Saturday, June 14, 2008

Is Obama a loser?

The latest polls reinforce what I wrote Monday at the American Spectator:
Even the manner in which Obama won the nomination suggests that he may prove an unusually weak candidate in the general election. . . . As the primary schedule continued beyond Super Tuesday, Hillary won every major "swing state" (including Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Kentucky) and exit polls consistently showed her the stronger candidate among the blue-collar constituency that is crucial to any Democratic victory.
When the primary campaign ended, Obama's lead among the more than 3,400 pledged delegates was a scant 120, and he was 300 delegates short of a nominating majority. . .
All of Obama's problems would be enough to worry Democrats if he were a veteran politician, but he's not. He's a 46-year-old former state legislator who was only elected to the Senate in 2004 and whose presidential candidacy got an artificial boost from media enthusiasts like Oprah Winfrey and Chris Matthews.
Now that Obama's post-clinch "bounce" in the polls is fading, he's in a statistical tie with John McCain, which doesn't suggest that the electorate in general shares the kind of mindless craving for "change" that pushed Obama's Democratic primary campaign.

UPDATE: Given his weak overall standing, and with just 140 days left in the general-election campaign, Obama would be wise to reject his advisers' cockeyed plan to send him on a world tour this summer. A moronic "Dukakis-in-a-tank" publicity stunt like that isn't going to gain him nearly as much as if he spent the same number of days campaigning in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Missouri.

UPDATE II: Gee, why hasn't Obama picked up more steam since eliminating Hillary? Look at this mid-May Rasmussen poll of Ohio:
Hillary 50%
McCain 43%

McCain 45%
Obama 44%
Now, the mid-May Rasmussen poll of Florida:
Hillary 46%
McCain 41%

McCain 50%
Obama 40%
Based on the past two election cycles, Florida and Ohio are arguably the two most important "swing" states. Choosing Obama over Hillary means the Democrats are giving the Republicans an 8-point "swing" in Ohio and a 15-point "swing" in Florida.

If the McCain campaign were smart (a very big "if"), what they'd do is launch major ad buys in key Florida and Ohio markets, combined with multiple appearances in both states by the candidate, in an effort to build such a wide margin there that Obama would face a big fight just to catch up.

If the Republicans can put Obama deep in a hole in these two key swing states, the Electoral College math becomes much more daunting for the Democrats. Yes, Obama could still win by picking off states like Missouri, Colorado, New Mexico, etc., but none of those states has the Electoral College weight of Florida or Ohio.

UPDATE III: Frank James of the Chicago Tribune concurs on the folly of an Obama world tour:
With less than five months to go before the U.S. election, and with domestic issues expected to dominate, it could be strongly argued that the Obama campaign needs to spend every waking moment covering U.S. swing states, getting its vice presidential pick right, and looking and honing its voter-registration and get out the vote efforts.
If the Democrats were worried about having a nominee with foreign-policy credibility, they should have thought about that before nominating a 46-year-old who was an Illinois state legislator until 2005. Too late now.

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