Obama and Clinton Seen As Equally "In Touch" In Pennsylvania

I was watching a Barack Obama townhall in North Carolina on CNN.com earlier and the guy I saw on that stage was not the same old confident Barack Obama that I'm used to seeing on the campaign trail. My gut is that Pennsylvania has shaken him. He is sounding to me as though he thinks he has to be everyone's friend, like he has bought into the hype that he needs to be more down home, more accessible, less the caricature of the "out of touch elitist" his opponents would like us to think he is. His manner is more casual but in a sort of forced way and so to me he comes off as less genuine, which is about the worst thing a politician can appear to be. Which says to me he should probably listen to his own talking points more and to the media, which has actually absorbed the Clinton post-PA talking points, less. Looking at the CNN exit polls, turns out Pennsylvanians actually did not see Obama as any less "in touch" than Clinton at all.

Is Clinton in touch with people like you?

ClintonObama
Yes (67%)73%27%
No (32%)17%83%

Is Obama in touch with people like you?

ClintonObama
Yes (66%)37%63%
No (33%)90%10%

Who is in touch with people like you?

ClintonObama
Only Clinton (26%)98%2%
Only Obama (25%)4%96%
Both (41%)56%44%
Neither (7%)61%39%

As you can see, the percentage of the PA electorate that felt that each candidate was in touch with "people like them" was virtually identical (67% & 66%), as was the percentage of support each candidate got from those that felt that he or she alone was in touch with people like them (98% & 96%). Ultimately, the race was won or lost among those who felt that both candidates were equally in touch; in other words, on other issues entirely.

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, Barack Obama, Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton, Pennsylvania Primary (all tags)

Comments

35 Comments

that was before

Hillary won PA and the issue was discussed in the media, and before Jerry Wright decided to speak at the NAACP and say the things he did. We'll see how this makes Indiana play out

by DiamondJay 2008-04-28 05:54PM | 0 recs
Re: that was before

The media has picked up on Wright as the dominant issue of this part of the campaign.  Wright is clearly running with the attention.  The press loves to eclipse real issues with this kind of stuff, for both candidates, in general, but usually the subject does not use it quite in the way Wright is.  It's a unique and horrible situation.

by mady 2008-04-28 06:03PM | 0 recs
we can thank Wright

because he won't just shut up already. he could have, but he figures "if my rep is going down, Obama is comin with me" because he knows all he has to do is not say that "Obama is a politician" and say Obama genuinely disagrees with him, and not come out and say such other things like he does

by DiamondJay 2008-04-28 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: we can thank Wright

He said that today - the quote was something like "I told Obama, if he's President then I'm coming after him because he'll be representing a government that grinds under people."

It really doesn't matter what Wright says, because he'll get sound-bitten to death - even the "politician" quote you referenced is actually incredibly benign, but it dominated the coverage of the Moyers interview.  What matters is what Obama says.

The press has decided that Wright is crazy and is killing Obama's candidacy.  Once they decide on something they report accordingly.

by Mostly 2008-04-28 11:00PM | 0 recs
Re: that was before

Hillary won PA and the issue was discussed in the media, and before Jerry Wright

Can we call her "Hillsy," please?  Seriously, if you want a serious discussion, you have to start with respect.  If you just want to snark or flame, however, you should continue assigning people nicknames.  Dubya's quite a champ at this, I gather...

by username3 2008-04-29 12:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and Clinton Seen As Equally "In T

Nothing winning can't cure .

Win Indiana/NC , he is the man , and all of this other stuff goes down the crapper.

Lose Indiana and win NC by a hair and he continues his troubles.

by lori 2008-04-28 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and Clinton Seen As Equally "In T

True enough.

I can't stand this endless limbo of a primary.  Nobody can.  I'm convinced it's making us completely crazy.

by Mostly 2008-04-28 11:01PM | 0 recs
Hillary wins Independents OVER OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hillary vs McCain wins more independents than Obama vs McCain as per this link.

If this is true or believed to be true at DNC head quarters Obama is FINISHED.

http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsm emo.com/2008/04/associated_press_poll_hi llary.php

by DTaylor 2008-04-28 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary wins Independents OVER OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

One poll.

by politicsmatters 2008-04-28 06:09PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary wins Independents OVER OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

i thought you guys hated us independents. I've never once seen a positive thing in regards to independents.

by alex100 2008-04-28 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary wins Independents OVER OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

That was before you broke for Clinton, apparently.

Now you're hot stuff.

by Capt America 2008-04-28 07:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary wins Independents OVER OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

i would have "broken" for clinton earlier if I knew that was the case.

by alex100 2008-04-28 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary wins Independents OVER OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I'm sure they're discussing this down at "DNC head quarters".

by Mandoliniment 2008-04-28 06:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Hillary wins Independents OVER OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!

The red phone is going off in Howard Dean's secret study right now.  He's sliding down the poll and into the Deanmobile.

by Mostly 2008-04-28 11:02PM | 0 recs
Independents problem brewwing in W.V.

I just read something interesting at Open Left. Apparently in W.V. when independents go to vote they are directed to a touchscreen, and unless they REQUEST a ballot with the presidential choice they don't get it.

by del 2008-04-28 07:32PM | 0 recs
elitism and Fox news

Obama has fallen into a bit of a trap here. His real problem with working class people is that his policies do not address their concerns. But rather than adjusting his policies he buys into the caricature of working class voters, goes on Fox News, spews a bunch of Republican pro-business talking points and hopes that will endear him to people who are economically pressed.

It's absurd, his buying into the media caricature just makes him seem more out of touch.

by souvarine 2008-04-28 06:11PM | 0 recs
Re: elitism and Fox news

Actually, his real problem with working class voters is that white women over 45 are killing him.  He wins or ties with white men under 45.

Hillary Clinton's constituency isn't going away any time soon.  The big story behind Pennsylvania was that there was no story - six weeks and a ton of news events happened between Ohio and Pennsylvania, and all that came of it was some slight movement in the margins.

by Mostly 2008-04-28 11:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and Clinton Seen

There's no question there's been a change in the dynamics of this race over the past 14 days. I don't know whether it was the debate and his lack lustre performance, the defeat in PA which was actually pretty bad and really confirmed the thesis of his weakness with the blue collar working and middle classes, a growing sense that this woman has some grit, the Wright affair which is pretty trivial but then so was all the swift boat bs, but somethings happening. It's been clear to me for months that he would have a tough time in the general with the trad Democratic/indy base you need to win as a Democratic candidate. It's been showing up for months in the numbers for all these primaries particularly in the big states. I don't know whether the superdelegates are going ot have an epiphany but I'm starting to sense some unease amongst the liberal chattering classes who are as desperate as anyone here to see a democrat in the white house. If she does well in Indiana and is close in NC then there has to be a lot of head scratching going on.  

by ottovbvs 2008-04-28 06:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and Clinton Seen

Maybe it is something about Pennsylvania this cycle. The Drexel debate last October was a (down) turning point for Hillary, this Philadelphia debate may have been the (down) turning point for Obama.

by souvarine 2008-04-28 06:26PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama and Clinton Seen

Just thinking about that makes me bitter.  Where's my rosary?

by Scotch 2008-04-28 08:09PM | 0 recs
NC

So when Obama wins North Carolina by 20 percent where are we then? Posturing and bad press days aren't going to keep the African-American vote from going heavily for Obama with the requisite number of white votes to make it a landslide.

by wengler 2008-04-28 06:23PM | 0 recs
Re: NC

He has this white guy's vote in NC, along with plenty of others.

What this polling demonstrates is that "Obama is an out of touch elitist" is an empty talking point adopted by Clinton supporters (and soon, McCain supporters).  That talking point is false and absurd on its face.

Obama is "elite" --- he's extraordinarily intelligent and a dedicated public servant.  He is not an "elitist" --- to say so is to engage in false smears of the man.

by Slim Tyranny 2008-04-28 07:44PM | 0 recs
Well, I see it is sinking in.

Yes, his former pastor is taking his fifteen and making it into a movement.

A movement to sell books and throwing Obama under the bus.

This is the biggest self inflicted train wreck I have ever witnessed.

It so ugly even mcwar backed off.

So get over it, come back when you get it out of your system and lets unite with a winner, Hillary Clinton to win this time.

by gotalife 2008-04-28 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I see it is sinking in.

If I had a nickel for every time I've read some variation of "thrown under the bus" this primary season, I'd have a shitload of nickels.

by Slim Tyranny 2008-04-28 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I see it is sinking in.

$2,684.05 (just from gotalife alone).

by fogiv 2008-04-28 07:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I see it is sinking in.

I personally made a fortune right after the Pennsylvania speech from Little Otter and TexasDarlin' alone.  Every time he "threw his grandmother under the bus", I was getting paid.

by Mostly 2008-04-28 11:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, I see it is sinking in.

Cha-ching!

by fogiv 2008-04-28 11:48PM | 0 recs
I get a dime for every "meme"

I've got a downpayment on a Lexus.

by grassrootsorganizer 2008-04-29 03:56AM | 0 recs
HILL GOT TEN DELEGATEs IN PA

and that is it... nothing more. she was up by 30 and won by 9. umm and the delegate count plus was a little over ten.

by kareng 2008-04-28 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: "In Touch"

In contrast, Mc Crypt Keeper wants us in Iraq for a hundred years and embraces Bush's legacy.

Talk about out of touch ....

by redwagon 2008-04-28 07:24PM | 0 recs
Shadow be gone from me.

If Obama periodically feels down, most likely this down period is caused by the shadow over his shoulder called Rev Wright.

by Scotch 2008-04-28 08:06PM | 0 recs
Obama

Is in a weird place right now and its in some ways a good thing and in others a bad thing.

The good thing is hes essentially got the pledged delegates wrapped up which makes him the front runner for the nomination based on the primary metric of the primary, but the supers can do whatever they want so its not 'in the bag' yet.  So he has to keep running from the front and its in his best interest to play safe.

But he was and is at his best when he was the underdog.  Not that hes bad at leading from the front, its just not his core strength.  So he wants to hedge his bets a bit more now and keep all dems on side.  He cant be seen to be kneecapping Hillary but he cant be seen to be weak.  He has to find some balance in there.  What that balance is, Im not sure.

In the end, though, its always good to be in the lead than behind.

The bad thing is the media.

The media is biased in favor of one thing - themselves.  They have no interest in this contest being over so no matter the facts, until a nominee is selected, they will stoke the flames of this primary for all its worth.  And I think the inverse would be true if the facts were reversed.  Its not a candidate bias, its a medias self interest bias.

This bias gives Hillary a lot of breathing room and latitude right now to take it to Obama hard with little room for recourse on his part.  Part of his lack of recourse is self inflicted by being the candidate of hope/change and 'new politics', hes boxed in on how he can attack.  

And Hillary's opening isnt going to close while there is a slight ray of sunshine, even though its fleeting and pretty much a chimera, so what choice does she have?  Shes way too invested to just lay down now.

So Obama is going to take a beating the next few weeks because he cant 'close the deal' without supers jumping and the supers wont jump as long as Obama cant 'close the deal'.  So the media will call him weak and question if he has what it takes.  I mean Obama is going to get beat down hard.

Its a catch-22.  Hes in the lead, but hes not home yet and his options are limited.

The media will not let Obama be the inspirer again while the nomination process is ongoing.  That ship has sailed.  He no longer will get any play out of hope/change and yes we can line either.  The media wants a fight and they are going to push for it and reward whomever provides it best.

So I believe Obama will see a slight erosion in all the remaining races.  He will lose Indiana (slightly), he will win NC (not by as much as hoped) and so on.  This will allow the fight to go to the convention which the media will salivate over like pvalovs dogs.  This will keep the undeclared supers enough at bay because no super wants to the bane of the medias existence for cutting short one of the best parties ever.

Remember, the media wants this and they will make it happen.  Dont get me wrong, I say this not out of sour grapes, it is what it is.  Until the nomination is settled the media will bash the front runner and elevate the trailer.

If Clinton were to take the 'narrative' lead in the media, the media would turn on her in a heart beat and start trumpeting the 'disenfranchisement of the AA and youth vote' meme and the 'Hillary would eat her own child to get the nominatio' meme or the 'going against the will of the voters' meme.

All I care about is we end it with enough clarity that we can unite behind a candidate with enough time to mount a successful GE campaign.

by pattonbt 2008-04-28 08:26PM | 0 recs
Does anybody honestly think the

best run campaign we have seen in many years expected to just coast through to the nomination without his opponent(s) smearing him, without a swiftboating attack or two, some gratuitous mudslinging, some paparazzi-style press nonsense?

Obama and his campaign know what they are doing.  And since it seems to be working up to now, no reason for anyone to think they don't have a plan for any contingency.  Hell, even the Rev. Wright issue was anticipated.

In spite of alot of concern trolling about how badly this has hurt/is hurting/will hurt him, he is realtively unscathed.  Why is that?  Because he handled it properly.

And why did he go on Faux?  Because he will be president of the entire country, including the wingnuts who only watch that silly station.  Time for him to let them look him over on their turf, time for him to show he's a regular guy not some scary Muslim or whatever they think.

Obama supporters are on the winning team. Let the opposition get mired in hysteria while y'all just keep your eyes on the prize.

by GFORD 2008-04-28 08:44PM | 0 recs
I would argue

that the Obama campaign has made history and yet still made some crucial mistakes.

One, they spent too much energy and time rallying Obama's strongest bases of support.  This generated an intimidating cash advantage and masses of fervent group troops, but in the process pigeon-holed him (however unfairly) as the candidate of the young and the liberal elite.
Two, he didn't control the messaging of his surrogates resulting in bleeding from a thousand cuts -- the racist remarks about the Clintons, the messiness around the NAFTA/Canada affair, his own top advisor doubting his withdrawl strategy, the cheap inappropriate comments about the Clintons.  No single one amounted to all that much but taken together they effectively alienated the voters he needed to push beyond the 50% threshhold and stay there.
Three, he underestimated the strength of Clinton's support and the importance of her demographic.  His campaign came out hard and too negative on Clinton too early.   By doing so he's created a primary environment where the presumptive nominee of a year ago became the scrappy determined underdog in every contest since.   Anyone who doubts the power of the "counted out" factor need look no further than McCain.  
Fourth, he wasn't well enough prepared to counter his own negatives, principally the Rev. Wright.    He needed to do his distancing before the contest, not in the middle of it or innoculate on it before the press got their teeth into it so it was old news before it was news at all.

Big winners don't limp across the finish line,  they gallop through the end game picking up momentum not losing it.  The supers and the voters needed to be doubting Obama three months ago, not now.  There simply is no worse time to be questioning his electability or his campaign skills than now when he has so few chances left to prove the doubting wrong.  

Obama didn't understand until it was too late that he was campaigning against Briar Clinton.    She baited him into throwing her just exactly where she's the most comfortable -- outside the Democratic establishment, shnned  by the scary Left, assumed all but dead, begging for support from the only people left to ask -- the least courted most undervalued mainstream voters.

He could still pull this out and probably will, but she has certainly taken the fox to school.    

by grassrootsorganizer 2008-04-29 04:31AM | 0 recs
Liberal elite.

That term is just plain nonsense -- the true elites are the Republicans who have been trying for decades to form a class systems in this country where they are the aristocracy.  Liberals are the ones fighting against the elites.

by GFORD 2008-04-29 07:00AM | 0 recs

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