Posted by Rojas @ 9:59 pm on April 23rd 2008

Collaboration status: enthusiastic

Those who contend that the ever-lengthening primary season is good news for the Democrats might want to take a long look at what the McCain people are saying…ahem…”to their supporters”…today. From an emailed press release:

Exit polls reveal why this poses significant problems for Obama if he becomes the nominee. The most important problem: Clinton voters don’t automatically become Obama voters after he becomes the nominee. In fact, Obama leaves large portions of Clinton’s coalition on the table in November. Clinton shows her broad coalitional strength and wins 81% in a general election match up against John McCain.

A full quarter of the Democrats in Pennsylvania are not willing to cast their ballot for Obama against McCain (15% say they vote McCain and 10% say they stay home), however, Clinton loses only 17% of Democrats (10% for McCain and 7% would not vote). This gap of 8-points would be significant in a general election match up. President Bush lost Pennsylvania by 2-points in 2004, when 41% of the electorate were Democrats. That 8-point gap among Democrats is enough to swing the state the other way (8% of 41% is 2.8-points, turning Pennsylvania red).

The point, of course, is that this talking point serves the interests of the Clinton campaign a lot better than it does McCain. As does this:

Since last night, the Clinton campaign reportedly raised $10 million dollars online – enough to make a significant dent in upcoming media buys in North Carolina and Indiana

The Democrats are certainly free to nominate whoever they wish. But there isn’t a lot of question who McCain wants to face at this point. He’s now actively carrying water for Clinton, and is wise to do so.


  1. And the North Carolina GOP—in spite of McCain’s protestations—will be actively running a negative ad campaign against Obama preceding their primary.

    As much as I know you guys take me for an Obama cheerleader, what’s interesting is while I DO think Obama is the stronger of the two, and the better able to take advantage of McCain’s weaknesses (young, against the war from the start, soaks independents, etc), I don’t know that I’m wholly on board with the idea that, from a McCain perspective, Clinton would be far easier to beat. The problems he would face would be markedly different, but he’d still have problems. Obama would have him playing all over the map; Clinton would be stronger in those 12 traditional battleground states. Obama would be able to define higher contrasts; Clinton would be able to beat McCain to the center (presuming Obama doesn’t successfully redefine what the center is, which is the big fear Republicans must (or ought to) have).
    You could create a list of the different pros vs. cons of each candidate against McCain, and while I don’t buy the Clinton list, it’s not impossible to argue it.

    Yeah, okay, I don’t buy most of this post either, but still.

    You’re right though; at this point there’s no mistaking who the Republicans want to face (and, of course, they can have their cake and eat it to in this one, in that they also have a stake in extending the primary, so even if they DO face Obama, Obama after 6 more months of an active race is, presumably (though not inarguably), better too.

    Comment by Brad — 4/23/2008 @ 10:47 pm

  2. I think that what the Republicans want in terms of a Democrat presidential candidate may, in fact, be a different thing from the candidate McCain might do best against. I think that from the general Republican point of view, a Hillary candidacy is the best thing because the Republicans are worried about taking a hammering across the board. Clinton is dangerous in those battleground states, but she’s not that popular across most of the country, so her name on the ballot might help other Republicans than McCain.

    Personally, I think that Clinton might be tougher in a long campaign — her campaign may not have enough plan Bs, but she’s pretty mobile and they find new ones; Obama, it seems to me, might not have much mobility if “hope and change” is falling flat — but if the Democrats don’t pick a candidate until June, it’s not going to be that long a campaign. With Obama, he’s deadly when the wheels are on; can McCain knock the wheels off? It’s a big risk; if he can’t, Obama can keep him running all over the country stumping in places with no money and in which he shouldn’t have to campaign (I think that the magnitude of the red-state threat of Obama may be overstated in general, actually, although he could be tough in VA; in any case, though, he can cause some distraction). Finally, I think that Obama’s less strong when the campaign is focussed on a small number of states, which will also suit McCain because he’ll not be able to afford a national campaign; if McCain can draw Obama into some tough fights in a small number of states (presumably by threatening states that team Obama believe they have to win) then he can potentially turn those tables. Pennsylvania could be one of those.

    Comment by Adam — 4/23/2008 @ 11:33 pm

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