Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The South has risen... at least for Obama

The South Carolina results.

Obama – 55%
Clinton – 27%
Edwards – 18%

McCain – 33%
Huckabee – 30%
Thompson – 16%
Romney -15%

The big story out of South Carolina is once again just how wrong the polls were, especially with the Democrats. On Saturday morning the latest polls had Obama with no more than an 8 point lead. No one was even close to the 28 point victory he had over Clinton. There had been lots of talk about Bill Clinton “playing the race card” all week, and that probably seriously contributed to Hillary’s drubbing. Her campaign underestimated the bitterness that would be created by Bill Clinton's role as a "bad cop" against Obama in South Carolina. This not only solidified the African-American vote for Obama, but also appears to have pushed down Clinton's share of the white vote in the final days. It seems she will have to “reinvent” herself again.

I would love to have been able to be in the room at Clinton campaign headquarters. My feeling is that after Iowa Bill Clinton decided to jump in and “fix” things since her staff couldn’t get Hillary a win in Iowa. Now, after a big time defeat in South Carolina, the Clinton campaign has to be wondering what they can do next. Lots of Democrats in Congress told Bill to “chill out” because he was destroying the party. There is a big concern that if he keeps it up the actual nomination wont be worth much as was the case with Mondale, who only won 1 state, and Dukakis, who only won 1- states, after nasty campaign fights. However, IMO, as far as the Clintons are concerned the ends justify the means.

On the Republican side there is still no clear leader even with a McCain win. It was a cold and rainy day in South Carolina for the Republican primary and the worst of the weather was in the northern part of the state. This is the area where Huckabee had his strongest support. My guess is that the weather held voter turn out down it this area and that may have helped McCain get the win. Huckabee also stuck his foot in his mouth when he even mentioned the Confederate flag. His staffers should have told him to stay a million miles away from that issue. Not even is evangelical base could help him after that. Romney was treated like the slick talking northeastern politician he is and was never a factor, and won’t be in most of the southern states. A week earlier in Nevada Mormons made up a quarter of Republican caucus participants, and 95 percent of them voted for Romney. Funny how that never gets mentioned but when 78% of black voters supported Obama it got lots of press.

Rudy Giuliani gambled and seems to have lost. I bet all the people who contributed to his campaign are pissed off at the way he decided to wait until Florida. He is polling no higher than 16% since the Iowa caucuses. Giuliani was running a hard-right campaign, and that didn't play in New Hampshire, a state with a moderate GOP electorate. He wasted most of the fall dueling with Romney over who hates immigrants more. Both candidates are full of it on the issue - neither had shown any interest in the border until they were told the GOP base was in revolt over it - and it hasn't ended up determining the GOP primaries anyway. Who ultimately won New Hampshire and South Carolina? The "amnesty" candidate, McCain. It all makes me wonder if anyone will get the Republican nomination and whoever does has any hope in November.


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