Friday, June 06, 2008

Obama lost his momentum three months ago; Hillary's second wind wasn't enough

As was pointed out, a few days ago on MSNBC Pat Buchanan challenged Richard Cohen on the latter's assertion that it's understandable for blacks to vote for Obama because he's black but "rancid" when whites back Hillary for the same reason. Cohen had preceded Buchanan's challenge by pointing out that Obama was "stumbling to the finish line" without enjoying "a triumphant win" (view the full segment).

Cohen got that one right. Indeed, from the beginning of March onward, Obama's 'momentum' dissipated. As Hillary picked up steam, the previously ubiquitous word all but vanished from media coverage of the campaign. From March through the end of the primaries on June 3, Hillary beat Obama 6,974,327-6,369,076 in total votes*. That's a comfortable 52.3%-47.7% margin.

Despite this post's title and the paragraph above, demography told the story. Braying punditry, campaign speeches, media coverage, and polling data couldn't compete with the value of demographic data in predicting outcomes, especially as the campaign wore on.

I'm currently working on estimates of vote totals by race (non-Hispanic white, black, and Hispanic) and gender for the Democratic campaign in its entirety. Because of the number of caucuses without exit polling data, it's a tedious process.

* I estimated the total turnout for Guam by presuming the population voted in the Democratic caucus at the same rate (9.7%) as those in Puerto Rico voted in the primary there. As caucuses tend to draw smaller numbers than primaries do, this probably overestimates the actual turnout somewhat. Even so the total votes via this estimate only come to 21,105. Obama won by the narrowest margins in Guam (50.1%-49.9%), so if this is artificially boosting his advantage, it's probably doing so by the tens!


al fin said...

Good point. I observed the same thing several weeks ago. Super Tuesday plus Iowa plus huge media support gave Obama a "sense of inevitability" in the public's eyes, which was actually just so much fluff. In this case, the fluff wins.

Audacious Epigone said...


Barely. Clearly the Hillary camp was foolish for not bringing Obama's racialism to the forefront earlier on. Demographics told most of the story, but whites were the least predictable. Had Reverend Wright been a household name in January, Hillary would've been the nominee.

Anonymous said...

Good work - soldier on AE

Anonymous said...

Related to Obama. This was just posted at Lawrence Auster's site, quoting Gedaliah Braun:

"The election of this black man as president will, among many other things, make all valid criticism of blacks much more difficult, and there will be even fewer people who will stand up and defend someone with the temerity to make them. Also (as I may have said to you before), there will be a substantial increase in black-on-white crime as a result of black feelings of empowerment. These effects will reach all over the world, to any society where blacks are mixed with other population groups. These will probably be some of the more minor effects of his presidency."

To me, this sounds right. He had many other things to say and Auster had sought our his opinion on the subject, "Should the word "racist" be shelved altogher". Braun added his grim thoughts on an Obama presidency towards the end of the discussion.

Audacious Epigone said...


He puts it well. I, and other who've commented here, give pretty similar assessments.

Audacious Epigone said...

Here are Braun's actual comments.