Hillary Clinton to Campaign for Obama in Run-up to Convention

Ben Smith passes on this report from Glenn Thrush:

Hillary Clinton will campaign for Barack Obama this Friday in Nevada and hit the Miami area on Aug. 21 for a fundraiser and rally as part of a pre-convention unity swing, according to people close to Clinton.

"She's flying solo," said a source familiar with the events, although there's "a chance" Obama could join her in Nevada.

Combined with news that Clinton will speak on the second night of the convention, which will mark the 88th anniversary of women's right to vote in the United States, this news indicates that the Clinton-Obama rally in Unity, New Hampshire in late June was a beginning, not the end, of the rapprochement between the two camps. And as much as there may be some hurt feelings and wounded egos on both sides of the primary battle, it is extremely important for the party to come together at this juncture so that the White House does not stay in the hands of the Bush Republicans for another four years.

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Is John McCain Worried About South Dakota?

Gallup polling released last week showed that while Barack Obama is not dominating in the purple states -- he leads John McCain by a mere 45 percent to 43 percent margin in the most competitive swing areas of the country -- Obama is performing remarkably well in the red states. Specifically, in the states that George W. Bush carried by a 6 percentage point margin or greater in 2004, Obama trails by a narrow 46 percent to 43 percent margin.

Case in point: South Dakota. Rasmussen Reports polling out of the state last month showed Obama within 4 points of McCain -- 44 percent for the Republican, 40 percent for the Democrat. Don't believe the numbers? Don't believe it's close? McCain apparently does, campaigning today in South Dakota. Here are First Read's thoughts:

*** Easy Rider? McCain should feel at home today in Sturgis, SD, where motorcycle enthusiasts from all over will be hanging out. But this visit may not be about appealing to Harley voters -- but voters actually living in the Dakotas. Of the red states where Obama has been spending money, the one where he's had the most impact is clearly North Dakota. In fact, Obama's been polling so well in that state, there is speculation the campaign may add neighbor South Dakota to its target list. The McCain camp knows Obama's been gaining some ground in the region, so this event seemed like a way to at least get some local coverage in the Dakotas and see if they can easily snap these states back into the Red column like some in the GOP believe.

Does this mean that South Dakota is necessarily in play? It doesn't appear that the Obama campaign is advertising in the state in a serious basis just yet. At the same time, it does look like the state is potentially in play -- and Obama is advertising in the neighboring states of Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, some of which just might bleed into South Dakota. So this just might be another one to keep an eye on...

Obama Up 30 Points Among Low-Wage Voters

Remember how Barack Obama was supposed to be uniquely weak among "hardworking Americans"? Well apparently that's just not the case.

According to a new poll from The Washington Post, the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University, Obama leads by a whopping 58 percent to 28 percent margin (.pdf) among voters under the age of 65 working at least 30 hours a week for $27,000 or less per year. Obama's performance within this demographic is almost exactly the same as Kerry's in 2004; although the breakdown of subgroups in exit polling from that fall doesn't exactly line up with this survey, Kerry appears to have brought in about 59 percent of the vote of those earning $30,000 or less per year that November -- not tremendously far off from Obama's showing.

How about John McCain's numbers? How do they stack up? McCain's 28 percent showing among this demographic is significantly less than the roughly 40 percent of the vote George W. Bush received from those earning less than $30,000 per year back in 2004. Unless Bush carried the votes of those earning $27,001 to $30,000 per year by an overwhelming margin, or unless those in this income demographic over the age of 65 were tremendously Bush-leaning (and Bush only carried the overall over-65 vote with 52 percent of the vote), it would certainly appear that McCain is seriously underperforming among the lowest wage workers in the country. McCain's showing is even poorer than that of the House Republicans in 2006, when GOP candidates pulled in about 34 percent of the vote of those earning less than $30,000 per year.

This graf from the write up of the poll would garner some attention as well:

Obama's advantage is attributable largely to overwhelming support from two traditional Democratic constituencies: African Americans and Hispanics. But even among white workers -- a group of voters that has been targeted by both parties as a key to victory in November -- Obama leads McCain by 10 percentage points, 47 percent to 37 percent, and has the advantage as the more empathetic candidate. [emphasis added]

These numbers sure seem to knock down the idea that Obama can't win the vote of hardworking Americans, or White low-income workers, in particular -- and in fact begin to raise questions as to whether it is McCain who is too weak among this subset of the electorate. It's little wonder, then, that the exceedingly wealthy McCain, whose family owns several homes and who has been seen campaigning in $520 loafers, a wannabe celebrity in his own right who has earned more Hollywood screen time since 2000 than "the rest of Congres combined," is now trying to play class politics and stir up the backlash against Obama in the hopes up narrowing the wide margin by which he trails among this key voting demographic.

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Ominous Signs for McCain, Republicans in Florida

Taking a look through the latest Quinnipiac poll from Florida, one particular piece of data jumped out at me: the preferences of likely Hispanic voters in the state. While Barack Obama leads John McCain inside the margin of error over all -- 46 percent to 44 percent -- among Hispanics Obama's lead is much greater, 56 percent to 36 percent.

Doing a little conjecture and number crunching, the margin of error for the subsample of Hispanic voters is somewhere in the neighborhood of plus or minus 7 percentage points, meaning that not only is Obama's lead within this community statistically significant, but the difference between his showing among this community and the state electorate as a whole is also statistically significant.

Why is this important? A glance at the 2004 exit polling gives us an idea. According to those numbers, George W. Bush won the Hispanic vote in Florida by a 56 percent to 44 percent margin over John Kerry, one of the keys to Bush's victory, both in Florida and nationwide. Had Kerry been able to pull in the same share of the Hispanic vote in Florida in 2004 as Obama is pegged at pulling in today, he would have netted roughly 5 percentage points overall -- meaning that Florida would have ended as close to a tie once again, putting the White House much closer to the reach of the Democrats.

The point of this, of course, is not to look backward but to look forward. If Obama can foster the continuation of the trend of Hispanic voters moving from the GOP to the Democratic Party that was seen in 2006 around the country and in Florida -- note that the Democrats' gubernatorial nominee in the state received 49 percent of the Hispanic vote in the state that fall -- his path to the White House will be significantly easier. And if this trend continues unabated into the future, the Republican Party is going to have some serious demographic problems to deal with as their base grows increasingly small relative to the overall electorate while the Democratic base grows rapidly.

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Quinnipiac Finds Obama Up in FL, OH, and PA

Must be good news for John McCain.

Florida

John McCain: 44 percent
Barack Obama: 46 percent

(June: Obama 47, McCain 43)

Ohio

John McCain: 44 percent
Barack Obama: 46 percent

(June: Obama 48, McCain 42)

Pennsylvania

John McCain: 42 percent
Barack Obama: 49 percent

(June: Obama 52, McCain 40)

With numbers like these, it must be a statistical heat, right? Of course the odds of it being a tie considering Obama led or was tied in 50 straight national polls up through Sunday is are about .0000000000000009 (perhaps a little higher now with the Gallup poll showing Obama up among registered voters but down according to the pollster's likely voter model). But, still, it must be a tie...

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