Saturday, April 5, 2008

Obama's Dwindling Coalition

I think it is all but sure that Barack Obama will get the nomination of the Democratic Party. Paired against Hillary Clinton, he really didn't get a landslide of votes. Hillary actually did better in big states and in traditional primary type elections. Barack Obama got his number one position by mostly appealing to Blacks and White males. And, that may be a problem for Obama in this Fall's general election.

If you look at California as a micro-view of the general election, Barack Obama only got 29 percent of the Hispanic vote while Hillary Clinton got 69 percent. This is a problem for Obama. Unfortunately for Barack, the Black v. Hispanic race-based politics may play a bigger part in a possible loss in the Fall than any Black v. White issue. Over the years, Black and Hispanics have become at odds with each other. Blacks view Hispanics as "job takers" because Hispanics are willing to work for lower wages. To get a feeling of the animosity of these two races, you need only look at our schools and, surprisingly, our prisons. In both cases, you will find that Blacks tend to segregate themselves more strongly away from both Whites and Hispanics. Much of this has a lot to do with neighborhood gangs which tend to be mostly comprised of these two races. In the fall, Senator Obama might find that the traditionally strong Hispanic vote may go for McCain or just might stay home on election day.

Another problem that Obama may have is within the Jewish community. His affiliation with Reverend Wright may do him more harm with this typically strong Democratic voting group. Wright's anti-Jewish views and his support of the truly anti-Jewish Louis Farrakhan has not really been addressed by Obama. He also has some known pro-Palestinian/anti-Jewish members on his advisory team like the retired General Tony McPeak. Like the Hispanic votes, this voting block may not turn out at all or, worse yet, vote for McCain who is a strong Jewish ally.

In recent polls, about 28% of Hillary Democrats said they would "defect" if Hillary didn't get the nomination. Most of those were women. This is really a gray area. It is sort of like listening to Rush Limbaugh saying he won't vote Republican if McCain gets the nomination. But, the women's vote is even a bigger voting block for the Democrats than males. They tend to show up on election day while men might be a little more inclined to stay home. The real issue is whether or not women will be so turned off by not having their day in the sun over "another" male getting the Presidency and whether or not some will stay home on election day. Some might feel that this was going to be a major step for women and it was being snatched away by Barack Obama. Consequently, if even a third of those 28 percenter's don't vote that day or vote against Obama, it could be another significant voting block that could swing things to McCain's way.

Another problem facing Obama is the fact that polling is being skewed to his favor by "lying". Yes, that's right...lying! Pollster's like Pat Cadell, who helped Jimmy Carter get into office, have noted polling inconsistencies that might be reflecting an overstating of who will actually vote for Barack Obama. The way this shows up is in the details. Within the same poll results, you might see higher poll numbers for Hillary or McCain on specific issues and on favorability. Then, when the issue of "who will you vote for" comes up, you see higher numbers for Barack Obama. This indicates some lying to the pollsters. It may be that, on the phone and in front of your listening spouse or family, the polling respondent will say they are voting for Obama but have no intention of doing so on election day. The extent to which this is going on is hard to say.

Obama's problems may be in all these numbers. Recent history has shown that the winning popular vote is usually only within two percent of the votes for either candidate. In the case of Gore v. Bush, Gore actually won the popular vote but lost the election to the electoral vote count. For this reason, Obama can't afford to lose any of the typical coalition of Democratic voters. John McCain has demonstrated his appeal to Independents and the Reverend Wright issue may have limited Senator Obama's chances with that group. To have Democrats cross over to McCain or fail to show up at the polls could seriously hurt Obama's chances of winning.

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