Friday, September 05, 2008

Dick Morris: Democrats in Trouble

Dick Morris, former political adviser to President Bill Clinton, has an article in the New York Post (via Real Clear Politics) entitled "Democrats in Trouble". His main point:
The turning point was the designation of Palin and the personal attacks on her. By stirring up a storm, Democrats assured that Palin would speak to 37 million Americans - just a million fewer than watched Obama's acceptance speech.


They've seen the media and Democrats gang up on her and do their worst. And they've seen Palin stand up and stuff the challenge right back down the establishment's throat. All this may have created an entirely new dynamic in the race.
On this point, I agree with him. Both the Democrats and the media (sorry if I am being redundant) grossly underestimated Palin and her appeal. They figured they would squash her quickly and easily, McCain would be shown to have poor judgment, and the race would be over. Instead they have unleashed a sleeping giant of enthusiasm and the eventual impact could be catastrophic for Obama's campaign.

I disagree with Morris on one point, though:
Anecdotal evidence already suggests that women may have a gut reaction to the establishment's sexist assault on a woman candidate - and flock to McCain. They've seen him stake everything on this one big move of turning toward a woman - in direct contrast to Obama's deliberate decision not to name a woman.
There is also anecdotal evidence that many liberal women don't really mind sexist behavior when the target is a conservative woman. To them Sarah Palin is just another old white guy in a skirt who deserves no sympathy.

Hilary Clinton's supports are just too far away from Palin for them to "flock" to her. While Palin may get a few percent of them, the lion's share are going to Obama. What Palin did do was excite the conservative base. In the end it is all about percentages.

DJ Drummond, over as Wizbang, as is he style has a ultra wordy piece on a recent Rassmussen daily tracking poll that has Obama up 48% to McCain's 46%. But the interesting internal is:
Rasmussen has weighted the respondent pool, with 39.7% weighted as Democrats, 32.1% as Republicans, and 28.2% as unaffiliated.
This means Rassmussen is assuming that ~40% of the voter will be Democrats and ~32% of the voters will be Republicans. In an election with Republicans unenthusiastically supporting McCain, that might be an accurate assumption. In an election with Republicans passionately excited about Sarah Palin, that assumption could be horribly inaccurate.

It is the conservative base that the media attacks woke up, not waves of female Clinton supporters suddenly crossing party lines in solidarity. But the end effect could be just the same come election day.

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