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September 22, 2007

Missouri Numbers

By Neil the Ethical Werewolf

A new batch of state-by-state general election polls is trickling out of SurveyUSA.  Since SUSA doesn't have all this stuff on one page, I've linked to a really pretty MyDD diary charting the way that Edwards, Obama, and Hillary run against Thompson, Giuliani, and Romney in Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky, and Alabama.  To summarize, John Edwards runs better than any other Democrat against every Republican in every state sampled (except that he and Clinton both trail Giuliani in Ohio by 1).  And while lots of those states aren't ones that we'll need in a general election, most of them have Senate races where it might help to be strong at the top of the ticket. Now Missouri numbers have come out, and I've posted them below.  Democratic victory is blue, Republican victory is red

Clinton Obama Edwards
Giuliani 45-48 46-44 47-42
Thompson 48-45 48-45 50-40
Romney 51-40 51-40 56-32

So there he goes again, outperforming all other Democrats and blowing Romney away.  Is it the accent?  The policy positions?  The fact that low-information voters think he's a moderate?  The fact that he'll be the first candidate interviewed on MTV this cycle?  (Well, probably not that.) 

September 22, 2007 | Permalink


I sent this Ezra earlier this week:

----- Original Message -----
From: S Brennan
To: [email protected]
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 11:07 AM
Subject: Ezra...no longer an argument over who has the best plan, but rather who is the one who could get it done.


You quoted a reader on your website in regard to Clinton's move to neutralize Edwards with a Universal Insurance Program [UPI] of her own.

"There's not enough difference on the substance among the Dems to matter, which is deliberate...Now this is no longer an argument over who has the best plan, but rather who is the one who could get it done."

I agree with you, it was very clever for her to cut the legs out from under her fellow Democrat. I should mention in passing, it's a skill the Clintons are noted for...see 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000.

Fair enough, so the statement begs the question, who will have the longest coattails? Who will bring the most progressive group of legislators to congress to accomplish this goal?

I offer this conjecture:

1] Hillary, will depress the Democratic base and help motivate the Republican base.

2] Obama, will motivate the Democratic base and help motivate the Republican base.

3] Edwards, will motivate the Democratic base and help depress the Republican base.

With Obama getting the nod over Edwards on fully motivating the Democratic base.

This presumes the Republicans nominate somebody from the Northeast corner of the US. I could be wrong on this...if Thompson can overcome the "pretty young thing" thing with the base...as Reagan was able to overcome his history of divorce.

For the record, whatever you think of statements above, the Clintons have a record with coattails...it's pretty awful...except 1992, they won while Democrats lost ground.

Here's a quick walk down memory lane: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,140027,00.html

Okay, I'm done pontificating.

S Brennan

Posted by: S Brennan | Sep 22, 2007 2:57:57 PM

So there he goes again, outperforming all other Democrats and blowing Romney away. Is it the accent? The policy positions? The fact that low-information voters think he's a moderate?

The fact that he's a white male?

Posted by: Midwest Product | Sep 22, 2007 3:00:13 PM

Edwards performs well because of regionalism . Plus he is perceived of as moderate- again the accent thing.

Clinton is our version of Bush. Not substantively, but how the electorate sees them. Both are polarizing without regard to gender. In fact, I wish some of you would get this analogy through your heads- She is to Republicans and Independents, what Bush is to Democrats and Independents. She's better off right now than Bush, but the difference is degree not kind. The kind here is polarization. So long as you deny or ignore this, you will always perceive of these arguments incorrectly as bashing her.

Obama's problem is his message. Too many people say "I like him, but he needs to give me more." Everytime he starts to do so- ie, Pakistan-- he pulls back- ie Iraq. What I think are legitimate stylistic things- ie, he wants to build consensus- is perceived of as not giving a clear answer. Sometimes you simply have to accept that people want yes/no answers.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 3:10:54 PM

The fact that he's a Southern White Male gives him the edge - these are Missouri numbers after all. Despite what Elizabeth Edwards said earlier this year, there is no detriment to being a white male on the campaign trail yet.

The question is whether Democratic primary voters are interested in Edwards or not. Some Dem primary voters seem to be upset with his poor performance in '04. I know that I question whether he's going to be a fighter or a throw rug on the campaign trail - that's one thing in Clinton's favor, you know that she's going to fight back like a pit bull because she always has. Edwards is perceived as wimping out in '04 and Obama is perceived as not really ever having had to fight very much, so Clinton looks like the strongest campaigner even if her "ceiling" looks to be lower than either Edwards or Obama.

Posted by: NonyNony | Sep 22, 2007 3:29:02 PM

I see the mydd crowd has found this blog.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 3:35:15 PM


I'll grant you Clinton has always fought hard...sadly much her fighting seems to be related to stabbing Democrats in the back.

When it comes to stabbing Democratic in the back, her fighting skills are unmatched, but why when the stars have finally aligned for a reform movement canidate would the Democratic party nominate somebody who has spent her whole career helping her husband squash reform?

Posted by: S Brennan | Sep 22, 2007 3:39:37 PM

Not that I entirely disagree, akaison - I think your Obama analysis is dead-on - but I do think some of this "Clinton is polarizing" theory isn't all it's cracked up to be. For one thing, we're long past the time when the anti-Hillary screechers on the right offer a rational critique of the woman - they've got her (still) shooting Vince Foster in some hotel room (or an apartment, I forget the whole theory), throwing lamps at the slightest provocation, offering her lesbian bounty to any woman who'll say yes... I mean, the stuff is little short of deranged. And while it's tempting to label this "fringe", it's remarkable how much of this stuff finds quarter on freep and lucianne among otherwise rational people. My point is, the right's argument against Hillary, when pressed, tends to devolve into madness pretty quick (and more than a few conservative pundits get this, which is why they don't seem as eager to see her run as one would expect were she quite so beatable). And should she be the nominee, it's not hard to see how they could overplay their hand. As long as she can portray herself as "not being seen for who she really is," the notion of her as "polarizer" sticks a bit less.

Do I think the problem is that she's polarizing? Not entirely. Do I think it's obvious that there will be massive GOP anti-Hillary turnout to turn the tide? So far, I'm not seeing it. Conservatives seem awfully depressed about their own choices, even given the prospect of her as President as the alternative. What fascinates me about those Missouri numbers is that Thompson's already looking weaker than he should, and Romney can't beat anyone (in Missouri!). There's nothing reassuring to a Republican, I suspect, in seeing only a Giuliani vs. Clinton contest, in a state like MO as the only one where they can win.

Pointing to the polls as evidence of how bad things look for the GOP is one thing, and saying things look good for Democrats generally is about as conclusive as I want to be; saying this proves Edwards is strongest (especially from once-a-week Neil)... I'm not convinced. If you ask me who's said most of the things I really want to hear... that would be Kucinich. Still haven't quite figured out what to do with knowing that. The problem I have with Clinton is that she's often vague and tends to have mastered a political speak that seems to take a position but really doesn't. That, too, is a hard criticism to make stick, though "I don't trust her" pretty much sums it up. I haven't seen anyone really focus that one on her, though, as much as I'd like. And with Edwards... well, for me it's that as with Obama, I haven't heard something that wins me over yet, and I don't especially trust him, either. I tend to agree, as above, with the fact that Edwards polls better because he's Southern white and male; much of this polling really tells us very little, still. The idealized matchups mean little when we still have primaries to settle, and Edwards bigger problem is continuing to run consistently third in the national primary polling. The fact that he may be more attractive than others to Independents and moderate Republicans only helps if he gets there. And whether he can still strikes me as an open question.

Posted by: weboy | Sep 22, 2007 3:47:44 PM

Giuliani is now basing his entire campaign on this argument, that he's the only one that can beat Clinton. Imagine the surprise the Republicans would get if they sell out the anti-abortion crowd, the gun lobby and homophobes to nominate Giuliani, only to see him get thumped by John Edwards.

Posted by: AJ | Sep 22, 2007 3:58:54 PM

a) Yes because Democratic primary voters have shown a unique ability to pick real winners in the last 30 years. The one they did pick won with a plurality of the vote.

b) As for Clinton's polarization- I won't argue with denial . When you start off comments with "I don't see" that's just denial. I don't see that the earth is round. You have shown me no evidence that I believe that can prove to me that the earth is round. The earth is flat.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 4:00:59 PM


The problem with Hill & Bill, as I point out above is not that Republicans hate her irrationally, but rather that Democrats hate her for very rational reasons. Hill & Bill screwed the Democratic party over for years.

Here's a quick walk down memory lane: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,140027,00.html

You'll be glad to know thought the moneyed Republicans like her, so within the Republican party you are right "the notion of her as "polarizer" sticks a bit less."

Murdoch supports Hillary,

Murdoch, Racist, Misogynist, anti-Gay Murdoch likes Hillary, her where polarizer label "sticks a bit" is within the Democratic party's base which she takes for granted now and as she will after she is elected...just as she and her husband did.

Posted by: S Brennan | Sep 22, 2007 4:10:25 PM

here's a link to Democratic concern in the heartland:


Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 4:15:26 PM

You are right about what factually happened in the past Brennan, but that does not equal that the Democratic primary voter understands these things. Clearly her approvals being so high amongst Democrats means that she isn't someone they view as polarizing. The problem is that the Democratic primary voter isn't always the most reality based of voters- anymore than the GOP base voters are.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 4:17:47 PM

brennan - I read your last post with the time article in it... I get it, and, really, I was there, I remember. I wouldn't be as categorical as saying the Clintons "screwed" the party; I think when you're the last guy from the party who was President, and for two terms, your thoughts on how the party should work carry outsize weight. Which is to say, I don't agree with everything they've done (especially McAuliffe running the DNC), but I don't think one can be as broad brush as your critiques seem in calling them terrible for the party. I'd call it a mixed bag, with some substantial flaws, not least of which is a tendency to see their personal success as best for the party. I'd prefer that we separate those ideas.

I started in on a long-ish response to the rest of your comment, but on reflection, it's just not worth arguing over this. Clinton's not my choice any more than she's yours. What concerns me is that the argument you present seems like one that won't stop her, either from getting the nomination or, ultimately, winning. That's what worries me, it's what's worried me all along, and it's why I keep looking for more. I don't want her to be unstoppable... I just think she may be.

Posted by: weboy | Sep 22, 2007 4:29:32 PM

And PS, I think akaison's right - primary voters don't see what you see. Can you make them see it? I'm not sure.

Posted by: weboy | Sep 22, 2007 4:30:40 PM


Democrats moved quickly yesterday to commit the 103d Congress to fast action on President-elect Clinton's legislative plans, saying the election results assured him of effective support on Capitol Hill.

Starved for legislative successes against President Bush, they have told each other, Mr. Clinton and reporters that they expect to be able to pass his main proposals, once he tells them what they are, in the first months of his Administration. That is when unity, rather than individual agendas, will matter most politically.

Remarkably slim Democratic losses in the House gave force to that promise, as the Democrats ended up with 259 seats, or only nine less than they have now. And the increase in young, black, Hispanic and female members seems likely to leave the new House more liberal and committed to action than the old.

But while Democrats held their own in the Senate against initially difficult odds, they did not make the gains needed to squelch determined opposition, which Senator Bob Dole of Kansas, the Republican leader, indicated he would often provide. Filibuster Calculations

The final tally in the Senate gave Democrats 57 seats, as many as they hold now, and the Republicans 42, or enough to prevent bills from coming to a vote with united opposition. It takes 60 votes to end a filibuster.

1994....after two years of Hill & Bill berating Democrats and ignoring their base.

The Republican gained control of both the House and the Senate in January 1995. Republicans had not held the majority in the House for forty years, since the 83rd Congress. The 1994 U.S. midterm elections, which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate.

"Heck of a job" Hill & Bill

Hill & Bill had the shortest coattails in the history of the Republic.

Because Hill & Bill spent their time appeasing Republicans and trashing Democrats. Let's not make the same mistake twice.

Posted by: S Brennan | Sep 22, 2007 4:58:03 PM

general comment- what amazes me about America is how quickly we forget history or what happened even a few years ago. Its why we are doomed to repeat the same errors over and over again. I mean it's like with Vietnam- people say we should never get in such a war again- and what did we do? We got in another war this time even worse because no one paid heed to history. What does this got to do with this diary? See Brennan's last post.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 5:03:57 PM

The problem with Hill & Bill, as I point out above is not that Republicans hate her irrationally, but rather that Democrats hate her for very rational reasons

True. Which makes puts a lot of us liberals in a conundrum when it comes to voting for Hillary. One side of me says, "Ugh, I can believe how much she's played a role in selling out my interests!" but the other part of me says, "Nothing would give me more satisfaction than seeing the anger and unhappiness her election would bring to so many Republicans."

Posted by: Tyro | Sep 22, 2007 5:12:39 PM

The Republicans gained 54 seats in the House in one election? How in God's name did that happen? That is a pretty big indictment of Bill.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience | Sep 22, 2007 6:22:13 PM

"How [...] did that happen?"

The country moving the wrong way. The south finally taking revenge for the civil right's acts. A number of old complacent Dem incumbents and others happy to hurt Clinton on e.g. healthcare for their own purposes. Beginner's mistakes by Clinton.

Maybe even in that order.

Posted by: rilkefan | Sep 22, 2007 7:21:30 PM

Except the Reagan revoluion began way before that and the South was already firmly in the GOP's hand by the time he entered office. Also it doesn't explain the loss of the close swing districts and states.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 7:27:53 PM

And yet, Clinton keeps winning polls. Dammit all.

Posted by: Anthony Damiani | Sep 22, 2007 7:34:51 PM

yes- she does- but then 30 years of us backing candidates who subsequently lose in the general would suggest those of you tauting that as a virtue are either stupid about the Democratic primary voters ability to pick a good general election candidate, engaging in "look over there" or all of the above. Nevertheless, it's kind of completely irrelevant except in the reassuring way that sychophants need to be assured by irrelevant data.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 7:37:41 PM

To add to my point- it ironic that the same argument that you would not accept from the GOP- that the base supports Bush is the argument for why you think Clinton is the best choice for the general. We learned the wrong things from Rove.

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 7:39:27 PM

Joe Klein's conscience,

There are lot of Hills & Bills spinners out there like rilkefan, his history is off by 14 years in one case, the health care story is just an outright lie. It's actually the folks that supported Hill & Bill that got the electoral boot, which is why Murdoch is such a big fan of Hill & Bills since 2006. There's suddenly a lot of Democrats to be gotten rid of and Bill and Hill are just the couple to do it.

That's right...Murdoch supports Hillary.

If Murdoch is not the most powerful Republican in the country he is in the top five and Murdoch supports Hillary...why?

Murdoch supports Hillary, because he is hoping history will repeat itself. His reasonable hope is that Hill & Bill can not only turn back the rising tide of reform, but also get rid of a Democratic congress through their now famous triangulation. Murdoch reasons they did it once before, they can do it again. His motives are clear and the media won't bite the man who feeds them...that would be Murdoch...so if anybody gets within reach of the Hill & Bill re-run, expect to see more stories like the Edwards hair story. Or the Obama...is he black enough? Get it? The press is telling everybody Edwards is a f.. and Obama is a n...... And where's Hillary? Defending Democrats left and right? Oh no, Hill & Bill are smiling like Cheshire cats, have you ever seen either defend a Democrat besides themselves? Not old "stab 'em in the back Bill & Hill"

Yeah, Hill & Bill will get a free ride, they're good for Republicans.

Posted by: S Brennan | Sep 22, 2007 8:02:13 PM

Posted by: akaison | Sep 22, 2007 7:27:53 PM

Except the Reagan revolution began way before that and the South was already firmly in the GOP's hand by the time he entered office. Also it doesn't explain the loss of the close swing districts and states.

There is also putting the passage of Bush-41's NAFTA ahead of passing universal health care. The first fight, won over the opposition of a majority of Democrats, left socially conservative labor voters figuring that they'd get screwed on the economy in favor of the corporate fat cats by either party, so they might as well vote social issues.

It, IOW, undid a key link in the liberal-labor coalition.

The DLC had promised, though not in so many words, that this could be done for electoral gain. And so it turned out ... except when combined with the scent of corruption on the Democratic Majority, it was the electoral gain of the Republicans.

Posted by: BruceMcF | Sep 22, 2007 10:45:01 PM

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