KY & OR Vote; Clinton Still In To Win [updated]

Results began coming in after 6 PM EST from Kentucky where voter turn outhas been high, but less than expected was heavy. A lackluster turnout for Clinton could hinder a big win needed to offset a likely loss to Obama in Oregon.  The Oregon mail-in-ballot results should come in around 11 PM EST and OPR reports the state may see a record turnout. The latest Real Clear Politics (RCP) poll averages show Clinton with a 29 point lead in KY and have Obama leading in OR by 12. Clinton gained momentum with a 41 point win last week in West Virgina. She is expected to win in Kentucky and to maintain her lead in the popular vote (counting FL & MI) after winning Kentucky today - a state that President Clinton carried in 1992 and 1996. Despite claims from his campaign, Obama will not prematurely declare victory as the Democratic nominee tonight in Iowa.

Over the last three months, Clinton has won more contests, more votes, and more earned delegates than Obama. The nomination is neck and neck. Despite repeated calls for her to leave the race, Clinton has said and signaled that she will continue until all voters have had a chance to vote in remaining contests, Florida and Michigan are resolved, and a nominee has been selected.

Update [2008-5-20 20:22:57 by grlpatriot]: Clinton is the projected winner in KY. With 69% of the vote in, Clinton is winning by 33 points.

Update [2008-5-20 21:11:25 by grlpatriot]: With 95% of the KY vote in, Clinton is winning by 36 points. During Clinton's victory speech in Louisville, Obama released his April fund raising numbers: $31M to Clinton's $22M.

Update [2008-5-20 22:29:18 by grlpatriot]: With 100% of KY's precincts reporting, 701,127 votes were cast in the Democratic primary. Clinton claimed 65% of the vote, 34 delegates, and 249,374 more votes over Obama. Obama gets 30% of the votes and 14 delegates. Clinton won all the counties with big margins, except for Jefferson and Fayette, which went for Obama.

Update [2008-5-20 23:12:29 by grlpatriot]: Obama is the projected winner in OR. With 16% of the vote in, Obama is winning by 22 points.

Update [2008-5-20 23:35:4 by grlpatriot]: With 40% of the OR vote in, Obama is up by 18 points.

Update [2008-5-21 8:29:51 by grlpatriot]:This morning, with 88% of the OR vote in, Obama is up by 16 points. A few counties are still trickling in and Grant county has yet to report.

OBAMA HAS MOMENTUM IN KENTUCKY!!!

According to Survey USA, Barack Obama has gained two points on Hillary Clinton in the May 20 Kentucky primary in the space of only a week!!!  A Survey USA poll released today has Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama by a 34-point margin, 62-28.  Here is the link:

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollRepo rt.aspx?g=602e0e00-1895-4c69-81cc-96bcae 6aee9d

A similar poll taken on April 29, 2008 had Hillary Clinton up by 36 POINTS!!! The link to that poll is here:

http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollRepo rt.aspx?g=26808902-2e9b-462b-86bf-a023fa e70b92

Again, that's a gain of two points for Obama in only a week!!!  According to the crosstabs, Obama has made this quick turnaround by consolidating the African American vote, which makes up a whole eight percent of the electorate in Kentucky, and by making gains among men.  Hillary is now under 60% among Kentucky males!!!

The Obama ground machine has a full two weeks to work its magic.  With some heavy advertising and boots on the ground, Obama is sure to turn this thing around and win Kentucky!  

Joe Scarborough has already said that Kentucky is a must-win for Obama, so it is critical that he continue making progress in the Bluegrass state.  

Come on Baracky, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

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The Gas Tax - Your Candidate in Demo Mode

Before us is a gas tax refund that voters (ahem.. we mean) .. drivers.. are wondering if they will see. Word on the street is that the 18 cents per gallon that the federal government uses to pay for infrastructure - is up for being suspended to help Americans cover the skyrocketing cost of gas.

This is your candidate in Demo mode. John McCain sees this issue from a Republican standpoint; he believes that cutting off the source of revenue that pays for the effort to wean us away from Saudi Arabian oil sources - is a good thing.

Hillary Clinton agrees with the republican position. She has publicly derided any opposition to keeping federal infrastructure revenues such as this excise tax - in place , by saying

"At the heart of my approach is a simple belief, .. Middle-class families are paying too much and oil companies aren't paying their fair share to help us solve the problems at the pump"

The two candidates, John McCain, and Hillary Clinton - are taking an interesting approach. I think its one that reflects their candidacy and policy outlook should they become president.

America's dependency on other nations is an interesting foreign policy game. Right now we as a country have some pretty interesting company as a result of our position as a superpower (with China ascendant) ..  our list includes Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Venezuela, and yes. Iraq. Fun party, huh? Guess which one looks like Christopher Walken sitting in the corner.

When America entered Iraq , the Chinese almost threw their hats in the air and immediately began funding African oil-rich countries with infrastructure. This allowed the Chinese to quietly ratchet up their position in the world and can only be counted as a foreign policy victory on their behalf. Meanwhile, America was involved in a tangled set of new problems that we created for ourselves by pursuing the "quick fix". In fact, it is rumored that immediately after 911 there was discussion in the oval office of how it could be used as a pretext to hit Iraq. Oil companie executives think of the Iraqi oil fields with a twinkle in their eye, much as they would this repeal of the excise tax.

Barack Obama, whose candidacy is fueled by the American people as opposed to larger interests -  chose to disagree with McCain and the republicans by taking the approach that the federal excise tax on gas is useful for funding research to get us weaned off the oil of these countries.  This is an interesting approach for two reasons. First, there are echoes of a foreign policy decision here in this domestic issue - and second, it highlights a very different view of government than the type of democrat that has yielded so much to the Repubicans for so long.

Lets play a thought experiment - Suppose that, just before world war II, when Neville Chamberlain returned from his meetings with Adolf Hitler declaring "Peace in our Time" - the British Diplomat Neville Chamberlain returned from Germany, saying- "We have to go to war. It doesn't look like we need to go to war, now, Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich are a menace and a huge problem we need to address right now before its too late".

One young writer played that thought experiment out in a really nice paper for his Master's degree. The young man's name was John F. Kennedy. According to the young JFK, most britons wouldn't have followed along with that idea(!). He went on to write that nevertheless there were  strategies that Chamberlain could have employed.

So, that brings us to Obama. Who disagrees with McCain. Obama seems to be saying that rolling back the excise tax - when oil companies purposefully run their refineries at reduced capacity, and at a time when America continues to be dependent on radical muslim countries for energy - is the wrong thing to do.

What Clinton and McCain have in common , apart from their position on bribing voters.. I mean.. delivering tax cuts to people who need them,  is that they are making big oil donors to their campaigns very happy.  You can almost see the happy oil company executives beating a path to Washington. You can hear the sound of their cheering. People were actually starting to drive less, now that gas is approaching 100.00 a tank fillup in some places.

Certainly there were some Britons who cheered, when Neville Chamberlain declared "Peace in our Time" -  McCain and Clinton will be well received when they are bribing ..er.. informing voters... I mean drivers.. that they won't be paying more at the pump. And it might last for a few months before prices rise up again.

But the post-Pennsylvania electoral landscape showing Clinton getting no reasonable boost and the superdelegates effectively split ,  is the hidden stressor to everyone. McCain was painfully aware post-Pennsylvania, that he would have lost to both Obama and Clinton in a General Election faceoff in this important swing state.

But given that both Clinton and McCain share large donors as their base more than the insurgent campaign of Obama, is it reasonable to assume that , given 86% of Americans want cleaner air - this is how your candidate would operate in his or her tenure  as president?

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How to get nominated

Candidate A and Candidate B ( and 7 others) want to be elected President.  So they begin campaigning.  Candidate A has the highest name recognition and leads the field in all the the pre-primary polls.  Candidate B is well known and has polled in double digits far behind Candidate A.

Candidate A has aggressively pursued endorsements from elected officials, has sought out commitments from Superdelegates ahead of the selection of pledged delegates, and has relied upon big donors and PACs to finance presidential campaign.  Candidate B has aggressive pursued endorsements from elected officials, has sought out commitments from Superdelegates ahead of the selection of pledged delegates, and has relied on small donors (most notably from the internet) to finance presidential campaign.

At the eve of the Iowa caucuses, Candidate B is a viable threat to Candidate A winning the nomination.  Several lesser Candidates drop out.  After the New Hampshire primary, Candidate A's campign appears to be back on track.  More Candidates drop out until the nomination appears to be limited to three candidates on the eve of Super Tuesday.

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What will the superdelegates do?

Clinton won, but Pennsylvania was truly a solid performance for the Obama camp. Obama took a 25% margin of victory that Clinton held in early polling - and erased almost two thirds of that margin. Clinton won by only 9.4% despite having ties to the state and the glow of several high profile endorsements including Pennsylvania's Democratic Governor, Ed Rendell, who threw his formidable political machine behind her campaign.
The Pennsylvania superdelegates endorsed Clinton before the contest, nearly 3 to 1 over Obama.

Most of Obama's wins came in the college towns and the big city of Philadelphia. Clinton carried almost all of the rest of the state. The New York Times did a great graph showing how things went.

Clinton needed a big win. And in the end, the 9.4% margin of victory and additional delegate count of only 12 delegates (Obama won 68, Clinton won 80) is far short of a blowout victory that was needed to put the Clinton campaign anywhere near the popular or pledged vote totals required to make a good case for her, at convention.  Obama erased a 25% polling lead, down to single digits in a state that heavily favored and endorsed Clinton. And its important to note that Obama polls incredibly well against McCain in this same state, so Pennsylvania will likely be a strong state for the Dems in the general.

And so what will the superdelegates do? This was a strong showing by the Obama camp. Perhaps looking at the trendlines for the supers will give some insight - the following is a current tracking graph of the superdelegates for Clinton (Pennsylvania Included)

(c/o of the nice guys at 2008 Democratic Convention Watch )

According to the FEC, Obama had this past week, $42M cash on hand, while the Clinton camp had $8M.  With new interest generated in her campaign as a result of last night, it is being said that she has raised $2.5M however  even factoring in that amount, she is still dangerously close to hitting a financial wall.

Its the opinion of this author that since Clinton couldn't make Philadelphia the blowout victory that it polled to be a few months before the contest,  and despite some serious endorsements she had going for her in Pennsylvania, the mere 12 delegate pickup that she just executed in that state will not play into a victory for her campaign.

Will the superdelegates endorse Obama this week?  I think yes.

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