…like preconditions was used in a different context so didn’t really mean what we think it meant..blah blah blah…they’re desperate and really grasping at straws…Interestingly the Edwards dibwads are actually pretty quiet lately – for a change. I can’t wait until Hillary wins this….the empty suit (Barack O’Reagan) lookl like he’s running Student Council next to her…

  5. kitforhill: Newt Gingrich believes that Hillary will pick Barack Obama for her running mate, but I can’t see how that is possible now that she is on record calling him naive and irresponsible. Not only will not be the presidential nominee, but he’s guaranteed himself that he won’t be the presidential nominee, either.

  6. DCDemocrat,

    Never say never in politics. But I hope not since I only perceive one condition that she might pick him. If the contest is too intense, and Hillary just barely edges out, she may have to pick him up under pressure for the sake of uniting the party. That’s a bad situation.

  7. Well batten down the hatches, y’all. I agree with the opinions expressed that say the tactics are gonna get a fright nastier. It bothers me to no end to see Obama’s camp playing the race card at all. I felt that he was already doing that in the Q and A part of the National Urban League meeting when he said by his very inauguration he will be contributing toward race relations. IMHO, that’s really close to saying, “vote for me ’cause I’m black.” I also want to say that I found him pretty patronizin’ toward Senator Clinton in the SC debate, particularly when he made the statement about Iraq and the Senator’s letter to the Secretary of Defense. It seems pretty patronizing as well when he uses a belittling tone to talk about how “we’re not going to have a conversation.” It’s a very sarcastic tone. What I am getting here is that he’s the one who comes across as having some racism issues. And the patronizing and sarcastic remarks could be construed as sexism. Actually, I feel pretty sure that they are sexist. I think the voters should have some reminders about Hillary’s work in the south–in a southern state–at a time when race relations were still quite tense. He also said that economics will take care of a lot of race issues. I do believe that socioeconomic issues are closely aligned with race, but leveling the playing field economically will not in and of itself take care of racist and sexist attitudes in this country. Keep on keepin’ on folks. –MJ

  8. It seems Obama has already switched gear to other topics today. He and his advisors knew it’s a losing battle on this ‘preconditons’ ,’conditions’ debate.

    Hillary camp also seems to be happy to move on. Damage is already done to Obama. Continuing to debate on this ‘petty’ stuff will not do any good for Hillary either.

  9. Kostner, I suspect the voters have heard all the preconditions, conditions and having Osama over for tea that they can handle. There’s an old sayin, “keep it simple, stupid,” (not callin anybody stupid here) and when voters start hearing condition, precondition, etc., it just muddies the waters. –MollyJs

  10. BTW, the Hotline statement about Hillary aiming beyond the primary with the “conditions/preconditions” battle makes a lot of sense.

    She’s even won kudos from some conservatives for it, lol.

  11. Impromptu rally greets Hillary Clinton in Jersey City
    by Ken Thorbourne/The Jersey Journal
    Monday July 30, 2007, 9:25 PM

    The public rally was officially nixed, but it happened anyway.

    Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had just finished taking questions from campaign donors at a fundraiser held at the Newport Financial Center building in Jersey City this evening when an organizer tapped her on her shoulder and said a crowd had gathered outside.

    A rally that was supposed to take place had been officially canceled because of “time constraints” on the part of the candidate, but no one told the well-over 500 people who wanted — and waited — to hear from Clinton, a U.S. senator of New York.

    Wearing a gray jacket, black pants, and her trademark wide-eyed grin, Clinton worked the police line, shaking hands and exchanging greetings.

    The fundraiser was hosted by Jamie LeFrak, managing partner of the Lefrak Organization, the builders of Newport, and Jersey City Councilman Steve Fulop. Gov. Jon Corzine and Rep. Albio Sires, (D-West New York), attended, as well as Jersey City council members Michael Sottolano and Mary Spinello.

    Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy — who along with Newark Mayor Cory Booker has endorsed U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) for president — was invited but didn’t attend, organizers said.

    “She was phenomenal and we exceeded our goal of $150,000 we wanted to raise for her,” Fulop said. “We are going to deliver a lot of votes for her and she is going to win Jersey City.”

    According to a Quinnipiac University Poll completed earlier this month, Clinton has gained ground on former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the 2008 presidential sweepstakes in New Jersey — trailing the Republican front-runner 47 to 44 percent, compared to a 49 to 40 percent Giuliani lead on April 19.

  12. I think the OBAMA-CLINTON slugfest accomplished 2 things….First, it defined HIllary Clinton as strong on NATIONAL SECURITY and DEFENSE. Second, it showed that OBAMA’s “Politics of Hope” is just a gimmick. It also made OBAMA seem wishy-washy and inconsistent, which is NOT ACCEPTABLE to most voters during these TROUBLING TIMES.

  13. Kostner: I agree the scenario about uniting a closely divided party might be correct, although I would hope we don’t get to that point.

  14. you guys are right. the better hillary does the nastier obama supporters get. what do they think? we as hillary supporters will jump off hillary’s wagon just becuase they attack hillary. if more it hardens our support for her. and those who leans towards her will ignore the horrible stuff slammed at ouR hillary. let them attack. screw em. it hardens our resolve. KEEP THE FIGHT ON!!!! GO HILLARY GO!!!!

  15. I think the Obama supporters are beginning to get a little demoralized. To be honest with you, even though Edwards has stood in third throughout the race, I really think he stands a better shot than Obama does of being the nominee.

  16. I agree DCDEM on Obama’s slim chances for President or now the VP candidate, and Kostner I can also see your point on the possible need for uniting a divided party. I hope the nutroots come around though…I wonder if Edwards will be able to move up into second place….I can’t even believe the arguments from the nutroots on Obama’s latest position …but alas I agree it’s time for both camps to move on. I always wondered if Hillary’s VP choice would be better with someone else anyway…like Webb or Vilsack….I have a feeling Biden would be poised for a key position like Sec. of State, he and Hillary close I think too.

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