Hillary and Obama run equally well among working-class white voters...

If you delve into the internals of the new Quinnipiac poll (the one which shows a 7% Obama lead for the GE), there's an interesting tidbit...

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Clinton's Rural Advantage

Shepherdstown, W. Va.

While Barack Obama is busy ordering champagne for his premature victory party on May 20th, Hillary Clinton is pounding the West Virginia trail to get-out-the-vote in Tuesday's primary.

By all accounts Clinton will enjoy a double-digit win in West Virginia, followed by another in Kentucky one week later. And even though Obama, his surrogates, and pundit parrots are furiously pre-spinning his losses in these two states by suggesting that they don't really matter -- West Virginia and Kentucky could end up being game-changers for Clinton. Here's why:

Rural America can determine who becomes the next President. And West Virginia and Kentucky show off Clinton's commanding rural advantage.

But they aren't the only ones. Check out the county-by-county results from four very close contests (Clinton is red; Obama, green):

Missouri (Obama won by 1.3%):

New Mexico (Clinton won by 1%):

Texas (Clinton won by 3.5%):

Indiana (Clinton won by 2%)

As you can see, Clinton's base covers a broader geographic region, nearly a sweep of counties.  Although population counts may be relatively equal between the red and green areas -- these maps illustrate how well she consistently performs in rural America.

Hillary has hit her stride in small towns and rural communities across the country, connecting with working class voters with a populist appeal reminiscent of Bobby Kennedy. For those who have followed Hillary Clinton's life and career, we know it's genuine. You can see the joy on her face when she's working the rope line in town squares, even at the end of a 16-hour day. Of course Obama's "bitter" moment aided her, but cinching this demographic segment is a crucial achievement that Clinton has earned for the Democrats. And, you might say...one benefit of this extended primary season that some party members are anxious to end.

A Democratic pollster for the Wall Street Journal and NBC News said it well:

Rural and small-town voters are the best indicators of whether a candidate is connecting with the values of Middle America. "They are America.  Too often Democrats end up with candidates who can speak only to metro America. If you can speak to [rural and small-town America], then you relate to the rest of America."

Pay attention, folks. These are General Election swing voters needed to reach 270 electoral votes.

Swing voters.

And no one understands that better than the superdelegates, many of whom rely on these same voters for their own re-elections.

So Barack Obama might think twice about dismissing West Virginia and Kentucky, even if he calculates that their votes and delegates are inconsequential to the nomination. The hard-working people of Appalachia and bluegrass country represent a nationwide constituency capable of delivering the White House in November. And for Clinton, they will put her within striking distance of a popular vote lead.

Note: Maps and election results from uselectionatlas


Cross posted at texasdarlin.

TexasDarlin, all rights reserved.
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign

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Clinton the Populist Beats McCain [Updated]

[See Update on new national polls from USA Today/Gallup and CBS/NY Times at bottom]

General Election polls continue to demonstrate that Clinton is the far stronger candidate against McCain than Obama.

Real Clear Politics has data from 6 recent national General Election polls.  In a Clinton v. McCain match-up, Clinton beats McCain in FIVE of the 6 polls. In an Obama v. McCain match-up, McCain beats Obama in 3 of the polls and ties him in one.

More importantly, in key battleground states, Clinton beats McCain in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, while Obama loses to McCain in all 3 states. And RCP highlights a recent McClathy article about Obama's likely loss in Indiana to McCain. A new Rasmussen poll for New Hampshire claims "Clinton gains on McCain...Obama heads in opposite direction."

Obama's problems with working class voters have worsened, according to a story posted yesterday by the AP:

In an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll...53 percent of whites who have not completed college viewed Obama unfavorably, up a dozen percentage points from November. During that period, the numbers viewing Clinton and Republican candidate John McCain negatively have stayed about even.

In contrast, Hillary Clinton's strength among seniors, women, and key demographic groups such as Catholics improves with each election, as most recently seen in Pennsylvania.

*CLINTON, THE POPULIST*
Hillary Clinton is a candidate of the people, successfully delivering a populist message across American towns,  cities, and suburbs.  As the Washington Post said recently, "Clinton Is In Her Element:"

Clinton attacks the rope line with more gusto than her husband, who invented the genre in modern campaigns.

~snip~

Clinton has found a home -- and a potentially receptive audience -- among rural Democrats...Small towns. Middle-class and working-class. Older voters. Women.

~snip~

The rope line in Terre Haute late Thursday was dominated by women of all ages, who are as passionate in their support of Clinton as Obama supporters are for their candidate


UPDATE ON TWO NEW POLLS:

A USA Today/Gallup poll released on 5/5/08 gives Clinton a 7 point lead over Obama,"the first time in 3 months she has been ahead." USA Today writes:

Barack Obama's national standing has been significantly damaged by the controversy over his former pastor, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, raising questions for some voters about the Illinois senator's values, credibility and electability.

The USA Today/Gallup poll also demonstrates Clinton's strength on a number of variables:

Clinton Obama Advantage

Is a strong and decisive leader 53 37: Clinton +16

Has the best chance of beating John McCain in November 48 43: Clinton +5

Shares your values 47 42: Clinton +5

Cares about the needs of people like you 47 43: Clinton +4

A CBS/NYT poll released on 5/4/08 is being publicized by many news sources as showing a 12-pt. lead for Obama over Clinton, but this is among those who have voted or plan to vote in a Democratic primary.

However, Clinton actually leads Obama by 1 point when the question is asked of "registered voters who identify themselves as Democrats, regardless of whether they have voted or plan to vote in a Democratic primary".

This means that Obama has lost substantial support among people who have already voted for him.

In other good news for Clinton, the CBS/NYT pollster's report states:

For the first time since October 2007, more registered voters overall have a favorable impression of Clinton than an unfavorable one.

and...

When asked who is "tough enough to make hard choices," Clinton gets 70%, McCain 71%, and Obama 58%.

See related post 2 New Polls: MORE HILLARY MOMENTUM.

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Obama's Appeal to working Class Faltering

This is the latest headline on Yahoo news.

The article states that this is a huge problem and has only gotten worse not better over time.

The April poll -- conducted before the Pennsylvania contest -- also showed an overwhelming preference for Clinton over Obama among working-class whites. They favored her over him by 39 percentage points, compared to a 10-point Obama lead among white college graduates. Obama also did worse than Clinton among those less-educated voters when matched up against Republican candidate John McCain.

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Obama Shifting 'Working Class' Strategy

The New York Times revealed a more humble Barack Obama emerging in Indiana, searching for a connection with the working class Democratic base.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/28/us/pol itics/28obama.html?_r=1&hp&oref= slogin

One of the things which gets lost sight of is both candidates have a massive organization surrounding them. In Philadelphia, students -- mostly from the University of Pennsylvania -- were relied upon to advance the campaign along with Progressive Philly; these are both groups which represent quite well the Obama 'elite' stereotype that Hillary has tried to pin on him. During those six weeks, those groups alienated the traditional Democrats and if it wasn't for the African-American churches, I believe the damage would have been deeper.

One thing Obama does well is learn fast and correct himself.

His next big battle is to remove himself from the shaddow of the Chicago machine, which the Republicans will try to taint him with as a tactic. This is the main reason Hillary is so livid about Obama's asscent: she fears the machine stench will loose Democrats the election to McCain. It is a legitimate fear.

I believe if he deals with the accusations squarely and robustly instead of shifting his feet and looking sour, he will be able to overcome the half-truths that the GOP flack machine is cooking up.

Every Democrat, pro-Obama or pro-Hillary should read this interview with Grover Norquist in the UK Sunday Times in which the GOP strategy against Obama is revealed. Article here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wo rld/us_and_americas/us_elections/article 3382313.ece

I think the call for unity has come through pretty clear from DNC chair Howard Dean so I'm just going to say that I will support whoever the Democratic nominee is. For the first time in my life, we have a Democrat dominated culture (accounting for the infighting, because it is a bigger tent now) and I believe that will have a greater effect than any one candidate.

Since I have a public relations background and have worked for the New York Sun and another newspaper in the Republican media machine, (I had to eat until the manufacturing of propaganda literally made me want to starve rather than sin), I am going to be focusing my efforts in the next two months on building a site that will robustly counter many of the Republican lies that are going to be concocted about the candidates. I don't think we do enough as a party to tell the full story when the tale is ugly and the truth is deeper than the dented surface.

In the next two weeks we will pick a candidate and as Chairman Dean said, we should heal and then unite. The culture of caring that has traditionally been part of the Democrat ethos (along with some really stupid high-horseyness and holier-than-thouness we all need to stop, including myself) is an important force that needs to be harnessed in bringing America back on track and making us a country that, once again, holds the beacon of possibility as high as the Statue of Liberty does on the Jersey side of the Hudson. (oh, snap! did I say Jersey? Did I mean that as an analogy for our country?)

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