McCain's Challenge: Democrats Hugely Outvoting GOP

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by jterrell, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    McCain's Challenge: Democrats Hugely Outvoting GOP
    By Mort Kondracke

    After Super Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) has every right to declare himself the Republican presidential frontrunner, but he has miles to go in getting himself and his party in shape to face his Democratic opponent.

    One measure of his task is that more than 14.6 million Democrats went to the polls on Tuesday and only 9 million Republicans -- indicating a vast enthusiasm gap between the parties.

    McCain polls reasonably well against both Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.), but they have a sagging economy and a massive national desire for change going for them in addition to the energetic desire among Democrats to get the White House back.

    Which Democrat will win is anybody's guess. Clinton held a 79-delegate lead over Obama, 1,012-933, according to's tally on Wednesday, but both are a long way from the 2,025 needed to wrap up the Democratic nomination.

    By my count, Clinton outpolled Obama in the popular vote on Super Tuesday by fewer than 100,000 votes nationwide -- 7,348,102 for her and 7,277,687 for him. In all the primaries up to now, excluding Michigan, where he was not on the ballot, she leads with 8,463,780 votes to his 8,263,662.

    It's next to a dead heat, and upcoming events in Louisiana, Washington state, Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia definitely favor him. It will be almost a month before she's back on safer territory in Texas and Ohio on March 4.

    Clinton can claim it as a success that she stopped what was perceived to be a surge to Obama by winning in California, New Jersey and Sen. Edward Kennedy's Massachusetts on Tuesday, but he won more states, 13 to her 8.

    Clinton aides say that the Massachusetts victory was especially sweet, following on Kennedy's endorsement of Obama. "We wanted to sock him in the nose," one aide said.

    Going forward, I'd say that demographics still favor her. There simply are more voters in her base -- women, non-college graduates, whites and lower-income Americans and self-declared Democrats -- than there are in his base among African-Americans, the well-off and well-educated, and independents.

    In California, for instance, women made up 55 percent of the electorate and she carried them, 59 percent to 34 percent, according to exit polls. The two tied among males. Obama carried white males, 52-34, but her lead among white women gave her a narrow overall lead among whites. And she carried Hispanics by 69 percent to 29 percent.

    On the other hand, demographics isn't everything. Obama has poetry going for him -- freshness, the themes of hope, change and renewal -- against her more prosaic assets, including policy expertise and the loyalty of organization politicians.

    Meantime, McCain is in a much more advantageous position among Republicans -- and some GOP pros are urging that he take advantage of his position to put the wobbly party back in shape to compete in the general election.

    McCain has 697 of the 1,191 delegates needed to clinch the GOP nomination to just 244 for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and 187 for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

    On Super Tuesday, McCain racked up 3,594,380 popular votes to Romney's 2,950,047 and Huckabee's 1,782,840 and won nine states, including the biggest, to Romney's six, mainly in the Mountain West and Huckabee's five, all in the South.

    It's been an amazing comeback for the maverick Senator. On the basis of his second-place finish in 2000, he was the early-on primogeniture, or next-in-line, favorite for the 2008 nomination, then fell to the bottom over his courageous sponsorship of immigration reform and mismanagement of his campaign.

    He has fought back -- aided by U.S. successes in Iraq and the fact that the conservative movement that's dominated the GOP since 1980 could not rally behind a single alternative candidate. McCain slipped by them all.

    Romney and Huckabee are vowing not to quit, but the handwriting for them seems to be on the wall. McCain has got to figure out how to get them to admit the fact gracefully and rally behind him.

    McCain scores well in head-to-head matchups against both Clinton and Obama -- leading her 46.3 to 44.5 and trailing him by 45.1 to 44.4 in RealClearPolitics polling averages -- but those numbers belie huge Democratic advantages heading into the general election.

    In all the primaries held so far, just the three top Democratic contestants -- Clinton, Obama and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) -- amassed 25 million votes, compared with 12.5 million for six Republican candidates.

    Moreover, McCain has yet to convince conservatives, especially the most vocal conservatives, that he is one of them. He has fallen short of a plurality of self-identified conservatives in virtually every primary, relying on moderates to carry him to victory. Often, he has lost among Republicans, winning only independents.

    How to recoup? One GOP activist, Bradley Blakeman, a former aide in both Bush White Houses and now CEO of the conservative group Freedom's Watch, says that McCain's speech today at the Conservative Political Action Conference will be crucial.

    But Blakeman also advises to win over Huckabee and Romney with honored positions at the GOP convention. He also thinks McCain should name a vice presidential running mate early.

    His recommendation is former Rep. Rob Portman (Ohio), who's "young and dynamic" and has held two Cabinet jobs, or Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. Either could help win a large swing state.

    McCain should "act like a nominee" even before wrapping up the nomination -- "but do so diplomatically, not arrogantly." It might help if a senior Republican like former party Chairman Haley Barbour, now governor of Mississippi, convened a "come to Jesus" meeting of party leaders to make peace and reconcile recalcitrants to McCain.

    Blakeman also told me that McCain should "get back to work" on Capitol Hill and take a visible role in solving problems and convene his top economic advisers to make recommendations for dealing with the current downturn.

    "He ought to take advantage of the fact that Clinton and Obama will be absent and battling it out," Blakeman said. But this assumes that McCain can get Republicans to stop battling among themselves.
    Mort Kondracke is the Executive Editor of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill since 1955. © 2007 Roll Call, Inc.
  2. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Well of course they had a majority on Super Tuesday -- California and New York dwarfed the other states that had elections that day.
  3. rbr651

    rbr651 Active Member

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    I believe that so many more dems showed because they knew it was a tight race. I don't believe you would of seen as many if it was going to be a run away as on the reps side of the house.
  4. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    That's true too. I just checked the numbers for the Republican primaries and they're up from the 2004 numbers because, surprise, there's an actual reason to vote.

    For example, in 2004 there were 48,000 votes cast in the New Hampshire Republican primary, but in 2008 there were 240,000 votes cast in the New Hampshire Republican primary.
  5. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Republicans do not have time to vote more than once.

  6. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Coming Staff Member

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    I think the dems have received more votes through all of the primaries this year.

    However recently you also have to consider that they have been basically down to Obama and Hillary...while the Repubs had McCain, Romney, Huck and Paul.

    So if people only have two choices to vote for, those two will get more votes for each instead of voters having to split among 4.

    Now even with that, the dems still seem to be getting more turnout.
  7. rbr651

    rbr651 Active Member

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    Or round up the poor on a bus and take them to a polling station...:D
  8. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Dems are simply turning out in higher numbers which suggests that they are more active and are drawing a lot more of the independent vote than they did in 2000 or 2004.

    It is also quite possible the Ron Paul voters will not end up voting for either major party candidate reducing the Repub turnout even a bit more.

    But I have witnessed first hand the general erosion of political interest of Republicans in the last 5 or 6 years. Guys who were fervent backers now simply say everyone sucks, who cares. Dems are highly motivated to come out and end the Bush reign.

    Dems are generally going to be happy period.
    In a way this is playing with house money.
    John McCain is talking like a conservative but we all know how he voted in the Senate for years. He is every bit the politician John Kerry was and well he is a political comrade in ideology. Kerry offered his VP spot to McCain and I bet he'd accept of McCain offered it to him.
  9. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    The Democrats had better turnout in 2004 in the primaries as well. Simply saying better turnout in the primaries equals better turnout in the general election seems a bit simplistic (and historically untrue).
  10. Vintage

    Vintage The Cult of Jib

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    Here is the problem though:

    Kids my age don't vote. Grandmas and Grandpas and middle aged white families do.

    So while the Democrats do poll well.... the question will be how many come out and vote.

    I know I will. But my 3 roommates and most of my friends here on campus....probably won't.
  11. WiPatfan

    WiPatfan New Member

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    Even the most ardent Hillary supporter would realize that the Democrats are energized primarily by Obama, not Hillary. His brand of politics draws out a whole new demographic.
  12. Sasquatch

    Sasquatch Lost in the Woods

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    Perhaps a surge of sorts is in order? :D
  13. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Wait I thought we had to have a surge over there so we wouldn't have to have a surge over here.

  14. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    On a serious note...I could care less who comes out now.

    But the Dem's better ALL get their butts out in November or shut the hell up if they lose.

    There better be a massive turnout...whether it's Obama OR Hillary.
  15. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Winter is Coming Staff Member

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  16. rbr651

    rbr651 Active Member

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    I think that if the Dems want the White House then Obama needs to win the nomination. In another thread I read about anyone but Hillary voters, and they are real. My younger sister (still over 30) and a die hard lib says she will vote for McCain if Clinton gets the nod. I'm not a Dem but could live with Obama until someone else for the Rep decides to throw their hat in the ring. I do like McCain and think he could get many things done in Washington, he doesn't seem to be a "vote Republican just because of my affiliation" type.
  17. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    It's hard to say. Generally, up until recently, Hillary has had better polling #s against Republicans compared to Obama. But then again when was the last time someone was elected with a disapproval rating of greater than 50%?
  18. Dallas

    Dallas Old bulletproof tiger

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    If you notice Hillary is doing extremely well on the coastal states, while Obama is clearning up in the middle.

    Sadly, I see her walking away with the nomination.

    I think McCain w/ Huck as VP can beat her tho. I think Dick Morris summed it up best a day or 2 ago.

    The California result likely means that Hillary will be the Democratic nominee. And John McCain can beat her. He appeals to Hispanics and to the disaffected Obama voters. The enthusiasm of the Obama voters for a lobbyist free candidate will feed directly into McCain’s message. Hillary’s and Bill’s ties to the special interests will be a big problem for them as they face the patented outsider — McCain.

    Now its time for Romney and Huckabee to give up the race. Romney has failed, demonstrably, to translate his funds into delegates. Huckabee has succeeded, equally demonstrably, in translating his charisma, without any funds, into delegates. But if Romney pulls out, so should Huckabee. McCain should unite the party by tapping Huckabee for VP. And then go on to beat Hillary Clinton and spare our nation the agony of her presidency.

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