Friday, January 04, 2008

Hillary's Vulnerability Exposed

After campaigning for months on two assumptions, it looks like Hillary Clinton have five days and change to not only reevaluate those assumptions but also make changes. Assumption one is that Americans are looking for an experienced leader. Well as this article by the Washington Post points out,
After delivering a closing argument to Iowa voters focusing on her 35 years of public service, Clinton found caucus voters looking for a fundamentally different message. By more than 2 to 1, caucus goers polled as they entered their precincts said change, not experience, was the most important quality in determining their vote.

Electability, another argument put forward by Clinton's campaign, lagged far behind in terms of importance.
I think people in America are cognizant that no American President operates independently and alone. They will be surrounded by advisers and, one hopes, experts to help them with matters. Thus, what people, at least among Iowa Democrats and independents, are looking for is a break from the past. Like it or not, Hillary Clinton is a fixture from the past and people don't want to see a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton sequence of presidents. They want a different name and a lot of Iowa Democrats want that name to be Obama.

Despite his solid performance, John Edwards campaign is largely done. He is constricted financially by taking FEC matching funds, something Clinton and Obama don't have tying their hands. The Edwards vote is probably more likely to split for Obama, increasing his stature.

Clinton's second assumption was that she would garner more of the female vote than anyone else. Well, the polling data suggests otherwise.
Perhaps most remarkable in the Democratic contest was the result among women, the group to which Clinton has owed her lead in national polls. In Iowa, Obama beat Clinton by 35 percent to 30 percent among women. He did better still among men, with 35 percent support, to 24 percent for Edwards and 23 percent for Clinton.
. As I have stated before, Hillary Clinton has a woman problem and with the attractive, hope-filled message of Obama, Hillary Clinton is simply not going to draw the kind of support she needs among women and she will trail among almost as a matter of course.

Hillary Clinton's inevitability will be challenged in New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. Right now, Hillary Clinton has to win, and win big, in New Hampshire. The black vote and the women votes in Nevada and South Carolina are probably not going to break for her. Obama can damage her badly in the next three weeks before Mega Tuesday. The problem is that Obama can move forward with his message without much change, Hillary Clinton will have to retool.

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