Three leading theories are making the rounds already. One is that there was a voter backlash against the media coronation of Obama. I’d like that to be true, but it is hard to credit. Second, that a large number of independent voters, hearing Obama was way ahead, decided to vote for McCain, where they could supposedly make more difference. I’d like to see some numbers to back this up. The third theory is the Bradley-Wilder effect (after California’s Tom Bradley and Virginia’s Doug Wilder--black candidates from the 1980s), in which black candidates trail their polls because of. . . well, you know the end of this sentence. I doubt this, too.
The answer is very pedestrian. Union goons, given the day off by their benefactors the Dems, gathered up as many silly, old women as they could find, and dropped them off at the polls, where their foolishness was lawfully registered in the New Hampshire primary.
The results of which we all saw later that evening.
There are REASONS that union support, especially AFSCME support, is so advantageous. And it's not just the money.
I suspect more than a few potential Edwards voters saw he was going nowhere and switched to Hillary, the other lowbrow candidate. As normally happens with contested Democratic nominations, the party regulars outvoted the wine-and-cheese crowd. There is nothing new here. Union turnout operations, however one characterizes them, presumably played a role as well. The kind of people who vote for a Hillary are often the kind of people who can be told how to vote.
If Obama had an issue, he'd be in better shape, but he doesn't. There are two ways he can win now. One, Edwards drops out very soon and strongly and repeatedly endorses him while bashing Hillary. Two, Hillary make many terrible mistakes, also soon. Neither scenario is likely.
Doesn't the result of this election say more about New Hampshire and that kind of open primary election than it does about any of the candidates?
My first comment was flip. But her ORGANIZATION dragged her across the finish line. Hillary and her minions took copious notes concerning the Republican turnout efforts of 2000 and 2004. She's completely prepared to dwarf the turnout efforts of both Gore and Kerry. We saw a victory yesterday for the good old fashioned GROUND GAME.
The self-styled "agent of change" had nothing to compete with it. What's that line from P.J. O'Rourke, "Age and guile defeats youth and inexperience every time."
How did the absentee ballots break out? Given that they could have been cast weeks before the NH primary--and more importantly, before the Iowa caucus results--perhaps the margin of victory was due to a more effective absentee roundup by the experienced Clinton machine coupled with their GOTV effort in densely populated NH cities. On the other hand, this assumes that at least a goodly number of folks at NH rallies cheering for Obama and polling his way had already cast their ballots for Hillary. . .
There was also the "reverse Muskie" with the undecided women on Monday, whether it was planned or not. It's the kind of story that otherwise-tuned out voters pay attention to.
Steve, I'll make part of the case that independents did go to McCain rather than Obama, based on the polls. In RealClearPolitics' final poll tally, McCain should have won 31.8% of the GOP vote. In fact he won 36%. That translated into more than 12,000 more votes than expected. But Obama lost to Hill by less than 8,000 votes. Thus the unexpected increase to McCain more than makes up for Obama's unexpected shortfall. This could help explain "wot happened."