Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Will the squishy centrists abandon Obama?

No. At least not enough of them to matter. But that doesn't stop Froma Harrop from advancing the false premise. After citing a couple of her friends as evidence, there's this:

The notion that many Clinton voters cannot be easily transferred to Obama contradicts much "expert" opinion. But a Super Tuesday exit poll suggested there is something to it. While 52 percent of Obama's supporters were amenable to a Clinton candidacy, only 49 percent of Clinton voters said they'd be happy with the Illinois senator, according to the survey by Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

A laughably ludicrous interpretation of that poll, considering that the margin of error is great enough to flip it the other way. The actual scientific polling suggests precisely the opposite, in fact: Obama edges McCain while Clinton trails badly. Presumably he does so with a majority of self-described Democratic "moderates". Either that, or he's sweeping independents and conservatives. So with that much faulty thinking it's no wonder she arrives at this conclusion:

What Democrats must understand is that their moderates now have another candidate to consider. And this slice of the electorate is big enough and grumpy enough to swing a general election to John McCain.

No, it isn't. And whatever the amount is, it has already been overcome by the legions of new and mobilized young and minority voters, as well as by conservatives making the switch from Republican primary voter to Democratic. A much more obvious trend verified by actual turnout, if Ms. Harrop had bothered to look at, you know, results of states that have already voted.

Froma, if you want to do a column based on anecdotal evidence then let's hear about the effect of Hillary Clinton at the top of the November ticket on downballot Democrats. Because that evidence is overwhelming.

As for mushy "centrists" and "moderates", Jim Hightower said it best: "There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos."

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