Harold Ford: Obama has to Win Indiana [Updated]
by TexasDarlin, Sat May 03, 2008 at 12:20:42 PM EDT
On April 22nd, as Hillary Clinton's win was declared in Pennsylvania, an L.A. Times blog reported on a statement by Harold Ford Jr. to MSNBC:
Harold Ford Jr. -- not so long ago the rising black politician within Democratic ranks -- now heads an arm of the party that seeks to keep its focus on "middle" America and crafting centrist messages: the Democratic Leadership Council. Often vilified by liberal activists, the DLC sees itself as quintessentially practical.
From that perspective, and in the wake of Hillary Clinton's win in the Pennsylvania primary, Ford just set a political bar for the black politician that surpassed him in prominence.
"You have to win Indiana," Ford told Barack Obama (via an interview on MSNBC). And, Ford added, Obama has to "steamroll" Clinton in the other state with a primary two Tuesdays from now, North Carolina.
The Obama camp will not publicly embrace that equation. But for him to truly regain the momentum he captured during his February surge, most party pros will see Ford's formulation as spot-on.
Interestingly, the Obama campaignreleased a spreadsheet back in February (mistakenly, they said) predicting results for all primaries and caucuses. Many Obama supporters on this and other blogs have since boasted about its accuracy.
Take a look at the spreadsheet...
Today the Clinton campaign sent out a memo to Interested Parties. It reads in part:
MEMO: Why Did the Obama Campaign Predict Victory in Indiana? Does That Prediction Still Stand?
Three months ago the Obama campaign produced a spreadsheet that, with one exception, has accurately predicted the winners in each of the upcoming primaries and caucuses.
Tellingly, that spreadsheet predicted an Obama victory in Indiana by 7 points, as well as an Obama victory in North Carolina.
Does the Obama campaign still stand by that prediction? If not, why not, and what has happened?
It is easy to see why the Obama campaign predicted victory in Indiana. Senator Obama has won each of the primaries in the states that border Illinois Iowa, Wisconsin, and Missouri, and 25% of Hoosiers get their television from Illinois stations a huge advantage for Senator Obama. Indiana s primary is open, and Senator Obama has tended to do better in those contests.
The Obama campaign has also dramatically outspent Senator Clinton in Indiana by more than $2.4 million -- $5.6m - $3.2m and has even gone up on broadcast television in the very expensive Chicago media market.
Despite Senator Obama's advantages and his prediction of victory, we have worked hard in Indiana to do as well as we can and anticipate a close finish.
In North Carolina, Tuesdays other contest, Senator Obama enjoyed a lead of over 20 points in public polls throughout this year and outspent us there on TV by $1.3m -- $4.9 - $3.5. Senator Clinton has been working hard to narrow that 20 point gap.
The Clinton campaign certainly raises some fair questions, especially in light of Obama's shrinking support among the working class, as reported today by the A.P.:
Barack Obama's problem winning votes from working-class whites is showing no sign of going away, and their impression of him is getting worse.
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.
"It's the stuff about his preacher ... and the thing he said about Pennsylvania towns, how they turn to religion," Keith Wolfe, 41, a supermarket food stocker from Parkville, Md., said..."I don't think he'd be a really good leader."
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has consolidated her coalition of women, labor households, seniors, Catholics, Jews, blue collar voters, Hispanics, and others -- a winning coalition which has continued to grow stronger since February. In terms of momentum, Hillary is looking like a champion.
Obama's momentum has been fading since February, and he's been falling short of his own expectations. Obama's spreadsheet predicted a 5-point loss in Pennsylvania (Clinton won by nearly 10 points) and an 11-point win in Guam (currently he's winning by 6 points.)
Does Obama have revised projections for Indiana and North Carolina?
UPDATED: Obama won Guam by 7 VOTES, a statistical tie, and a re-count has been announced.Cross posted at texasdarlin.wordpress.com The author is unaffiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign.