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Buyers Remorse Part Two--Exploding Class-Related Myths: Income & Education

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KEY FINDINGS
When comparing the February primaries to those held in March, April, and May

    · Obama only gained supported among the lowest income (up to $15K) and least educated (not a High School graduate) demographic categories.
    · Clinton’s gains came primarily from middle, upper-middle, and upper income voters, and the “Some College”, College Graduate”, and “Post Graduate” education cohorts. Obama lost considerable support within these same groups.
    · Increased support for Clinton from “working class” voters ($15K to $50K income demographic) made up less than 8% of Clinton’s increased support.

INTRODUCTION
Ever since Barack Obama was declared by the media and the Obama campaign to be the “inevitable” nominee after winning “ten straight contests” in mid-February, Democrat primary voters have been sending a message – “DO NOT WANT”. In the primaries held after Obama’s string of victories, Hillary Clinton has received 500,000 more votes than Obama (out of 12.7 million cast).

Obama supporters, and media pundits, have dismissively ascribed Clinton’s success during the past three months to racism and “low information voters.” But an analysis of exit polling data show that it is Obama who is gaining ground among voters with the lowest educational levels, while losing ground among the most educated. And Obama is losing ground to Clinton in every income demographic except the very lowest (under 15K/year).

In certain categories, both candidates saw increases in overall support. These dual increases are explained by voters who had preferred a candidate who is no longer in the race (primarily John Edwards) deciding to support to one of the remaining contestants—while the February primaries were essentially two-person contests, 3.5% of the electorate voted for someone other than Obama or Clinton. In the March through May primaries, this “someone else” vote declined to 1.6%.

Were it not for Obama’s increased support among the poorest and least educated voters, Clinton’s 500,000-vote margin over Obama in primaries held since March would be even greater. Neither “racism” nor “lack of knowledge” is driving voters away from Obama; rather it is the realization among rank and file Democrats that Hillary Clinton is far better prepared, more experienced, and more competent than Barack Obama.

(see NOTE 1 for methodology. Charts and accompanying data can be found at http://www.glcq.com/election08/remorse/r... . Full state-by-state exit poll data used in this article can be found at http://www.glcq.com/election08/remorse/r... . Part One of the Buyers Remorse series, which focuses on All voters, and the Race and Gender demographic categories can be found here.)

THE INCOME DEMOGRAPHICS

When compared with the exit polling data from February , Hillary Clinton has outperformed Barack Obama in every income demographic except for the lowest income Americans.

In the March through May primaries, both candidates saw percentage increases among voters in both the “$15K to 30K” and “30K to 50K” demographics, but Clinton did far better:

    · Clinton gained more than three times as much new support as Obama in the “$15K to $30K” demographic. (HRC +1.4%, BHO +0.4%)
    · Clinton gained more than seven times as much new support as Obama in the “$30K to 50K” demographic. (HRC +2.2%, BHO +0.3%)

CHART 1A
remorse2_1A

In the middle income and upper income brackets, Obama lost support, while Clinton not only picked up the support Obama had lost, she also attracted a significant percentage of the kind of voters who had chosen neither Clinton nor Obama in February.

    · Obama lost -2.6% of his support among “middle income” ($50K to $75K) voters, while Clinton picked up 7.3% more support.
    · Among “upper middle income” ($75K-$100K), Clinton gained 4.9% more support, while Obama lost -2.8%.
    · Voters making 100K or more also gave Clinton more support (+4.3%) while Obama received less support (-2.5%)

CHART 1B
remorse2_1B

When these demographic groups are weighed (see Note 1) to reflect the percentages of the overall Democratic primary electorate, Clinton’s advances among middle and upper income voters far outweigh her loss of support among those making “Under $15K” (Chart 1B),

    · Clinton lost less than 1% of the electorate (-0.7%) due to her loss of support among the lowest income voters (who comprised 7.3% of the Democratic primary electorate).
    · Clinton’s increase in support from voters making $15K-$50K (comprising 32.8% of the electorate) represented +0.5% of the electorate .
    · Clinton’s gains among “middle income” and “upper middle income” voters (those making $50K-100K, making up 35.6% of Democratic primary voters) made up 3.2% of the electorate.
    · Upper income voters (those making 100K or more, comprising 24.3% of voters) gave Clinton an additional 1.7% of the electorate.

TABLE 1 (Data for Charts 1A and 1B)

INCOME
 	           CHANGE IN SUPPORT	CLINTON GAIN/LOSS
 	               Clinton	Obama  Weighed  Unweighed
Under $15,000 	        -3.6%	+5.4%	-0.7%	-9.0%
$15,000 - $29,999 	+1.4%	+0.4%	+0.1%	+1.1%
$30,000 - $49,999 	+2.2%	+0.3%	+0.4%	+1.9%
$50,000 - $74,999 	+7.3%	-2.6%	+2.1%	+9.9%
$75,000 - $99,999 	+4.9%	-2.8%	+1.1%	+7.7%
$100,000 or more 	+4.3%	-2.5%	+1.7%	+6.8%

In other words, Clinton’s gains among Democratic voters during the past three months were due primarily to diminished support for Obama and greater support for Clinton among middle and upper income voters – and the media promulgated claim that ‘racist White working class’ voters account for Clinton’s success is a vicious myth that is contradicted by the actual results from the primaries.

EDUCATION:

Perhaps one of the most pernicious myths being spread by the Obama campaign and the media is that Clinton’s success since the beginning of March is due to “low information voters”. Yet, when one looks at educational levels of the electorate, it is Obama who has improved his performance among the least educated voters, while Clinton has done far better among those with the highest levels of educational achievement.

    · When comparing the February primaries to those held from March through May, Obama lost 1.9% of his support among voters who had continued their education beyond their Bachelor’s degree (“Postgraduate study”), while Clinton gained 3.5% of those voters.
    · While Obama made a slight gain (+0.5%) among those with just a College degree, Clinton’s increase in support among College graduates (+2.3%) was more than four times that of Obama.
    · Obama saw his greatest losses (-2.3%), and Clinton gained the most (+5.0%), among those who continued their education after High School, but did not get a Bachelor’s degree.
    · Clinton also gained additional support (+4.4%) from those who completed High School, but did not pursue further educational opportunities, while Obama’s support in that category declined slightly (-0.6%)

CHART 2A
remorse2_2A

As with income levels, Obama’s gains among those with the least education are far less significant than they appear, because those without a High School degree comprise only 4.9% of the Democratic primary electorate, and Obama’s +13.3% net gain in that demographic translates to a gain of only 0.6% of the electorate itself.

    · Clinton made significant gains in the support of those who graduated high school but did not graduate from college. Her increase in support from this group (which comprised 49.5% of voters) represents a net gain of 3.2% of the electorate.
    · Clinton also made gains about those who have completed college (including those who continued their education), a group that comprises 45.8% of votes. Clinton saw a net increase in support equal to 1.6% of the electorate from this group.

CHART 2B
remorse2_2B

TABLE 2 (Data for Charts 2A and 2B)

EDUCATION
 	           CHANGE IN SUPPORT	CLINTON GAIN/LOSS
 	               Clinton	Obama  Weighed  Unweighed
Not HS graduate	        -5.9%	+7.4%	-0.6%	-13.3%
High school grad	+4.4%	-0.6%	+1.0%	+5.0%
Some college	        +5.0%	-2.3%	+2.1%	+7.4%
College graduate	+2.3%	+0.5%	+0.5%	+1.9%
Postgrad study	        +3.5%	-1.9%	+1.2%	+5.4%

CLASS ISSUES (INCOME AND EDUCATION)
What happens when these two measures, income and education, are combined?

The media and Obama’s supporters have made much of Obama’s supposed far greater appeal to the “upper middle” and so-call “creative class” elites, while simultaneously attributing Clinton’s success in the March, April and May primaries to racism among the “White working class”. But exit polling data suggests that neither claim has any basis in fact. Although the exit polls themselves do not specifically address the issue of “class”, by looking at trends in income and education data, an approximation of how various socio-economic classes are voting can be determined.

THE ‘UNDERCLASS” – LOW INCOME AND LOW EDUCATION VOTERS FLOCKING TO OBAMA

While the media and Obama’s own supporters have tried to maintain a focus on Obama’s appeal to “upper” class voter, is only among the “underclass” – those voters found on the lowest rungs of the socio-economic ladder – that Obama showed any net increase improvement relative to Clinton.

    · In the lowest income demographic (under $15K), Clinton had been leading Obama in February by 4.7% (HRC 51.3%, BHO 45.6%), but in the March through May primaries, The positions were reversed, and Obama took a 3.3% lead (BHO 51.0%, HRC 47.7%).
    · Clinton’s once commanding lead among the lowest educational level demographic (non-High School graduates) declined considerably, from 30.4% in February (HRC 63.6%, BHO 33.2%) to only 17.1% (HRC 57.7%, BHO 40.6%

CHART 3A
remorse2_3A

But because low income and low education level voters make up a relatively small part of the electorate, Obama’s gains in both categories had minimal impact on the overall vote totals.

    · Low income voters make up only 7.3% of the primary electorate, and Obama’s gains translated among low income voters translated into only an additional 0.654% of the vote.
    · Non-High School graduates make up an even smaller percentage (4.9%) of the electorate, and Obama’s gains in that demographic amounted to only 0.646% of the electorate.
    · The closeness of the additional support for Obama from these two demographic groups suggests that the same voters are involved – that the “low income” voters who account for Obama’s gain among that group are also those without a high school degree.

CHART 3B
remorse2_3B

TABLE 3 (Data for Charts 3A and 3B)

THE 'UNDERCLASS' (INCOME AND EDUCATION)
                                SUPPORT LEVELS 
 	                Unweighed Data	Weighed Data
 	               Clinton 	Obama	Clinton  Obama
Under $15K  February	51.3%	45.6%	3.7%    3.3%
Under $15K  Mar-May	47.7%	51.0%	3.5%    3.7%
Not HS grad February	63.6%	33.2%	3.1%    1.6%
Not HS grad Mar-May	57.7%	40.6%	2.8%    2.0%

WORKING CLASS AND MIDDLE CLASS VOTERS –THE MYTH OF “CLINTON’S RACIST SUPPORT” DEBUNKED

As noted above, both Clinton and Obama received additional support from working class/lower-middle class voters (those making more than $15K but less than the $50K. But while Clinton expanded her lead among these income groups, her biggest gains came among the solidly ‘middle income” voters; (those making $50K to $75K. Clinton also improved on her lead against to Obama among those with just a high school degree, but showed even more significant gains (and took the lead from Obama) among those with some College education and/or an Associates Degree.

CHART 4A
remorse2_4A

Clinton expanded her lead in the $15K to 30K demographic by 1.1%, but because this group makes up only 12.7% of the voters, her gains among these voters represented only 0.1% of the electorate.
Clinton also expanded her lead among those making $30K to $50K, who make up 20.1% of the electorate. Her 1.9% increase translates into a gain of 0.4% of voters
Clinton’s 5% gain among High School graduates lead to her expanding her lead by 1.0% of voters (HS grads made up 20.7% of the electorate.)

In the February primaries, Obama received 2.7% more votes than Clinton, while Clinton received 4.0% more support than Obama in the March, April and May primaries. In other words, the 0.5% combined additional support of the income categories that make up the “White working class” voters whose supposed racism explained Clinton’s recent success made up only 7.6% of her overall gains. (See Note 2) And the net 1% more of voter support from “low information” High School graduates made up less than 1/6 (15.4%) of her increased support over Obama.

CHART 4B
remorse2_4B

Far more substantial gains were achieved by Clinton among the “middle-middle” class, which comprised 21.2% of voters, and those with some educational experience beyond High School, who were 28.8% of voters.

    · Obama had a 4.1% lead in February in the “$50K to $75K” in the February primaries, but Clinton’s gains in that category gave her a 5.8% lead in the March to May primaries. That 9.9% shift in support from “middle income” voters translates into a net gain of 2.1% of the electorate.
    · Obama also lost the lead among the “Some College” demographic who provided him with a 2.1% lead in February, but gave Clinton a 5.3% advantage in the later primaries. This 7.4% shift within the “Some college” demographic represents 2.1% of the primary electorate.
    · Clinton’s net gain of 2.1% of the electorate in both the “50K to 75K” and “Some college” demographics represented slightly over 31% of her overall net gains (6.7%) in support.

TABLE 4 (Data for Charts 4A and 4B)

MIDDLE/WORKING CLASS (INCOME & EDUCATION)
                                SUPPORT LEVELS 
 	              Unweighed Data	Weighed Data
 	              Clinton	Obama	Clinton	Obama
$15K - $30K  February	51.2%	45.0%	6.5%	5.7%
$15K - $30K  Mar-May	52.6%	45.4%	6.7%	5.8%
High Sch. grad  Feb.	54.3%	40.4%	11.2%	8.4%
High Sch. grad  Mar-May	58.6%	39.8%	12.1%	8.2%
$30K - $50K  February	48.9%	47.2%	9.8%	9.5%
$30K - $50K  Mar-May	51.1%	47.5%	10.2%	9.5%
Some college February	46.9%	49.0%	13.5%	14.1%
Some college Mar-May	51.9%	46.6%	15.0%	13.5%
$50K - $75K  February	45.1%	49.3%	9.6%	10.5%
$50K - $75K  Mar-May	52.4%	46.6%	11.1%	9.9%

“UPPER MIDDLE” AND “UPPER” CLASS – CLINTON PICKS UP CONSIDERABLE SUPPORT AMONG THE “SMART SET”

While Obama’s claim to superior appeal among the upper income/educational level demographics had some validity in February, the results of the March through May primaries tell a different story. While Obama maintained his lead in most of the demographic categories in this segment of the population, that advantage has been substantially reduced as these voters have taken a closer look at both Clinton and Obama.

    · Obama saw the least slippage in support among the “College Graduate” cohort, going from a lead of 10.3% to a lead of 8.4%.
    · Obama’s once substantial 11.6% lead in the “Post-Graduate” demographic was cut almost in half, and was only 6.2% in the March through May primaries.
    · Upper-middle income ($75K-100K) voters switched sides. In February, Obama had a 4.7% lead among these voters, but a shift of 7.7% of these voters resulted in a Clinton advantage of 3.1% in the March through May primaries.
    · Upper income ($100K plus) voters also shifted in large number to Clinton, cutting Obama’s February lead of 9.8% within that group to only 3.0% in the later primaries.

CHART 5A
remorse2_5A

Clinton’s gains among these demographic categories represented substantial portions of the overall primary electorate

    · In terms of the overall electorate, upper-middle income voters were 14.4% of the electorate, and the upper income cohort was 24.3% of primary voters. College graduates made up 24.4% of voters, and the “Postgraduate” group was 21.4% of voters.
    · Clinton’s gains among upper-middle income voters, upper income voters, College graduates, and “Post-graduates represented shifts in the overall electorate of 1.1%, 1.7%, 0.5%, and 1.2% respectively.

In other words, despite being declared the “inevitable nominee” in mid-February, not only did Barack Obama fail to increase his support in the “class” based categories his campaign brags about, he lost considerable support in those demographics.

CHART 5B
remorse2_5B

TABLE 5 (Data for Charts 5A and 5B)

UPPER MIDDLE/UPPER CLASS (INCOME AND EDUCATION)
                                SUPPORT LEVELS 
 	              Unweighed Data	Weighed Data
 	               Clinton 	Obama	Clinton  Obama
College grad February	42.8%	53.1%	10.4%	12.9%
College grad Mar-May	45.1%	53.5%	11.0%	13.0%
$75K - $100K  February	45.8%	50.5%	6.6%	7.2%
$75K - $100K  Mar-May	50.7%	47.7%	7.3%	6.8%
Postgrad study February	42.8%	54.4%	9.2%	11.6%
Postgrad study Mar-May	46.3%	52.5%	9.9%	11.2%
$100K or more February	43.8%	53.6%	10.6%	13.0%
$100K or more Mar-May	48.1%	51.1%	11.7%	12.4%

NOTE 1 -- METHODOLOGY
All states in which exit polling is available and in which Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were the only two “major” candidates are included in the data for this survey. (In essence, all primary states from Super Tuesday onward.)

Exit polling data was taken from the CBS News website at http://election.cbsnews.com/campaign2008...

Vote totals were taken from official state websites where available, and when those were not available, totals were based on publicly available news sources. A full list of states and the websites from which the data was gotten can be found at http://www.glcq.com/election08/state_lin...

To determine overall percentages, each states exit polling percentages were multiplied by the total number of votes in that state within each category, then those votes were distributed to Clinton and Obama based on the percentages found in the exit polls. (Total votes included only ballots that were counted as having valid votes.) After each candidates vote total was determined for each category in each state, each category, and the candidate’s vote in each category, was summed, and a percentage of the total vote for each candidate in each category was derived from those numbers.

Weighed averages were determined by multiplying the percentage for each candidate in a given category by the percentage that category comprised of the overall vote total. (i.e. if category X comprised 40% of the total vote, and Clinton received 60% of the vote in category X, Clinton’s Category support from Category X comprised 24% (60% time 40%) of the electorate.)

NOTE 2: ROUNDING “ERRORS”
In certain cases, rounding “errors” are responsible for differences in reported changes in support described in the text in certain demographic categories from the data found in the tables and charts. For instance, the percentages in February for the $50K to $75K cohort round to 45.1% for Clinton, and 49.3% for Obama, which looks like a 4.2% lead for Obama. But as noted in the text, that lead is only 4.1%, because the actual Clinton percentage was 45.133% and Obama’s was 49.261%, and the difference between the two is 4.128%.

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BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Is there any way to print these out so they look nice and pretty? If so, do you mind if I do that and circulate them like articles (with your name as author, of course). I'd like to get these further than the internet.

admin's picture
Submitted by admin on

I made his post into a "book," which means that now there is a "printer friendly" link to the story.

Also, click "Up", and you'll get a link that formats all the posts in a printer friendy way.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Paul,

Why do you think a coherently presented compilation of established data and facts is more meaningful than the toad croaking inside Chris Matthews' head?

Shudder to think of the day when a mere presentation of irrefutable data is enough to over-rule the Village.

You appear to be one of those people in the "reality-based" community, you poor sap.

-----------------------------

Good night and good riddance!

dotcommodity's picture
Submitted by dotcommodity on

... all of us poor saps: leftovers from the reality-based community...

dotcommodity's picture
Submitted by dotcommodity on

I have one suggestion for improvement in the graphs that would make these a slam dunk to absorb.

Please turn them so + is up, - is down.

I find I literally have to turn my head sideways to absorb the message. If I don't it looks confusing and I drift mentally... Once I "see" it correctly as + means "up" and - means "down" then I get it. Bingo!

Especially as that also often makes a left to right timeline, which also slams it home, as that IS how time goes, right?

:~)

Look, I know this sounds ridiculous, but please humour me. I believe there are many other visual thinkers like me out there, and your work is so fantastic and neccessary, I want it to impact more!

(I sent your last one to Supers who need to see the truth. And I bet I'm not the only one. Nobody is doing anything like these.)

Submitted by lambert on

... and I'll try to do it.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Since it is established that a majority of AA's live in the income groups that Obama gained support in, doesn't that explain his increases?

I mean, it just seems to me that his increases in support among the "underclass" could be coming from AA's, how does this refute the media driven idea that the racist white underclass isn't voting for him.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

Given the results given by Paul's post, Obama's new coalition is a mirage. If he takes it seriously, his support may be astonishingly low.

If Hillary supporters will stay out in large numbers, Obama not only will be defeated but he will drag down with him many congressional Democrats.

The numbers are surprising mainly because they contract the prevailing political narrative. I wonder whether there is work on the reasons for the huge disparity between the narrative and the facts. It might be work about different societies or previous election cycles.

Was the blog-reading population swayed by the goony behavior of Kos & Josh and Company to believe that all "educated" people are Obama supporters?

Is it possible that the better Clinton numbers are the result of women vote, while males continue their mindless support of Obama?

I wonder, Paul, whether you have explanation for these disparities. I do have my own, kind of, explanation but comments I left here or other blogs were not happily accepted. (Not that it affects me a bit.)

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

bd blue...

I can send you the word documents that I actually wrote the pieces in that are suitable for printing. email me at plukasiak
at
comcast
dot
net

and I'll send them on as attachments.

*********
re "up/down" "left/right" the reason that the charts are not "up/down" is simple --- data labels (and Lambert's insistence that I actually fit the charts into the space that Corrente allows). If you do "column" instead of "bar" charts, with some of the charts, in order to label the data and have each column be labelled properly, the print would have to be so small that it would be unreadable.
So, in order to have consistent charts, I used the bars instead of the columns.

But its really easy to change it to column charts....

1) open a blank excel worksheet
2) go to http://www.glcq.com/election08/remorse/r...
3) Select ALL (CTRL-A) and COPY (CTRL-C) the web page
4) paste it into excel
5) Click on each chart, and then click on "chart type", and change it to "column".

nthis will reverse the intuitive order of the data (March-May data will be to the left of February data) and for charts 3A/B through 5A/B, you're going to have to do adjust the chart size (on the web page, all the data is in one chart and on one table).

dotcommodity's picture
Submitted by dotcommodity on

Income In 1,000's:
<15 30 50 >100

(I cannot do fancy excel work any more...stbeen years... )

Thanks, Lambert!

koshembos's picture
Submitted by koshembos on

We, the disloyal opposition to Obama, are the schmata.

herb the verb's picture
Submitted by herb the verb on

Schmata!

Buddah boom, Crash!

Zero Mostel would love ya.

Hello Madda, hello Fadda
Here I am at
Camp Granada!

-----------------------------

Good night and good riddance!

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

I wonder, Paul, whether you have explanation for these disparities. I do have my own, kind of, explanation but comments I left here or other blogs were not happily accepted. (Not that it affects me a bit.)

some of the difference can be explained by differences in the sample -- the March-May states have far more of appalacia in them than the February states, for instance. But the reason I did the "Oklahoma v West Virginia" post is that I've been working on this 'larger' study for a long time, and the overall data trends don't support the "white appalacia is vastly different from the rest of white America" theory.

Even if it were true that the "gains" that clinton achieved are merely the result of different samples, all that tells you is that the results from Febrary were grossly unrepresentative of the nation as a whole -- in other words, you'd have to look at ALL the data. And, when you look at ALL the data, Clinton does better in most groups than she did in February because of the imbalances in Obama's support. (see below)

*******
Since it is established that a majority of AA’s live in the income groups that Obama gained support in, doesn’t that explain his increases?

while that is intuitively obvious, and is possibly even provable by using county level data cross referenced to race/income census data (or more sophisticated analytical tools), what I'm working with doesn't allow me to say it because it not in the data itself.

Which goes back to what I was saying to Koshembos about how the different demographic categories look when taken in the aggregate. African Americans have lower median incomes, and lower median education levels, than the rest of the country -- and with 32.3% of Obama's Feb-May support was from African Americans, and with the overall black vote being split 84.0% (BHO) to 13.4% (HRC), it means that Obama's support is going to come out looking less affluent and less educated.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

So I don't know if it is fair to claim that Obama is gaining support amongst the underclass, implying as you do, that these are the voters the media has "assigned" to Clinton.

They the data proves beyond reasonable doubt that Clinton has only gained in strength, and will likely continue to do so.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

You haven’t convinced me that the contest doesn’t remain close, with Obama holding the edge if the rules don’t change. You haven’t discovered a landslide for Clinton, but you have provided arguments that may or may not carry the day for her.

The reason that I do this stuff isn't to "prove" anything, its an effort to respond to the one-dimensional thinking of Obama supporters (ie. "More Delegate = Entitled to Nomination") with multi-dimensional arguments.

(and its for this reason that I think 'fauxgressives' is an appropriate term for Obama supporters on-line. Progressive are people who consider all the data...and who try and look at the data from all possible perspectives. The mind-numbingly simplistic nature of the Obot argument is so antithetical to everything that represents the progressive mindset that these people cannot possibly be real progressives -- they're simply liberal versions of Limbaugh dittoheads).

But I don't think that anything that I do will be useful to an Obama election, because he does not know how to confront his weaknesses --- instead he evades/avoids them. Obama has never developed the kinds of political skills that Clinton has spent her entire adult life learning -- instead, he simply reinvents himself, and has been lucky enough up until this point that no one paid much attention to his "Madonna of politics" routine.

If Obama does get the nomination, this is going to be the ugliest presidential campaign EVER, because the only way for Obama to beat McCain is to drive up McCain's negatives.

dotcommodity's picture
Submitted by dotcommodity on

she got more postgrads - she got more of everybody!

So this really nails my growing feeling: that the "educated" voter finally started growing some independent thinking skills.

It is odd that initially they lagged the School Of Hard Knocks bunch, as they probably did study George Orwell in school...

To be honest, even I didn't see him as an actual menace to the Democratic agenda till he resolutely fought for the feeblest in healthcare...March? Only then did I look more carefully into his climate policy: I summarised the differences here

His climate/energy plan is also actually well to the right of the average Democrat in congress, despite the correct rhetoric.

And that it was cooked up by a bunch of Republican old farts and lobbyists (even the CEO of Exelon, nuke power) over at The Bipartisan (no kidding!) Policy Center - who also initiated his campaign donation headstart, as detailed in the comments.

So, I do think it took a few months to see what he really was. A parked car*.

*SF Mayor Gavin Newsome, a Clinton supporter: on why Republicans hate her: "dogs don't bark at a parked car!"

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

Via Talk Left, a regression analysis of the difference between the four states that have held caucuses and primaries (here's a preview: caucuses are undemocratic jokes and without them, Obama would be in big trouble in the pledged delegate count. If the primaries in these four states had counted instead of the caucuses, he'd lose more than a 100 delegates).

And, via Anglachel, I Will Derive

corinne's picture
Submitted by corinne on

Data aren't weighed. They're weighted.

A_B's picture
Submitted by A_B on

Given the following:

"First, there is no relationship between how candidates perform among any particular group of voters in primaries and how they do with that segment in the general election. In 1992, Bill Clinton lost college-educated voters to Paul Tsongas in the early competitive primaries, but he went on to win that group in November by the largest margin any Democrat ever had. Similarly, John Kerry lost young voters in the competitive primaries in 2004 before going on to win them by a record margin in the general election." (emphasis added)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/opinio...
"Mark Mellman is a Democratic pollster whose clients include the majority leaders of the House and Senate. He polled for John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign."

Given this statement, what is the point of this exercise? Are we to dismiss Mark Mellman's years of experience and his conclusion in favor of Paul Lukasiak, who has stated that "I’m not an “expert” on anything", and his implicit point that primary performance does relate to the general? While this post (and the previous) was obviously a lot of work, it ignores the fact, as noted by Mellman and many others (e.g., Atrios, "One thing I'm looking forwarded to is not being bombarded by transparently stupid arguments about how performance in a state primary has some meaningful mapping to performance in the general election."), that the voting patterns in the primary do not reflect voting patterns in the general election. Is there a post somewhere that refutes this "primary v. general voting patterns" point?

It appears well settled that the two are not related, and consequently, there is very little to be drawn from exercises such as the current one.

"But I don’t think that anything that I do will be useful to an Obama election, because he does not know how to confront his weaknesses —- instead he evades/avoids them."

What do you consider Obama's speech on race in response to the Wright controversy? Do you consider that speech and evasion or avoidance? While it obviously did not end the controversy, it is hard to characterize it as avoidance of a weakness.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Do you consider that speech and evasion or avoidance?

Evasion. The only reason he made The Greatest Speech EVAH was because they Wright issue was hurting him. And considering there was no follow up on that national conversation on race we were all supposed to be having, except to accuse the people who aren't voting for him as bitter clingy racists, I don't even think it qualifies as evasion. More like a diversion.

Bill Clinton for First Dude!!!

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

For instance, if Obama wins the nomination, do you think that his performance among African American voters is predictive of how they would vote in the general election?

If you don't then you are an idiot.

But there is a larger point -- the question isn't whether one candidate or another "wins" a demographic, its a question of the margins/turnout that one candidate or another will achieve in the general election in that demographic.

Clinton would do better in the general election than Obama in those demographic categories where she does signficantly better than Obama in the primaries, and vice versa. And when a candidate loses support in a demographic category over time, it means that they are far more vulnerable among those cohorts where they are able to maintain or increase their support.

I understand this. Most people here understand this -- its why we look at data and then we say stuff like "Obama will do better than Clinton among black voters" or "Clinton will do better than Obama among white working class voters."

People like yourself (and if you are representing him correctly, Duncan) are projecting their own stupidity on others -- just because you're an idiot, doesn't mean everyone else is.

Submitted by gob on

I'm glad this issue of "no relation between primary and general election performance" came up here, because I had heard this conventional wisdom before, and more or less swallowed it without asking what it could mean.

It seems not to mean anything. Suppose we want to test the following:

“First, there is no relationship between how candidates perform among any particular group of voters in primaries and how they do with that segment in the general election"

How could we do it? Wouldn't we have to run more than one version of the general election, one for each pair of candidates? That is, the statement seems to mean that even if A does better than B in the primary with group G, there's no reason to believe that A will do better than B (against C) in the general with that group. How could anybody know this?

Does the statement mean something else? Help!

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Wouldn’t we have to run more than one version of the general election, one for each pair of candidates? That is, the statement seems to mean that even if A does better than B in the primary with group G, there’s no reason to believe that A will do better than B (against C) in the general with that group. How could anybody know this?

no. we can look at state exit polling data, and compare it to contemporaneous general election polling data from the same states to test the theory -- and then compare the actual general election results to see if there is a pattern of support in the specific demographics in which the nominee was relatively weak or strong.

For instance, on March 4 in Ohio, Clinton outpolled Obama among women by 57% to 41%, indicating that Clinton -- suggesting that Clinton would do better than Obama among women against the GOP candidate. And in am SUSA GE poll taken Feb 26-28th, Clinton has a 16 point advantage against McCain among women, while Obama's margin is 11 points. Clinton's margin among women is 5 points higher.

An SUSA poll taken on March 14-16 shows Clinton beating McCain among women by 9 points, and Obama beating McCain by 4 points... again, Clinton's margin is 5 points higher.

Gather enough data similar to this from various states and demographic groups, and its probably possible to 'prove' that there is a relationship between the margins that will be achieved within demographic groups, and the relative support that each candidate gets relative to the GOP candidate.

Submitted by gob on

then seems possible - thanks for the explanation.

Has anyone bothered, or is it just considered self-evident by pollsters (in spite of the op-ed that kicked all this off)?

Of course, there's still the disconnect between general election polls taken at the time of the primary, and the actual election. My impression is that this is a huge disconnect.

Historiann's picture
Submitted by Historiann on

Thank you so much for your incredible work in these posts. You write, "But I don’t think that anything that I do will be useful to an Obama election, because he does not know how to confront his weaknesses —- instead he evades/avoids them." This has concerned me, too. Why didn't he campaign in West Virginia and Kentucky, if he really has the nomination all sewn up? Why does it appear that he only wants to talk to audiences and constituencies who already agree with him, rather than do the hard work of courting people and winning them over? That's what a more self-confident politician would do. And that's what a general election requires. We know already that McCain is ginning up a big effort to win back women voters, and if women leave the Democratic Party this fall, it's game over.

A friend of mine just walked through the room and said, "what we're getting with this guy is a new Jimmy Carter, when what we need now is a new Lyndon Johnson." (Except that I'd take Jimmy Carter's energy policy happily!)

(Sorry to be late to the discussion. I just wanted to express my appreciation for your work here.)

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Has anyone bothered, or is it just considered self-evident by pollsters (in spite of the op-ed that kicked all this off)?

let me put it this way. Mellman is a partisan hack who set up a straw man in order to knock him down. The whole point of the piece was to argue that Obama's disasterous showing among "white working class" voters doesn't "prove" that he'll do poorly among them in november. If he was intellectually honest, he would have talked about a demographic group whose voting behavior is unreliable --the 18-24 year olds who consistently underperform expectations on election day.

I mean, lets face it, no one ever says "Obama's appeal to young voters during the primaries is meaningless". They talk about the "new coalition" he's building, using exit polling data to justify their conclusions about this new coalition -- so if there was no validity in the predictive value of primary results, why is this the first we're hearing about it?

I'm sure that this kind of stuff has been proven --- and proven over and over again.

Mellman is just another Obot making the rather obvious point that one or the other Democrat has to win the Utah primary but that doesn't mean they'll win Utah's electoral college vote in order to attempt to rebut Clinton's electability argument. Its transparent political hackery, and the fact that this guy is writing this kind of crap means he's got some clients who support Obama.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Why didn’t he campaign in West Virginia and Kentucky, if he really has the nomination all sewn up? Why does it appear that he only wants to talk to audiences and constituencies who already agree with him, rather than do the hard work of courting people and winning them over?

Because while Obama has got political "gifts", he's got no political skills. And the reason he has no skills is that he's never needed them thanks to some sleazebag politics (his first State Senate race) and some rather fortuitous implosion of his opposition in races that he would not have won otherwise.

And he sees no need to develop political skills because he's never needed them in the past.

I don't think Obama really belongs in politics at all... no real politician would ever think that a primary campaign was "boring" -- exhausting and frustrating and annoying at times certainly, but never boring. He's not campaigning, he's performing, and like any actor who is required to give the same performance over and over again, he gets bored with it.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

he's not energized/fed by the whole process of meeting people and selling himself over and over everywhere in any setting he finds himself in--he doesn't have any retail or personal one-on-one charisma, and can only do arenas where he's scripted, i think. PA proved that too--his "bus tour of the working class" totally failed.

I can't remember any national Democratic politician who complains of having to actually campaign--ever.

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

and that he's been chosen and is being installed.

He looks weaker and weaker to me because it gets more and more obvious he doesn't want to do all the stuff-- walk door-to-door and do rope lines and have to actually engage one-on-one, etc.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

Of course, there’s still the disconnect between general election polls taken at the time of the primary, and the actual election. My impression is that this is a huge disconnect.

of course early polling has far less predictive value -- people aren't focussed on the choices in the general election campaign during the primaries. But that is separate and distinct from the 'predictive value" of primary exit polling, which can tell you a lot about a candidates' relative strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities and potential in various demographic categories.

phat's picture
Submitted by phat on

It seems that primary voting is predictive of GE election voting.

What I mean is that someone who voted in a primary is more likely to vote in a general election. This may seem obvious. But the numbers are actually pretty stark.

In my county, at least, a person who votes in the primary is IIRC 10% more likely than the average registered voter to vote in November.

Now the question that needs to be asked is who are they going to vote for?

If the person they voted for in the primary is not on the GE ballot what are they going to do?

They are more likely to actually vote. What is the primary winner going to do to make sure they vote for them?

How do they ask for their vote?

dogooder's picture
Submitted by dogooder on

Democrat primary voters have been sending a message – “DO NOT WANT”. In the primaries held after Obama’s string of victories, Hillary Clinton has received 500,000 more votes than Obama (out of 12.7 million cast).

I don't know if your numbers are accurate, but in any event 500K out of 12700K is less than 4%. That is, she's winning by less than 52-48%. Won't any objective observer conclude that that's a far cry from the supposed scream of "DO NOT WANT"?

amberglow's picture
Submitted by amberglow on

from his campaign, from the media, from him himself, & from all of his supporters is "It's over. He's won. It's done."

Voters have rebelled at his own messages and the media's. That's the point--when the world has declared him the winner is when voters are purposely proving him wrong over and over.

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

I don’t know if your numbers are accurate

I went to the official state election sites and got the numbers from there wherever those numbers existed.

I don’t know if your numbers are accurate, but in any event 500K out of 12700K is less than 4%.

the actual percentage is 4.02%.... I didn't think I'd have to deal with the kind of stupidity that thinks that I meant that "500,000", and "12.7 million" meant exactly those number -- I keep forgetting how Obots think.

Won’t any objective observer conclude that that’s a far cry from the supposed scream of “DO NOT WANT”?

not when the voters are being told that a candidate is the "inevitable nominee". An objective observer would recognize that the refusal of well over half the voters in the democratic primaries to get behind the nominee was highly significant.

McCain was declared "inevitable" after Super Tuesday, and this then he lost one state (Louisiana) that voted the Saturday after ST (and only by 1%)... GOP voters may have been unhappy with their nominee, but they got behind him.

Obama has lost seven of 11 states that have voted since February 19. He has lost by substantial margins in key swing states like Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has lost in states like Texas -- which isn't exactly "Clinton country". He has lost by massive margins in the 'bellweather' state of West Virginia.

Where has Obama won? Well, there's Vermont -- a state so politically bizarre that it has a Socialist for a Senator. Two other states he won solely on the basis of identity politics (NC, and MS).

And he lost self identified Democrats by 6.1 points.

And the fact is that except for the African American demographic, there has been considerable erosion in Obama's support in every significant demographic category -- and were it not for his overwhelming support among African Americans that is clearly based solely on identity politics, the "DO NOT WANT" message would be a whole lot clearer.

dogooder's picture
Submitted by dogooder on

the actual percentage is 4.02%

So we're actually splitting hairs here. (But I'll add that according to my math you didn't include the Texas caucuses, right? I couldn't find exact numbers in my quick google search, but the turnout was estimated somewhere between 500K and 1 million. If you count his large win among these voters, the difference would drop to below 3%.)

No one's denying that the race isn't a close one, certainly not me. And Clinton's done very well. But when the votes are counted, Obama does come out on top. And it's been clear that that would be the case since late February. (Among pledged delegates, at least. The popular vote was going to be closer, but of course Obama would have campaigned rather differently if it was the popular vote that counted, rather than the number of delegates.)

Submitted by Paul_Lukasiak on

So we’re actually splitting hairs here. (But I’ll add that according to my math you didn’t include the Texas caucuses, right? I couldn’t find exact numbers in my quick google search, but the turnout was estimated somewhere between 500K and 1 million. If you count his large win among these voters, the difference would drop to below 3%.)

you actually want to count the same voters twice?

Is this really how Obots think? Although I will give you credit for coming up with something that is more than just mind-numbingly stupid, it is also original. Send me Axelrod's address, and I'll recommend that you get a raise to $4.25 for your trolling duties.

And Clinton’s done very well. But when the votes are counted, Obama does come out on top.

you mean if you include the Texas doppelgangers? Or the people that never voted for Obama in Michigan? Because INTENT isn't a vote... ask the over 100,000 people in Florida in 2000 who intended to vote for someone, but screwed up.

Because that's the only way Obama ends up with the most votes. And to get techical about it, caucus attendance don't 'vote', so we can wipe out all of Obamas "vote" gains there as well.

Not that we have to, but if you're gonna pull this kind of bullshit, I might as well come up with really stupid arguments of my own, since you seem to be really receptive the the dumbest possible ideas.

dogooder's picture
Submitted by dogooder on

you actually want to count the same voters twice?

But their votes did count twice--once in the primary (where 128 delegates were awarded) and once in the caucus (67 delegates). I didn't come up with this idea, it's how the Texas two-step works.

You don't have to count the caucus voters, but in the interest of honesty I think you should have at least mentioned that, since you didn't reveal the numbers you used. Wyoming was the only other post-February caucus. Did you include their numbers?

By Obama coming out on top, I meant mainly by pledged delegates (since that's the metric that actually counts), as I explained, which is true regardless of how Michigan and Florida are resolved.

I didn't understand your last sentence.