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March 05, 2008


David Epstein

Well then xyz, you and I seem to be in agreement about the type of analysis to be run, and who should be asking the questions, even though I suspect we might differ on which candidate we would like to see come out ahead in such an analysis. :-)

It's true that just because one candidate wins a state's primary, it doesn't mean that they are "more popular" in that state in an overall sense. They might be getting the left wing of the party to vote for them, and if these voters turn out in greater numbers than more conservative Dems then the losing candidate might actually have a greater chance of winning the state overall. It all depends on which voters are supporting whom, and what that means for the general election. This is, of course, just another way of saying that primaries are a less than optimal method of choosing a candidate.

I've seen the Kos analysis posted elsewhere, and while I think that general election polling at this stage should be taken with a large grain of salt, I think that the conclusion that either candidate can beat McCain is certainly true. More on this in my next post...


another look at the data...although this is survey data and from March, not exactly scientific. http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2008/3/6/145023/7178/225/470640


Your fact that Hillary won 6 of 10 "battleground" states suggests the exact opposite - that Obama is better poised to win the general election. Who are Hillary's supporters? Long-time democrats, the party faithful. Obama's? He draws in young voters and independents. Hillary's supporters will vote democrat in the general election no matter what. But many of Obama's supporters would go to McCain or not vote.

Touting Hillary based on her wins in democratic strongholds is exactly why democrats were killed in elections from 1996-2006. It criminally misses the point.


While I think this is one good way to look at who will win those all important swing states, how valid is it to compare primary/caucus and general election results? Most states do not have open primaries or caucuses, so what we see when we look at these states is the opinions of the more-involved Democrats participating in these contests. For the general election, one must add in the other (larger) portion of the electorate. This includes independents, which have only participated in a handful of primaries thus far. My point is that the people in these contests would most likely rally around whoever the Democratic candidate is. The question, then, is who can appeal to that middle 10th of the population who seem to change their minds much more readily? This case must be made and strongly by whomever the Democrats choose. I agree that one good way to do this is to have the SDs bring up important issues to vet them before the general election.

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