The cake is a lie.

Recently, there's been a trend to argue that Hillary should receive the nomination due to the fact that she's more electable. She, in current polling, receives far more electoral votes. The path to the election, Clinton conventional wisdom goes, is a piece of cake.

As per my title, I disagree.

Polling this far out is notoriously unreliable. Let's look at the most recent example.

John Kerry, May 29, 2004, had 327 predicted electoral votes to Bush's 211.

Hillary Clinton, May 29, 2008, has 327 predicted electoral votes to Bush, I mean, McCain's 194, with 17 tied.

The same delegate count. The same distance from the election. We all know how this played out over the months of June through the election in 2004, though.

I'm not claiming Hillary would lose or that their maps are identical. Hillary has fewer "barely" Dem states, with about the same number of possible pickups in the tied through weak GOP states. But the message remains the same: you cannot extrapolate data from this far out. It's too unreliable.

No path for any candidate is ever going to be a piece of cake. There's always going to be work involved, there's always going to be obstacles to overcome. Kerry faced character assassination from Swift Boaters and allegations of political weakness for what were presented as flip-flopping.

Hillary will face some of the same flip-flopping allegations (especially regarding the AUMF), while some of the strengths she will play up will be attacked mercilessly (her health care reform, for instance, will be portrayed as something Americans already rejected in the 90s).

Obama will face accusations of inexperience and character assassination by proxy (Wright, Rezko, that kid he was in 3rd grade with who later forgot to put his hand over his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance). His message will be characterized as being naive and dangerous for these uncertain times.

And I'm sure many more, unexpected, unforeseeable attacks will come down the line, since no amount of public exposure can predict or dissuade these attacks. Kerry was Lt. Gov of Mass from '83-'85 and has been a Senator since then. That's 20 years of public scrutiny, and still no one saw the Swift Boaters coming.

It's the Presidency of the United States.

Winning it isn't supposed to be automatic or easy.

And it never will be.

Tags: 2004 election, 2008, clinton, Electability, electoral map, Kerry, obama (all tags)

Comments

22 Comments

Winning the Presidency isn't ever guaranteed.

If it was, I'd be President. And today would be National Last-Thursday-in-May Day, the first day of the Last-Thursday-in-May four day weekend.

And this song would be the national Last-Thursday-in-May anthem.

Mostly because it amuses me.

by TCQuad 2008-05-29 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Winning the Presidency isn't ever guaranteed.

Such an amazing game.

by thatpurplestuff 2008-05-29 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Winning the Presidency isn't ever guaranteed.

I decided to re-write my own lyrics for Still Alive.

You know, because it's trendy.  And nowadays, growing more and more appropriate.

I'm in it to win it
I'm taking this thing right TO THE FLOOR
It's hard to overestimate my chances
Hillary Clinton
I do what I must because I care
For the good of Democrats (the ones who voted for me)

But there's no shame spinning over every lost state
I'll just keep coercing superdelegates
'Cause the election's not done
This is the part I call "fun"
I'm not losing: that is all a lie

I'm not even behind
I've got the most voters right now
That is, when you count the votes in Florida
And also in Michigan
But those caucus states he won don't count
He only won those states because
Of activists and hope!

Now these polls and predictions have me beating McCain
And if you pick them just right, Obama can't say the same
So I'm GLaD I'm still in
I'm the only way to win
I'm not done yet: that is all a lie

Take all my supers
I think I prefer the DNC
Maybe they'll seat everyone from Florida
And then maybe Michigan
THAT WAS A JOKE--HA HA, FAT CHANCE
Anyway, it isn't fair
It's like Zimbabwe and stuff

Look at me complaining with campaigning to do
When I watch my ads they make me GLaD I'm not you
There's Puerto Rico still to win
I hope Obama has thick skin
I'm not conceding: that is all a lie

Believe me, that is all a lie
He's elitist and that is all a lie
I'm working-class and that is all a lie
They're just sexist and that is all a lie
I'll still win this and that is all a lie
All a lie
All a lie...

by BishopRook 2008-05-29 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Winning the Presidency isn't ever guaranteed.

BishopRook, you are my new hero. So, so awesome.

by X Stryker 2008-05-29 11:47AM | 0 recs
The polls predicted Hillary would be the nominee.

'Nuff said.

by Firewall 2008-05-29 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

Well as i recall Kerry was always down (on average and not count the convention swings) around 2 to 4 percent and well he lost by right around 3%.  And while i dont have a crystal ball or anything my guess is McCain is going to be a better candidate than dems think and my guess is this election could easily be as close as 2000.

david

by giusd 2008-05-29 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

Er...I think the diarist is showing the electoral map polls from 4 years ago today that had Kerry beating Bush by over 100 electoral votes.  Soooo, he is referencing polls that had Kerry way up to show how unreliable those types of polls are this far out.

by minnesotaryan 2008-05-29 09:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

If you're discussing total polling, I'd point you to CNN, May 22nd (according to the byline).

Poll: Support for Bush, Iraq war dropping
Kerry leads Bush in matchups

(CNN) -- As Americans express growing unease about Iraq, President Bush's job approval rating has taken a hit, according to a poll released Friday by CNN and Time magazine.

That development appears to be helping Sen. John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. He wins the support of 51 percent of likely voters, compared to 46 percent for Bush. In February, Bush was ahead of Kerry by two percentage points.

If independent Ralph Nader is among the choices, Kerry gets 49 percent, Bush 44 percent and Nader 6 percent.

by TCQuad 2008-05-29 11:17AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.
This diary was a triumph.
I'm making a note here: HUGE SUCCESS.
It's hard to overstate my satisfaction.
by BishopRook 2008-05-29 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.

Mostly, I wanted to make sure I had this data around for posterity. I'm sure this argument will be forwarded several dozen times between now and ten minutes from now.

But it's an important thing to note that polls aren't always accurate prognosticators, no matter how much we want them to be (aka, Obama 18 ahead of McCain in the EV right now).

by TCQuad 2008-05-29 11:14AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

No argument there.  Polls are effectively useless this far out.  A lot can happen in six months--hell, a lot can happen in one month, thus the concept of an October Surprise.

by BishopRook 2008-05-29 12:16PM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

I was going to make that exact comment.

You win the internet!!!

by X Stryker 2008-05-29 11:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

Wow really?  That's awesome, my own personal Internet.

But what am I going to do with a big truck you just dump something on...?

by BishopRook 2008-05-29 12:15PM | 0 recs
Agreed.

And I'd agree even were it Obama with the current polling edge.

by Shem 2008-05-29 09:22AM | 0 recs
Obama icing a pipe dream? Clinton eats his cake.

CLINTON SAFER MORE UPSIDE LESS DOWNSIDE

Clinton is safer electoral candidate with more upside?
by Liame, Thu May 29, 2008 at 10:34:52 AM EST

http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/29/1034 52/725

Based upon polling data as expressed at electoral-vote.com on May 29th, Clinton is not only the safer candidate, winning even if only holding states trending weak and strong Democrat for her candidacy, but also showing less downside and more upside in potential electoral college votes.

_
Based upon the May 29th map from electoral-vote.com, a Clinton general election campaign would need to strongly fight in Michigan, a state she won in the primary process (caveat understood) and which has marginally favored the Democrats in recent Presidential elections, and that struggle could be lost with success still ensured for the general election.
_

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Cl inton/Maps/May29.html

_
The Clinton campaign would also be wise to protect its slim leads in three states, which it could also loose and still prevail in the general election:
_

  * one of which she lost in the primary process but which has marginally favored the Democrats in recent Presidential elections (WA);
    * one of which she lost in the primary process and which has marginally favored the Republicans in recent Presidential elections (MO); and
    * one of which she lost in the primary process but which has favored the Democrats in recent Presidential elections (CT).

_
The Clinton campaign could also fight for three weakly held McCain states, all of which would also be unnecessary but would allow for a more decisive victory:
_

  * one of which she lost in the primary process and which has weakly favored the Republicans in recent Presidential elections (CO);
    * one of which she lost in the primary process and which has flipped from Democrat to Republican in recent Presidential elections (IA); and
    * one of which she lost in the primary process and which has marginally favored the Democrats in recent Presidential elections (WI).

http://www.mydd.com/evclinton

Clinton minimum map as of May 29th.
    Clinton = 309 vs. McCain = 229

Clinton maximum map as of May 29th.
    Clinton = 360 vs. McCain = 178

_
Based upon the May 29th map from electoral-vote.com, an Obama general election campaign would need to strongly fight in Virginia, a state he won in the primary process but which has favored the Republicans in recent Presidential elections, and Indiana, a state he lost in the primary process and which has favored the Republicans in recent Presidential elections, and those struggles would likely require one win to ensured success for the general election.
_

http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2008/Ob ama/Maps/May29.html

_
The Obama campaign would also be wise to protect its slim leads in two states, of which it likely needs both to still prevail in the general election:
_

  * one of which he lost in the primary process and which has flipped from Democrat to Republican in recent Presidential elections (NM); and
    * one of which he lost in the primary process and which has marginally favored the Republicans in recent Presidential elections (OH).

_
The Obama campaign could also fight for four weakly held McCain states, some of which it may need to still prevail in the general election:
_

  * one of which he won in the primary process but has marginally favored the Republicans in recent Presidential elections (MO);
    * one of which he won in the primary process and which has marginally favored the Democrats in recent Presidential elections (WI);
    * one of which he lost in the primary process (caveat understood) but which has marginally favored the Democrats in recent Presidential elections (MI); and
    * one of which he won in the primary process but has favored Republicans in recent  Presidential elections (SC).

http://www.mydd.com/evobama

Obama minimum map as of May 29th.
    Obama = 241 vs. McCain = 297

Obama maximum map as of May 29th.
    Obama = 336 vs. McCain = 202

by Liame 2008-05-29 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Obama icing a pipe dream? Clinton eats his ca

I realize you just copied and pasted a different diary, but as a quick response, don't assume the 105 EV in the weak Dem are safe. Plenty of states jumped more than two categories (most of the barely Dem from Kerry ended up weak Rep in the final results).

Weak only means a 5% lead in the vote, which isn't particularly reassuring given the inherent margins of error and the length of time remaining.

Not saying Obama's sure or Clinton wouldn't, but nothing is certain this far out.

by TCQuad 2008-05-29 11:11AM | 0 recs
Obama icing a pipe dream? Clinton eats his cake.

Mostly, I just like reading my title to this set of comments.

On more serious matters, what you are saying may or may not be true, but what little, and admittedly imprecise, untimely and perhaps somewhat irrelevant, information we currently have is not terribly encouraging regarding the Obama candidacy.

I also believe that in order to be the `change' President, you must win by a lot and have a substantial mandate that you can draw on for political muscle.  If not, then a good, experienced policy wonk, able to make some course corrections and institute largely supported policies, is a much safer bet.

It is never easy to get anything done in Washington.  Just look at the Carter administration; as an outsider for change, he was often at odds with his own party, which starts to act regarding their own constituency's preferences after the general election.

by Liame 2008-05-29 11:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Carter

A timely article on Carter ...

In Carter's Shadow
Wednesday, May. 28, 2008
RAMESH PONNURU
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/ 0,8599,1810056,00.html

by Liame 2008-05-29 01:23PM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

Aperture Science:
We do what we must
because we can.

For the good of all of us.
Except the ones who are dead.

But there's no sense crying
over every mistake.
You just keep on trying
till you run out of cake.
And the science gets done.
And you make a neat gun
for the people who are
still alive.

by thatpurplestuff 2008-05-29 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

I thought for certain that this would be a diary about Bush and McCain having cake while Katrina destroyed New Orleans.  

 

by freedom78 2008-05-29 10:59AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

No, that cake was true.

by TCQuad 2008-05-29 11:11AM | 0 recs
Re: The cake is a lie.

And it'll make for one brutal ad this fall.  At the height of government incompetency, Bush and McCain were having cake while people died.  

by freedom78 2008-05-29 11:20AM | 0 recs

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