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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

West Virginia Polls and Predictions

What exactly is Hillary Clinton hoping will happen? Let's dispense with the "It's her right to stay in" talk. Though it is inarguably her right, it has also been the right of every candidate who has ever vied for the nomination of their party for any office, but a tipping point always comes when they realize they are not going to win, and no one expects a comeback except the most ardent of illogical supporters. Almost always, these candidates do indeed drop out of the race.

They drop out when it becomes clear there is no realistic way back into the contest. They do this for several reasons, not the least of which is that it makes no sense to compete against a fellow member of the party when they have a general election around the corner. They drop out for the good of the party because there is nothing left to gain.

So what exactly is Hillary Clinton hoping will happen?

There are two scenarios remaining, neither realistic.

1. Something HUGE happens to Obama. Perhaps Satan rides to Illinois with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and they drape their arm around Jeremiah Wright while attending Obama's monthly flag burning party with Osama Bin Laden.

2. The following things happen:
a. Today: Despite Obama's momentum, Clinton wins West Virginia by 40+ points, netting her 12+ delegates.
b. Next seven days: With Clinton's resounding win, superdelegates pause for a week.
c. May 20: Clinton uses the 40-point West Virginia win and great Kentucky poll numbers to take Oregon by a narrow margin (highly unlikely) and Kentucky by 40-points (doable), netting 25+ delegates.
d. May 21-June 1: Superdelegates trickle towards Clinton, as she and her husband call in all favors, convincing supers that she has recaptured the momentum and it's now or never. Bill pops over to Puerto Rico while Hillary and Chelsea spend a week in South Dakota and Montana.
e. June 1: Clinton wins Puerto Rico's 55 delegate primary, netting 10+ delegates.
f. June 3: Clinton wins Montana and South Dakota's tiny primaries of 16 and 15 delegates, respectively, netting 5-10 delegates total, ending the primary season with six straight wins.
g. Somewhere between a and f, Clinton takes back the popular vote, Florida and Michigan included.
h. Summer: Superdelegates see that she has won the last six primaries in a row and eight of the last nine. They see she has a weak but existent argument as the popular vote winner. Most significantly, they see that she polls better than McCain in big battleground states. They get intimidated by the former leader of the party, President Clinton. While few to zero superdelegates leave Obama, over a hundred superdelegates hold their vote until August (awaiting cabinet secretary or undersecretary positions), and at the Democratic Convention, a floor fight decides the nominee.
i. August 28: The floor fight results in a Clinton/Obama ticket, in that order.

See? Of course she's staying in the race. She just needs a nine-step process where every last factor breaks in Clinton's direction. Easy.

Don't forget, though, before she can get to b-i, she has to start with a, a huge win in West Virginia. Here are the latest West Virginia polls. As always, most polls are found with the help of Real Clear Politics.

Suffolk 5/10 - 05/11
HC: 60
BO: 24
Clinton +36.0

ARG* 5/7 - 5/8
HC: 66
BO: 23
Clinton +43.0

Rasmussen 5/4 - 5/4
HC: 56
BO: 27
Clinton +29.0

TSG Consulting (D) 5/3 - 5/3
HC: 63
BO: 23
Clinton +40.0

West Virginia Average 5/3-5/11
HC: 61
BO: 24
Clinton +37

PPFA Analysis: Today's primary is not exactly a white-knuckler. Clinton will win and she will win big. Still, there are two factors working in Obama's favor, one heading into the vote, the other coming out.

First, any undecideds or soft Clinton voters will probably go over to Obama for the sake of expediency. Even some soft-to-moderate Clinton supporters, the ones that value the Democratic Party over their allegiance to the junior Senator from New York, might realize that a vote for Clinton is a vote for an extension, and despite telling pollsters that they prefer Clinton, they end up voting with their head instead of heart.

Second, the number "40" has been used to describe West Virginia for the past week. If Clinton wins by literally only 39, it will be looked on as worse-than-expected. Anything less than 35 and it will be disheartening for the Clinton campaign. Long story short: It will be difficult for her to get back in the race because of West Virginia.

The first factor will produce the second. Expect Clinton to win by only 30-35, which will be an underperformance, but it certainly won't make Clinton think twice about her decision to stay in the race. Then we wait for the unlikely Oregon bounce.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Even under scenario 2, it's over. This is a selfish move for Hilary.

Stephen said...

Anon, it's not selfish to run for President thinking you could do a good job for your country. It's not her fault that the media carries Obama's lunch for him. She's the best candidate against McCain and the best candidate for the country. That's why she's staying in.

IC, thanks for staying more objective than some of your readers.

Rich said...

It IS all over, do the math. The above scenarios are so impossibly unlikely, that it is over. She is staying in because up until Iowa the thought that she had the nomination in the bag. Then Obama came along and won over a majority of voting Democrats. So I agree with anonymous #1, this is a selfish move.

Also, what makes her the best canidate against McCain? Is it because they have had so many interviews and photo ops together? Is it because a couple of years ago that they both said, together, that the other would make a good President? Maybe she should run as McCain's VP.

Hillary needs to drop out for the sake of the country. We NEED an Obama Presidency.

Adam said...

Hillary says that Obama is out of touch? Does she really believe that saving 70 dollars with her supposed tax holiday makes any difference? More importantly, do Americans? Please...I owe over 1600 dollars for last winter's oil bill and it's only getting worse. A one weekend holiday relief is lame. This coming from the woman who doesn't have to pump her own gas and probably hasn't in 30 years. She is out of touch and anyone that buys her nonsense is blind.

Adam said...

And how is Hillary a better candidate to go against McCain? Sorry, I am a hard working white American and she does not speak for me or represent me. She is a rich old white woman that is out of touch with reality. She is power hungry and not concerned for real people. She couldn't even take the time to address the Sean Bell atrocity in her own state. A man was murdered by the police for nothing and she ignores the cries of the people. If she can't even address serious problems in one city how can she address the world's problems.
She has no more experience than Obama and will never beat McCain.

Colie Brice said...

As usual, she's manipulating ignorance and fear.. She has zero credibility anymore and jas utterly devastated any legacy she might have had as the first serious female Presidential candidate.

Anonymous said...

Ms Clinton has no arguement - the media just humours her. If she is such a great candidate why has she failed to beat Obama (some unknown) in every state? why does she not lead in delegates? Whoever has majority votes, states won, and delegates wins. She will beat McCain - nonsense, polls are exactly that a small sample of the large population(a piece of the puzzle, but most definately not the whole puzzle), they do not represent the whole population (anyone who has done any research will confirm this for you). And lets remember people change their minds and can after some time see reason. No one really wants a 3rd Bush term (unless I am mistaken)

IC said...

Anon #1 and Stephen, that is THE debate remaining in this primary. If only you two could settle it here.

Rich, the math suggests you are correct.

Adam, as a loyal and appreciated reader, I'm sure you realize I was just outline her side of things. I do not necessarily think she's the better general election candidate.

Colie, if you are right, she truly does not care about her party's chances in November.

Anon #2, you're right about one thing. If we've learned anything from this primary, it's that polls are short term and mean little in the long run.

Thanks for all of your comments.

Frankenstein said...

I'm probably the only person in America who's glad to see the primaries matter right down to the last one. This is good for the country and for the Democratic party, and it's pleasing to know that the debate isn't over which candidate is least bad but which is the better of two competent politicians.

Still, in the end, I hope HIllary goes down in flames. And then blows up. And disappears. With her husband.

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