On One Hand

May 3, 2007

Polls twist Democratic Race

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 7:05 pm
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In nation wide hypothetical match-ups for the 2008 Presidential election, John McCain beats Hillary Clinton by a comfortable margin. Against Obama, the race is nearly tied, with Obama sometimes coming out ahead. The polls show both Hillary’s weaknesses and John McCain’s formidable popularity.

Giuliani generally beats Hillary too, and also beats Barack Obama, but by a smaller margin.

Republicans are not in love with either McCain or Giuliani, but if either man is chosen for the ’08 race, Hillary may not be the best Democrat to put forward in the general election. To do so could result in a Democratic loss in a scenario in which national and global events – including the unpopularity of George W. Bush and the perpetually exploding fireball of the Iraq war – should otherwise indicate a nearly-certain Democratic win.

McCain is thought of as a moderate, but his win would not be good for those with Democratic ideals. McCain maintains the foreign policy of the Bush administration and is more conservative than he appears to be. His image as an independent thinker, though, would make him nearly impossible to beat by front-running Democrats, putting the dems in a lose-lose situation.

If Giuliani were to win the Republican nomination, its implications for Democrats would be both positive and negative. First, Giuliani would be a tough candidate to beat on issues, since he is a moderate, and is thought of as a 9/11 hero. His Republican yet New Yorker status would appeal to independent voters and loyal Republican voters would still choose him. But since Giuliani is a social liberal, Evangelical voters might either stay home on election day or be persuadable by by the Democratic candidate. We might actually see a Democrat take over the South – especially if it’s John Edwards. But if Giuliani did win the presidency, Democrats would get Republican president they might actually agree with from time to time. The Evangelical vote may even be permanently split. Meanwhile Giulani’s rough manner and personal history would doom his presidency to unpopularity among the very conservatives and moderates who voted for him, which could lead to Democratic victories in congress and in future elections.

I’ve made a list of every hypothetical match that is likely to happen in 2008 with my own outcome predictions. My figures might favor Democrats, but the way I see it, the whole country favors Democrats right now.

My hypothetical match-ups:

Clinton vs. McCain

This puts the most pro-war Democratic candidate against the most pro-war Republican candidate, and both would have a “strong-on-terror” image. But Clinton is married to a former Democratic president and thought of as an insider to the Democratic party – while McCain is perceived as an equal-opportunity iconoclast.

John McCain would win all the central and mountain states, and the race would be unusually tight in California, which is extremely important to Democrats who rely on its dependable support bringing more electoral votes than any other state. Washington and Oregon would also be tighter than usual. McCain would probably take the South and Texas, but perhaps not Florida. Hillary would get New England, and most traditional Democratic strongholds, though perhaps not New Hampshire. Essentially, the race would be a repeat of 2000 and 2004, and the states that were “battle ground” then would be “battle ground” again. Ultimately, the win goes to McCain. Popular vote: Clinton 46, McCain 53

Obama vs. McCain

Obama is a fresh new face among Democrats, which is appealing to exactly the same people who like McCain for his maverick image. The main contrast between the two would be old vs. young, as McCain would be the oldest first-term president in U.S. history and Obama would be the second youngest. Religious binaries would be reversed, as McCain is a rationalist among religious Republicans and Obama is more spiritual and idealistic than most Democrats.

Obama would ensure the Democrats keep California, and he might even win New Mexico, which is right in the center of McCain territory. Obama would have an advantage with young and moderate Christians, but the racial history of the South would ensure that Christian support doesn’t help Obama get any serious leverage from the Bible Belt. Meanwhile, evangelicals in the Midwest or northern states might help tip the balance there. Obama would probably win Florida. This race would be close, but again, the battleground states would be similar to where they were in 2000 and 2004. The win could go either way, depending on what happens in Iraq. Popular vote: Obama 50, McCain 50

Edwards vs. McCain

Edwards is another fresh new face, with a charming Southern accent. He is also young, and McCain’s age and stiffness would stand out. Edwards is another white male, so his candidacy doesn’t take any risks, and because of George W. Bush’s unpopularity Edwards would pull a tremendous advantage against any Republican. If the war is still going on in 2008, there is no way any Republican would win against Edwards.

Edwards would probably keep California and the West Coast simply because he is a popular candidate and the coast tends to go Democratic anyway. He would also keep the East Coast, which is reliably Democratic. The real advantage Edwards has against McCain is in the South, where Edwards’ own Southern roots will be appealing. Edwards will win Florida and Virginia, and maybe North Carolina, where he is from. He’ll also likely pull Tennessee, and other Southern states will be close – so close that Republicans will be forced to spend money where they usually don’t have to. Other former-battleground states like Ohio, Missouri and Iowa will choose Edwards’ blue-collar populism over McCain’s Western libertine rationalism. The win goes to Edwards. Popular Vote: Edwards 53, McCain 47

Clinton vs. Giuliani

Here’s a match for the ages. Two liberal New Yorkers will battle it out, and both are strong when it comes to defense and weak when it comes to political sleaze. But there’s one key difference: Giuliani, who has been married 3 times and most recently left his wife for a mistress he is now married to, has to deal with the image of being a cheating, lying man. Clinton, who was famously cheated on by her husband Bill in office, was the woman who forgave a cheating, lying man. The balance there goes to Hillary, as long as she can play it right, avoiding self-victimization.

One possibility, and I say liklihood),is that an independent candidate would scoop up the Evangelical vote. Evangelicals know it would mean a loss for their Republican candidate, but their disdain for both Giuliani and Clinton would have no other outlet – I can’t envision them supporting a pro-choice candidate.

Clinton will keep California and the West Coast. She’ll also keep New York, since Giuliani is unpopular there after his tenure as NYC mayor. Giulianni will get Republican strongholds, like Texas. But everywhere else, margins will be razor-slim. Women will flock to Clinton when Americans learn Giuliani’s marriage history, and Clinton might even have a chance with Evangelicals.

Clinton can win Evangelicals if she explains why she forgave Bill for cheating. Forgiveness is a central element of Christianity, and Clinton might even say she chose not to divorce her husband out of respect for “the sanctity of marriage.” Meanwhile, Clinton’s stance is identical to Giuliani’s on abortion, or is maybe even farther to the Right. A lot of people don’t like Hillary, especially men. But women voters – who outnumber men – will make all the difference in that situation.

Because of the liklihood of a third party candidate, I give the win to Clinton. Popular Vote: Clinton 48, Giuliani 42, socially conservative Independent candidate 6

Obama vs. Giuliani

The two Candidates tie in many places – Giuliani’s defense and 9/11 heroism vs. Obama’s positivity and freshness will score equally in the suburbs (with Obama as a clear winner among women and Giuliani pulling ahead with men). Obama is incredibly well-liked on college campuses and will probably do well among young voters as a whole. Both candidates are currently well-liked by Americans, and both will lose their rosy images when voters to get to know them better. But Giuliani might stand more to lose than Obama does; Obama’s personal life is a mystery, while we already know Giluiani’s bid is riddled with contradictions and sleaze. This contest once again turns to the Christian vote for answers. Giulianni, who is pro-gay, pro-choice and divorced twice, loses any special Evangelical support he would otherwise get for being a Republican, and Obama is openly spiritual and appealing to religious voters. But among those Evangelicals who retain racist views, Obama will not win.

I still don’t see Obama taking the South. It’s unfortunate, because Obama would be appealing to Southerners in every way that is possible for a Democrat if he weren’t black, and it means that the racism that still lingers in America could have the power to pick a president.

But low poll numbers in Southern states might spark sympathy for Obama in other states. Obama will cut into traditionally-Republican voting numbers in the Midwest and West, especially among that area’s Christians. Religion can be a powerful thing, and those who harbour concealed or subconscious racist views might take special care to eliminate them in the name of faith.

I ultimately don’t know how big of a deal race is to most voters, though it could make all the difference. If I hear people saying “there’s something about Obama I disagree with, I can’t quite explain it,” we’ll know Obama’s ethnicity is hurting his votes. When randomly polled, Americans tell pollsters they could support a Black president, but an idea they support in theory does not always translate to reality.

In this case, a third party candidate could hurt Obama as much as Giuliani. Otherwise-Democrats in the South could pull away from a black candidate towards someone who is similar to Obama but white. More likely, the candidate would be pro-welfare, anti-gay, and pro-life, so would take votes from Obama and Giuliani together.

One thing a black candidate would do is motivate African-American voters like no other candidate in the history has done. People who usually don’t vote would be sure to be counted, and in states where African-American populations are high enough, the surge could tip the balance – especially when Evangelical voters disliking Giuliani don’t vote or go for a third candidate. That means Virginia could go to Obama. Florida would too, and votes in the Southwest depend on how much Obama’s minority status resonates with Hispanics. The race could go either way, but Obama has the advantage. And in any Obama scenario, Democrats will sweep the House and Senate because of Obama’s get-out-the-vote potential. It’s a tie, but the sake of balance, lets say I give the win to Giuliani. Popular vote: Obama 50, Giuliani 50

Edwards vs. Giuliani

Edwards is prone to a gaffe here and there, so his widespread popularity could diminish before the election. But Giuliani’s current widespread popularity will definitely diminish, by a lot. Western and Northeastern voters who are more likely to overlook Giuliani’s many marriages and social liberalism will support Democratic candidate even if they like Giuliani, and Christians will flock towards Edwards.

Edwards would probably pick up several Southern states and maybe even Texas. He would easily win the Carolinas and Virginia, and all traditional Democratic strongholds on the coasts. Edwards will win Missouri, Colorado, and maybe a few other moderate states in the West. But Giuliani might win New Hampshire if the war is no longer an issue then. Arizona could go either way. I give the win to Edwards. Popular Vote: Edwards 56, Giulianni 42

Clinton vs. Romney

Romney is a wholesome, handsome, good old-fashioned Jesus-loving boy, with just one problem: he’s Mormon. Mormonism is the runner-up to Scientology as being the most bizarre religion in America (in the popular consciousness), and Mormonism is probably more of a disadvantage than any religious association besides Islam when it comes to an American presidential election.

I actually think Romney’s religion will cost him more with mainstream voters than with conservative Christians. Nonreligious voters will think Mormonism is bizarre, while Evangelicals will connect with it’s old-fashioned values. Evangelicals will dislike Romney for other reasons – namely his flip-flops on virtually every issue, likened to John Kerry. (Romney was pro-gay and pro-choice and recently switched on both of those issues.) He has already been caught talking out of both sides of his mouth concerning hunting and his favorite book, Battleship Earth – er – he means, uh, the Bible.

But Mitt Romney is also so damn nice that he might actually retain some of the women voters that would go to Hillary (statistically, women vote for softer-spoken candidates than men do), and Evangelicals will still prefer him to any Democrat or anyone named “Clinton.” Romney will keep the South (especially Texas) for Republicans, and might also get some moderate Midwestern states. Romney will also get Utah and Montana, and anywhere else that Mormonism is popular. He will do surprisingly well among the elderly. But his 1950’s manner of speaking wold not redeem his flip-flops to most Westerners besides those in Utah. I think Clinton will get traditional Democratic states plus the West, so if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, Mitt Romney is the best possible opponent for her. I say Clinton wins. Popular Vote: Clinton 51, Romney 48

Obama vs. Romney

If someone felt any guilt about opposing the first real shot at a non-white President, they might excuse it by saying, “hey, I voted for the first Mormon.” Obama’s race is an issue here, because Romney is probably the whitest person to run for president since John Quincy Adam’s powdered face.

Romney will get the South. He’ll get Texas, and the vertical line of states from Oklahoma to North Dakota. He might get Missouri, and Kentucky and Tennessee. Obama gets traditional Democratic areas, like Illinois, Michigan, and the east coast.

Besides that, it all depends on Romney’s gaffes. Romney makes a lot of them, and they could cost him to Obama, who is a fantastic writer and speaker. Obama also has fewer contradictions to navigate in his political platform.

Obama’s motivational qualities make the difference here. African-Americans will vote in record numbers, and if Obama can reach out to other racial minorities too, he can win the whole Southwest. Unfortunately, other states with large numbers of people of color are already solidly Democratic, so don’t help Obama as much as they would seem to. It helps Obama get the popular vote, but not electoral votes. Still, I give this contest to Obama. Obama wins. Popular Vote: Obama 51, Romney 46

Edwards vs. Romney

This is a clash of two golden-boys, the happy-go-lucky idealist from the South verses the Leave it to Beaver Massachusetts’s Boy Scout leader. Each will cancel out the other’s advantage among elderly voters, but women and young people will flock towards Edwards, who is the fresher of the two.

Romney also has the potential of being “fresh,” since he is a conservative from a liberal state and has nice hair. But Romney loses on the war, if its still going on in late 2008. He’s also the closest to Bush, and said to be the candidate the Bush administration favors. So even if the war is over, W’s unpopularity will hurt Romney in the general election.

Edwards will win traditional Democratic states, plus part of the South, the Midwest, Missouri, New Hampshire and maybe a couple Western states. Edwards wins, here, by a landslide. Popular Vote: Edwards 56, Romney 42

Democrat vs. GOP Messiah ’08

Republicans are looking for their “new Ronald Regan;” a candidate who is deeply Christian and combines their favorite positions on economic and social issues. They could draft Newt Gingrich or Law and Order actor Fred Thompson, or bring one of their second or third-tier candidates to the front. Most people Republicans could draft will lose – whoever it is will be out of touch with the nation concerning the Iraq war. Plus, Democrats have the advantage on domestic issues, as the public shifts is increasingly anxious about healthcare while the Bush administration has cost Republicans all credibility on fiscal responsibility. Newt Gingrich would fall to Clinton in a ball of flames since Newt Gingrich cheated on his wife while Hillary got cheated on by Bill. Mike Huckabee could be popular on conservative issues but is too stiff compared to those in the Democratic field. Sam Brownback, another 3rd tier Republican candidate, is an avowed Creationist, which would be a turn-off for anyone who isn’t an Evangelical.

Clinton vs. Ideal Republican

Any candidate is going to have flaws, and this is no exception, so even the “ideal Republican” is beatable. Americans are long tired of Republicans in office, now more than ever. Incidentally, they are also tired of Hillary Clinton, so the vote could go either way.

But the ideal Republican, whoever he may be, will be with Bush on the war. There’s no question about that, since two thirds of Republicans are for the war, and they’ll be picking the nominee. Meanwhile, Americans as a whole are 2/3 against the war. McCain and Giuliani stand a chance because they are unconventional Republicans, even though they support the war. Meanwhile, the “ideal” Republican would have to be an amazing speaker and candidate to beat any Democrat.

In this match-up, Clinton would retain Democratic strongholds, except, possibly, the opposing candidate’s own home state or region. The Republican would keep the South and most of the heartland states, as they are Republican strongholds and the “ideal Republican” is perfect for them. The battleground shifts to the West. Can Clinton win? I still say it could go either way. Popular Vote: Clinton 50, GOP 50

Obama vs. Ideal Republican

Obama loses all his advantage with Evangelicals when it comes to the “ideal Republican,” who doesn’t turn them off the way McCain and Giuliani do. That means he Obama can’t bank on Christians anywhere, even outside the South, because, be they Democrat or Republican, they’ll vote along their usual party lines. Evangelical voters will rally behind the Republican, except maybe a few of the younger ones. Obama will also lose among elderly voters.

Obama will win traditional Democratic voters and have exceptional numbers among people of color, especially African-Americans (and any Democrat can have that benefit by nominating Obama for Vice President). But the results of Obama against an ideal Republican will come down to the Iraq war. If troops are still out there, Obama will win. If the war is over, Obama will probably lose. Popular Vote: Obama 50, GOP 50

Edwards vs. Ideal Republican

Edwards was popular last time around, and he’ll be popular again. Moderates like him, but a Republican candidate won’t pick up anyone Bush didn’t get in ’04. Instead, Republicans will likely lose states to the shifting voter preference now favoring Democrats. Even John Kerry would win now, by a landslide, if he ran against Bush again.

Edwards is a low-risk candidate since he’s a white male, and not from Massachusetts. Plus, Edwards is Southern and well-spoken. Edwards will get all the traditional Democratic states, all the traditional swing states, plus Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina, and a few others. Edwards wins. Popular Vote: Edwards 55, GOP 45; Click to View

Readers’ Predictions:



  1. Newsweek’s poll today had every Dem beating every Republican, though some by smaller margins than others. So, bottom line: It’s too soon to tell.

    Comment by spoofilms — May 6, 2007 @ 2:53 am | Reply

    • I noticed that, and I agree with you. But one issue is that the same was true in 2004; polls showed “a Democrat” beating Bush’s re-election but it turned out not to be John Kerry.

      I’m also pointing out Hillary’s present disadvantage, and the advantage Obama has. If it turns out to be close enough that some Dems could beat the Republican and other Dems couldn’t, who do you think is the one who’s least likely to make it? I say Hillary, for now.

      Then again, I’m a fan of Hillary Clinton, and I wasn’t before. It was only when I started to hear her speak for herself a little that I warmed up to her. Sometomes people say they don’t like someone just because they’ve heard everyone else say the same thing so assume that person must be bad. And we know that Hillary is the most trash-talked Democrat there is. So I’m willing to see how polls work themselves out later.

      The deal I’d make with Hillary is this – if you can win general popularity and consistently beat every Republican in hypothetical national polls (or state-by-state polls adjusted for Electoral votes), we’ll support you. But if not, we’re for Obama, or even Edwards. I think it’s time for a woman and Hillary is my preference, but more than that, I really, really want a Democrat in office. I can’t fathom the thought of being, what, like 26 years old before my commander-in-chief isn’t a Republican, openly anti-gay, pro-war, etc…. . And that’s assuming he or she doesn’t get a second term – if that happened, I’d be thirty. THIRTY!!!!

      In conclusion, I like Hillary, but winning is more important, and I like to play safe.

      Comment by ononehand — May 6, 2007 @ 4:13 am | Reply

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