2 Responses

  1. Half thoughts? More like fully-formed think-tank briefing reports! As always, I tremble in awe of the denseness of your analysis…so rather than try and be equal in reply, I’ll leave a couple of half-thoughts:

    1) Weakly-tied Republican/non-affiliated voters

    Are these the same ‘silent majority’? Only tenuous anecdotal evidence (e.g. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jon-wiener/republicans-for-obama-ho_b_88353.html ) suggests they may prefer Obama to Clinton – and if this is the case, could this demographic compensate for the disproportionate effect you talk about?

    2) Republicans seem to fear an Obama/McCain election?

    And that’s led to a ‘campaign’, by none other than Rush Limbaugh, for Republicans to vote for Clinton in open primaries (cf. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/03/10/wuspols310.xml and from the man himself – http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,334669,00.html ).

    Limbaugh explicitly states that he wants to ‘keep the Dems at war’, which is a rather neat tactic – why not extend the time period where Democrats spend their own supporter’s money to explain why each Deomocratic candidate is not suitable for presidential office…

  2. Hey Guy, I cannot argue with your logic, but the problem here is data, or the lack of it. This is about forecasting votes, a notoriously difficult thing to do at the best of times. Not only have I not got enough data to reach a conclusion on Republican attitudes to the Democrat nomination race, but once you entertain the possibility of bluffs and double-bluffs it is impossible to draw conclusions about why people do what they do. Republicans may be voting for Obama in the primaries because they like him, and Republicans may be voting for Clinton in the primaries because they dislike her and think she would lose to McCain. The problem is that logic could just as easily be applied the opposite way around! Is Limbaugh telling people to vote Clinton because he thinks she would be easier to beat, or is he doing it because he thinks she would be harder to beat and wants to encourage Democrats to rally behind Obama? You also seemed to have missed a rather unpalatable corollary of your argument – you imply that Limbaugh is an astute reader and player of American political games, and not just a buffoon that says and does things to attract attention to himself…

    Anyhow, the best data we have is provided by the national polls http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2008/president/national.html and not inferences from other kinds of contests. At present they suggest Clinton is marginally more popular Obama, both as a straight choice between the two and when each is compared to McCain. The problem for the Democrats is that the polls suggest McCain may be more popular than either Democrat candidate. Whatever happens, it looks set to be a tight race.

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