Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

Seems pretty clear to me the answer is yes.  Overall, I doubt Clinton's apparent margin would be as big as Obama's is at this moment; I'd guess she'd be doing better in Florida and worse in Colorado and Virginia.  I doubt with Clinton at the top of the ticket we'd be considering the possibility of a new Democratic Senator from Georgia or (less likely) Mississippi or Kentucky.  It's hard to imagine her bringing in as many first-time voters or turning as many independents.  But by all indications, Hillary Clinton would be beating John McCain right now for the most important reasons Barack Obama is beating John McCain, and the main reasons (which got a huge exclamation mark from this fall's economic news) it looked a year ago like Clinton/ Obama/ Edwards would beat Romney/ McCain/ Thompson: eight years of right-wing Republican rule has devastated the Republican brand (so much so that conservatives are left to plead that it wasn't right-wing at all).

If Clinton had been the candidate, I bet McCain could have convinced some more folks that he was the one in the race who would "turn the page" on politics as usual in Washington, and he could have kept his money out of Georgia, but it's hard to imagine he would be poised to win the election right now.  Conversely, while Clinton's claims about McCain as a nominee - that he would throw the kitchen sink at the Democrat - proved true, her claim that Obama as nominee would wilt under the attacks proved laughably false (though unsurprisingly, her own gutter attacks on Obama proved to have long life on John McCain's shelf).

Point being, what a wasted opportunity it would have been if the months of competition between Obama and Clinton had been settled just based on who looked to more Democrats like a safer choice to go up against John McCain.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

27 Comments

gutter attacks?

Why would you want to make this claim at this point?  Is it really necessary?  

by Thaddeus 2008-11-02 08:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

They'd both be ahead.

Clinton had strengths in +Florida, +Ohio, +Pennsylvania, +Missouri, +West Virginia, +Arkansas, +Kentucky, +New Hampshire

Obama has strengths in +Iowa, +Virginia, +Colorado, +North Carolina, +Georgia, +Oregon, +Wisconsin, +Washington

But the Dem tide is strong enough now that they'd both overlap with each others states much.  Obama is performing well in OH, FL, and PA.  Clinton would have the upper Midwest and Pacific Coast in the bag as well, and probably be poised to win Colorado by a little.  

by BPK80 2008-11-02 08:52PM | 0 recs
I agree with this analysis

Both would beat McCain, but Hillary would have different strong states.

by desmoinesdem 2008-11-02 11:23PM | 0 recs
Re: I agree with this analysis

Thanks!

by BPK80 2008-11-03 01:51AM | 0 recs
You'll have to wait till 2016 before you can get

a proper answer.

by louisprandtl 2008-11-02 08:54PM | 0 recs
I like your thinking eom

by linc 2008-11-02 10:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

Absolutely she would be ahead. Well ahead. The pro-Democratic situational advantage of 2008 boosted by the September economic collapse would have destroyed the myth that she was too polarizing to win a national election.

The map might have been somewhat different, opportunity in West Virginia and Arkansas but probably weaker in Colorado and Virginia.

In partisan index terms (comparison to national margin) Hillary would have been better than Obama in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. But that is asterisked by whether Hillary's national margin would be equal to Obama's. Hillary certainly was in position to take advantage of the economic collapse even more than Obama did, but other variables would have regulated her upside.

This is the one aspect of Obama's win that I'm not looking forward to, the natural defensive mechanism from Obama's earliest supporters, asserting Hillary would have lost to McCain. No doubt we'll see some of it.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-02 09:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

I think Hillary would be ahead right now, but it'd be a significantly narrower lead, possibly within the margin of error. The electoral math wouldn't be as much in her favor, and the rest of the the ground game that the Obama campaign built up wouldn't have transferred 100% to a hypothetical Clinton campaign, and most importantly, I think there'd be a real possibility of depressed turnout among the African-American community.

First, the electoral math. Of the states HRC would have brought to the table, the big ones (OH and FL) would still be in play. PA wouldn't, but I'm not convinced it's in play now. She puts WV and AR in play, maybe even wins them, but the losses outweigh the gains. First, in the west I think NM would be in play, whereas Obama's basically got NM locked up, and CO and NV would be unattainable for her, never mind MT and ND. Second, I don't think the Clinton campaign would have even tried for VA, let alone NC. IN would have been lost as well, (unless she picked Bayh as a running mate.)

Second, I strongly doubt that the Clinton campaign would have engendered nearly the number of man-hours of volunteer time as the Obama campaign has. At this point, it's impossible to say how much this benefit will prove to be worth, but I think even the pre-election polling has show some of the fruits of the labor undertaken.

Lastly, I don't want to refight the primary battle here, but, rightly or wrongly, the Clinton campaign (especially Bill) was seen as having made racially insensitive remarks, especially during the run up to the South Carolina primary. Even beyond the "fairy tale" comment, there was a belief among the African-Americans community, (among others) that the Clintons had tried to paint Obama as the "black candidate" in an attempt to lessen his appeal to white voters. The rather ham-handed flogging of the Jeremiah Wright tapes didn't help there.

I'm not saying black voters would have bolted for McCain, but I think that many that usually vote might have consciously chosen not to, and that a whole slough of people that are voting this year wouldn't be voting were Obama not on the ballot.

This might be less of an issue had she chosen him as her running mate, but that's getting into pure speculation, even moreso than the rest of this comment.

by nathanp 2008-11-02 09:36PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

We'll never know.  Clinton's biggest advantage, I think, is that she would have nailed McCain to a wall on the economy.  She might have done a better job of articulating the public's disgust on this topic than Obama has done, if you think about it.  Think it's possible she still might have run into problem with indies, though, strictly for reasons of personality.  Hillary Clinton is a great blue state candidate.  Where she would have been vulnerable is in the upper Midwest (the WI + MN + IA triangle).  

Still, have great expectations for her in 2016.  While it might not seem obvious now, she'll benefit the most at this point if Obama wins a landslide.  Once the Dems cross the color line the glass ceiling is clearly the next target (and many who backed Obama this year, I think, will back her with equal intensity if she runs again, as discordant as this might sound think the campaign she ran this year was just a bit too early).

by IncognitoErgoSum 2008-11-02 09:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

she would be doing fine, but she would not have the same ground operation and probably would have accepted public financing so she would be constrained form expanding the map (even if she didn't go the financing route she would have never raised 150$ dollars in sept for example and i doubt she would pursue the 50 state strategy and instead focused on OH and FL. also the press would have sacrificed her for not taking financing since she wouldn't have the same excuse as obama with his small donors, also media is generally nicer to Obama than to her in general.

in the end she would win but not with this much of EV since obama has expanded the map beyond all conventional wisdom which happened to be Hillary's  wisdom as well (remember how she was playing up her big wins in "swing states" as a sign she could win the election? while obama was focusing changing the map and winning " non important red states" at the same time"

rants off! they would both win but that is my sense from following the whole thing by the hour for months.

by YourConcernsAreNoted 2008-11-02 09:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

No.

The republicans would blame the entire financial crisis on Bill Clinton's policies.  Sure, it's BS, but they would find a way to make it stick.

It would be a neck and neck race at this point....

by LordMike 2008-11-02 09:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

No one would believe them.  It seems that no matter what the Repukes try to scream from the top of their lungs, people just aren't listening.

Both Hillary and Obama would win this election.  With this kind of national spread, Hillary would be up 10 in Ohio, 8-10 in Florida and 15-20 in Pennsylvania.  PA is a big sinkhole for both campaign's resources, but with Hillary on the ticket, it would be in the bag.

She wouldn't be pressing in Virginia or North Carolina.  I think she'd be doing just as well in Indiana as Obama if she contested it.  New Mexico would be solid Hillary, and Colorado would be at the tipping point (instead of +6 Dem where it appears now).  She and McCain would both be in Denver a lot.  

by BPK80 2008-11-03 01:58AM | 0 recs
I knew somebody would do this.

She was outpolling Obama (GE) in many states at the end of the primaries.

Where would Obama be without the financial crisis?  How many women would have voted for the first time if she had been at the top?  What if it had been a unity ticket with her at the top?

Nobody fucking knows.

The primaries are over.  Obama will be our president-elect in 40ish hours.

I'm sure all the ABCs appreciate the opportunity to gloat and dig at Hillary.

by psychodrew 2008-11-03 01:14AM | 0 recs
Re: I knew somebody would do this.

She was outpolling Obama (GE) in many states at the end of the primaries.

Of course she was. By the end of the primaries, Obama had been attacked for months by both Clinton and McCain, whereas Obama, who was looking ahead, had kept the gloves on in hitting back at her.

If you don't wanna refight this battle, fine, don't refight it, (an act that requires that you not refight it as well as folks who were on the other side).

by nathanp 2008-11-03 07:20AM | 0 recs
Yeah...

Strangely enough, I think it would close to the same spread, just with different states.

Drop CO, NC, IN, and maybe VA (though - I think VA is more blue than purple, so perhaps not).... but add AR, FL leaning more fully towards D, perhaps KY, WV.

Different maps - replace the Atlantic coast and mountain west with Appalachia and more of the Mississippi valley.

by zonk 2008-11-03 02:49AM | 0 recs
2016

For everyone who seems certain that Hillary will run and win in 2016, let's not get the cart ahead of the horse.  First, Obama needs to win tomorrow.  Then he needs to do a good job and win again.  By 2016, my guess is that the people who see John McCain as too old at 72 will definitely see Hillary as too old at 68.  And yes, there will be a huge(r) element of sexism that is even more unwilling to elect an aging woman than an aging man.  Regardless, I expect Hillary to be a great Senator for a long time.  

by ProgressiveDL 2008-11-03 03:38AM | 0 recs
Re: 2016

Don't think that 2012 is out of the picture.
by killjoy 2008-11-03 06:55AM | 0 recs
Re: 2016

So you want Hilliary to play the part of Kennedy and cost us an election?

by Irish Patti 2008-11-03 08:47AM | 0 recs
Re: 2016

No, she'd win easily.  And Obama goes the way of Carter, yes.
by killjoy 2008-11-03 09:39AM | 0 recs
Re: 2016

actually you want a republican to win, because with Kennedy vs Carter; Reagan won.

by Irish Patti 2008-11-03 06:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

It's turned out pretty much exactly as I'd hoped and thought it would...

by Democrat in Chicago 2008-11-03 04:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

Obama would not be here without Hillary

Thank god she did not drop out  

Obama got prolonged exposure which is what he needed so he can become more familiar with the voters

and after that long battle with the Toughest democrat in my lifetime only made him stronger

Look at our guy now he is a well disciplined debater and the sharpest campaigner we have ever seen... God bless Hillary  

by wellinformed 2008-11-03 06:06AM | 0 recs
Who?

It would be a totally different (and totally boring) race.

She would have whipped up into a frenzy the same people who are coming out for Palin (who would still be in Alaska) except for having pro-Palin rallies, they'd be having anti-Clinton ones.

Different map - big nail biter.  Would she have taken public financing?

Simply a thought experiment - its a done deal

382 - 156

by mydailydrunk 2008-11-03 06:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

No.

For various reasons, none of which matter at this point.  This is an exercise in divisiveness, and most of us refuse to be enticed into it.

by emsprater 2008-11-03 07:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

If Hillary was the candidate Obama would have been VP candidate.

The Obama machine would be 75% of what it is now with the same people getting excited about a Hillary/Obama ticket as an Obama/Biden ticket.

After all Obama would have the Palin 2012 is what we are really fighting for vibe going for him.

by dtaylor2 2008-11-03 09:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

If the Democratic ticket had Clinton on it in either position, McCain would never have put Palin on the ticket.

by nathanp 2008-11-03 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Would Hillary Be Ahead Right Now?

Palin's following is based on her potential to be the future figurehead of the GOP

If Obama had been VP he would have had the same appeal to 75% of his supporters.

I was not asserting who McCain's VP would have been, only that Obama's support would have largely transferred because he would have been the future to Clinton's present.

by dtaylor2 2008-11-03 01:38PM | 0 recs

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