The turnout and the percentage supporting each candidate are two different things. Polling looks at the latter. Furthermore, campaigning affects both, as has been shown in other states. Obama, as the lesser known candidate, stood to improve his support percentage through campaigning.
The results of his GOTV efforts have been remarkable everywhere he has campaigned. Your comment is obviously mistaken.
The RFK example was in no way analogous to HRC's behavior in this campaign.
1. The first primary in 1968 was March 12. When Gene McCarthy came in a close second, the sitting president, LBJ, dropped out.
2. Then RFK and Hubert Humphrey announced their candidacies.
3. There were only 13 primaries that year.
4. The California primary was held in June, as it has been up until this year, and of course represented lots of votes. RFK won it and then was assasinated.
5. The Democratic convention was masterminded and gavelled by Mayor Richard Daily of Chicago. Humphrey was basically chosen by maneuvering, despite the fact that he supported the war and neither of the other two candidacies which together held the majority of the delegate votes represented pro-war stands.
6. The discord of this campaign was reflected in violent riots in the streets outside the convention, violent largely because of the behavior of the Chicago cops.
7. The outcome of this was that many Democrats voted for Nixon, who promised to end the war.
8. Nixon won.
Do you and Jerome still consider this analogy apt?
Let's look at a hypothetical. I need to schedule an event whose goals could be phrased (looking at two extremes) as;
a) determine the preference of the largest number of people that had checked a box labeled "D" on the day of voting for a candidate to be run as the Democratic party's choice in a general election; or
b) ensure that the candidate chosen represents the preferences of the largest number of people who actually are committed members of the Democratic party, defined by their purpose to choose the candidate with the maximum ability to win my state.
If I chose a primary scheduled at a convenient time and where polling places were convenient and accessible I would certainly maximize goal (a). I might not be maximizing (b). To maximize (b) I might choose a caucus to be held at a convenient time and in a convenient and accessible place where people whose party preference was more than just a checkbox on a form, who were likely to work for the election of the chosen candidate could both organize and express candidate preference for the state. Other factors might influence the choice, such as whether the party membership/past voters were rural or urban, whether the party was already strongly organized or was weak and need to build infrastructure, and whether the party itself would have to pay for either or both types of events to be held.
The interpretation of the rules has to be in the context of the purpose of the rules and the Democratic Party. The question is not a one-dimensional decision.
Not all caucuses have the same rules. For example, Maine has caucuses but has an absentee ballot system allowing votes to be cast without attending.
I would not be opposed if states that currently have caucuses changed to a primary system. However, the purpose of a caucus is more than just taking a straw poll. It is intended to be a forum for COMMITTED PARTY MEMBERS to consider who the best candidate for the target general election might be. It may or may not actually succeed in doing that, but consider the current "Operation Chaos" kerfuffle. It is much less likely that that sort of gaming of the system will work in a caucus, since the players have to show up and actually interact socially with the other party members.
The party rules cannot be construed as being intended to disallow a caucus because when they were adopted many states had caucuses. Do you think there wouldn't have been a large controversy at the time, resulting in an all primary system if that were the intent? The rules are meant to make the scheduling and procedures of a caucus or of a primary fair. A venue without handicapped access is obviously a rules violation, just as a primary voting place with such problems would be.
It is not partisan to say that either candidate should be able to choose their running mate. The considerations for choosing a running mate are partly electoral but also have to do with how the candidate will govern once elected.
How would HRC function if elected to VP? She is a strong, active player in politics, and Bill is as well ... not to mention his tendency to disregard the consequences of his private actions. How would that chemistry play out in an Obama presidency? I believe it would be a disasterous distraction to his presidency. Because of mutual distrust, it is likely she would be shut out of an important role in an Obama administration (like LBJ during JFK's administration.)
As VP Obama would be shut out of any constructive role in a Clinton administration for similar reasons. He isn't a good exponent of views he doesn't agree with, and I can't see him sitting quietly for several years.
Because of this, both Clinton and Obama would be better served by choosing a different VP that they trusted and had good chemistry with and that provided similar electoral advantages. For Obama, someone like Sebelius or Napolitano would be good to appeal to women and midwesterners (Napolitano is from PA). Clinton would probably do best to look for a westerner such as Brian Schweitzer who could help her with the swing western states she is weak in. An African American other than Obama from among her supporters would also be good, though it might be seen as tokenism within the AA community.
Pelosi is right to throw cold water on the idea of a combined ticket because it is unrealistic. Thinking it will come to pass will simply lead to more disappointment on the part of (mostly Clinton) partisans who hold it out as a way to split the baby.
As you know Jerome, pollster.com shows the running average of polling results day by day (or perhaps I should say, poll by poll.) So I think it is an accurate description of the real state of affairs. If you want to say "hasn't been 20% since January" you are correct.
Steve, HRC related the Tuzla "incident" three times on different occasions to buttress her foreign policy experience credentials. She had previously claimed that she and McCain had experience in that realm and Obama didn't. Don't you think that it is relevant and fair for Obama supporters to point out that she was making the incident up? Yet even so, Obama refused to follow up on this during the debate, in contrast to HRC's capitalizing on the moderators questions about Rev. Wright.
DTaylor, in case this fact has escaped you, more than 25% of union members are members of the two large teachers' unions, which include college teachers. Graduate student TAs are not included in this, as they have tended to be organized by other unions. It is a bit dangerous to make the assumption that "union member" is somehow the antonym of "liberal elite college professor wing".
The moveon pac "call from all over" system gave instructions not to do the script if the person answering spoke Spanish, with nothing said about Spanish speaking volunteers, which I thought was very wrong-headed.
Chris is pulling those numbers out of a dark place...they aren't on the Texas secy of state site, and though he says their from Swing State, they aren't on the front page. Those match the secy of state numbers.