Your New Hampshire Discussion Post

Clinton and McCain, with Obama close enough behind that he can’t be feeling too bad about it. Discuss.

I’ll start: I think it’s worth noting that both Clinton and Obama both topped 100,000 votes, whereas McCain ended up with 87K and Romney, the #2 GOPer, had about 74K. Win, place and show, the Democrats have something in the area of 250,000 votes, while the top three Republicans have about 187,000 votes. That’s a fair disparity, especially in a state with more registered Republicans than Democrats, albeit with substantially more independents than either.

52 thoughts on “Your New Hampshire Discussion Post

  1. After eight years of being forced to listen to our appointed decider – in – chief, I’d vote for Obama strictly for oratorial capability. The man can _speak_.
    Billary still sounds like a high school principal reading from notes.
    As an aside, after reading OSC’s posts the other night over at Hatrack, I may have purchased my last Card novel. Not that I won’t read him at all, but I’ll go to the library. I’d hate to contribute to the wrong party by proxy.

  2. At first, I was leery of Obama’s lack of experience. But after spending the last few months listening to the professional windsock politicians whip about in the fickle wind coming off the polls, I’m beginning to think that may just be his best attribute. That, and he’s got that whole “articulate, bright, clean” thing going for him.

    Articulate | Bright in 2008!

  3. It should be noted that one should look beyond the media’s obsession with #1 in each state. The primaries and caucuses aren’t winner take all. Currently, if I do my math correctly:

    Democrats (Iowa and NH)
    Obama has 25 delegates, Clinton 24 delegates, and Edwards has 18.

    (Clinton won tonight. But both Clinton and Obama get 9 delegates from NH. So did Cllinton win, or was it a tie? In Iowa the margin was significant, but Obama got 16 delegates, and Clinton 15. Edwards got 14. I don’t understand that, since he came in second, but that is what CNN says: http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/primaries/results/state/ )

    GOP (Iowa, NH, and Wyoming)
    Romney has 24 delegates, Huckabee has 18, and McCain has 10. Romney has 33% more delegates at this point than Huckabee. Yes, it’s early. However, the media focus on NH and IA, and he hasn’t ‘won’ either.

  4. I have become cynical towards the whole voting thing, since the 2000 elections. All though its nice to see an African-American doing well in the primaries. I feel that big brother is going to step in and America will have another Anglo-Saxon at the helm.

  5. TransDutch @ 3: The local precinct caucus isn’t actually the point where the delegates are allocated. The local caucuses just select delegates to the county conventions in March… which then select delegates to the district conventions in April… which then select delegates to the state convention in June, which is actually the point at which the delegates to the national convention are selected.

    This is, presumably, why Iowa has been able to hold its caucuses when it does, without the bizarre party rules giving preference to New Hampshire kicking in, as it’s not the actual selection of delegates.

    As with the electoral college, the person who won the popular vote may or may not be the one with the most delegates, depending on how those votes were distributed. The 16/15/14 figures you are seeing are just predictions on what will actually happen at the state convention, based on which areas were won by which candidate.

    Not that, in reality, Iowa’s delegates will actually matter when they’re selected in June, since the race will almost certainly be long over by then.

  6. I’m glad that more voters actually *care* about this election… the most worrying trend of the past years was that fewer and fewer people voted.

    (I must admit that I find the electoral system of the United States hard to understand.)

  7. Looking in from the outside (European here), it seems that the Democratic party as a whole, voters and all, is a lot more enthusiastic about their candidates and the elections than the Republicans.

    Also, since from my point of view the American primary circus is an entertaining political spectator sport, it’s good that no single candidate pulls too far ahead too early. This is much more interesting and entertaining to observe!

  8. I was in New Hampshire this weekend watching the primary action. John’s comment about Democrat numbers were reflected by the crowds at events.

    The largest republican crowd I saw was an event with Mike Huckabee and Chuck Norris; there were about 1000 people. The Obama event had about 3000 people and the Clinton event had about the same. I actually got to shake John McCain’s hand because there were only 2 dozen waiting to do so at the location I was at. I couldn’t shake Hillary Clinton’s hand because there were about 2 hundred waiting in an overflow gym.

    That figure is striking. Given my impressions of the New Hampshire primary, it just doesn’t matter who the republican candidate is. Unless somethig happens to change things drastically, the republicans are in for a serious whipping in November.

    Cheers
    Andrew

    P.S. I got to guest blog about my trip. If I get permission from our host, I can post the URL to my blog; it includes a bit about hanging with anti-immigration Thompson supporters.

    acb

  9. Posting URLs to your blog is fine if it’s a post relevant to the current discussion, Andrew.

  10. Recent history says Obama should be celebrating. No Democrat who won a contest in NH has become president since 1976: 1980, Carter; 1984, Hart; 1988, Dukakis; 1992, Tsongas; 1996, no contest; 2000, Gore; 2004, Kerry.

    It’s hard to watch TV coverage of this thing if you’re both 1) interested almost to the point of addiction and 2) smarter than the ring leader of a middle school cafeteria clique. MSM yakkers aren’t proving to me that they’re the more substantive way to get my fix than via the blogs.

    Like Wakboth says, it is entertaining. I mean, melodrama is inherent in politics — it’s high-stakes struggle against long-odds and formidable foes, after all — and part of the fun, but watching last night was like watching “Extra” and “Access Hollywood” more often than it should have been. They somehow struck a better note last week in Iowa. Maybe it’s just the “OMG! Hilary Clinton choked up!” crap. Like Ohio’s own John Boehner isn’t the weepiest belle at the ball.

    Hmm. I’ve forgotten what point I was heading out to make.

  11. I’m wondering if the higher democrat numbers are because of this. <- personal blog post.

    Summary:
    I no longer live in NH, but Obama’s campaign called me(in FL) and offered me a ride to the polls. It was a long ride.

  12. All I know for sure is that I AM NOT VOTING FOR GEORGE BUSH!

    I’m not going to do it. Nope nope nope.

    :-D

    Right now I’m really on the fence between Clinton and Obama. I simply do not understand the irrational hatred that so many people have for Clinton, and I would probably vote for her. But I really like Obama’s message and I’m not happy about Clinton’s vote for invading Iraq.

    I’m in PA, so I’ve got to wait until April 22 to vote. It will be interesting to see what happens between now and then.

  13. Woohoo! Now the long knives come out. And I have to say, I have been patiently waiting for this, the best part of our Forever Election. Now everyone will panic and throw all of their grenades in the next month. Inevitably, someone will hoist on their own petard. If only we could have the Thunderdome Primary System. It would weed out guys like Kucinich, Edwards, & Paul who have all run for President before and lost.

  14. TransDutch @ 3

    Democrats (Iowa and NH)
    Obama has 25 delegates, Clinton 24 delegates, and Edwards has 18.

    (Clinton won tonight. But both Clinton and Obama get 9 delegates from NH. So did Cllinton win, or was it a tie? In Iowa the margin was significant, but Obama got 16 delegates, and Clinton 15. Edwards got 14. I don’t understand that, since he came in second, but that is what CNN says:

    Actually, because of the Super-delegate system, Clinton as 183 delegates, Obama has 78, and Edwards has 52

    This means that Clinton is still the Democratic Party Establishment favorite and it’s going to take a lot for Obama to overcome this.

    The unions are working for her and when Edwards drops out, his union support will likely go to her too.

    A.R.Yngve @ 6

    I’m glad that more voters actually *care* about this election… the most worrying trend of the past years was that fewer and fewer people voted.

    I think it’s a consequence of the Writer’s strike. What else do people have to do?

    Wakboth @ 7

    Also, since from my point of view the American primary circus is an entertaining political spectator sport, it’s good that no single candidate pulls too far ahead too early. This is much more interesting and entertaining to observe!

    See?

  15. Here’s what I’m wondering. Since Independents can vote in either party’s primary in NH, couldn’t a bunch of Party A loyalists register as Independent, then vote in Party B’s primary for the candidate they feel would do the worst in the national election?

  16. Do the primaries matter? I mean, I know they matter, but do they matter matter?

    I know it’s part of the Democratic process, etc., etc. But this Pres. race seems to be such a media jerkoff that I feel like they matter even less. Sports and politics seems to be more and more alike these days so I guess I don’t really start paying attention until the national conventions.

  17. “It would weed out guys like Kucinich, Edwards, & Paul who have all run for President before and lost.”

    Why is that a metric? Plenty of presidents ran for the position, lost and then tried again later and succeeded: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson being chief examples. And plenty of presidents ran again after they lost in their second term. You might point out Nixon as a counter-example, perhaps, but I’d then call FDR (or depending on your opinion of those executives, reverse them).

    The actual number of electors in these early primaries isn’t entirely relevant to the national scale…the interpretation of the momentum they represent is. Obama’s showing may influence voters who were unsure if it was worth throwing their vote to him may now gravitate to him. Or they might not. The perceived inevitability of a Clinton nomination is no longer consider so. It’s worth noting that if Obama and Edwards continue to show as well as they have, Edward’s power to play Kingmaker will come into play, almost guaranteeing him a VP nod.

  18. Looks like McCain is my man. Well, at least the lesser of the evils. Obama is just charismatic enough to be scary.

  19. juliew @15: Not only could they, some [supposedly] do. (Though I have no evidence that enough do to make themselves statistically significant, especially in a record turnout election like this one.)

    WizarDru @17: Yes, but Nixon didn’t officially start his 1968 run in 1965, either. I fully expect John Edwards to declare his 2012 candidacy at the end of his 2008 concession speech.

  20. The primary system is very, very, very weird and not all that democratic. In the end, the candidate who gets the nod is usually the party establishment figure, who in the Democratic case would obviously be Clinton. An absolute explosion of support could change this, but Obama has a real uphill battle. Still, it’s not over. I think both he and Edwards have already changed the race for the better just by being in it; even if Clinton gets the nomination she can’t be allowed to do so complacently, or she won’t win the general election.

    On the other hand, the anointed establishment figure can be a fluid position. On the Republican side, the establishment guy was Mitt Romney, but his national support’s always been weak (he was counting on a big bounce after winning Iowa and NH, which didn’t come close to happening) and he seems to be collapsing, so the establishment may run back to McCain as a guy with great name recognition and generally positive media vibes.

    It’s also been amazing to see how rapidly Rudy Giuliani’s campaign is losing steam. I am personally thrilled about this. McCain may not be a lot better on the war front, and his positions on hot-button cultural issues like abortion and gay rights may actually be worse from my perspective, but given Giuliani’s governing style, a Rudy administration was a terrifying possibility. I’m not the kind of Democrat who wants a really scary Republican nominee just on the grounds that he’d be weaker in the general election–I’d prefer that people just have better choices.

  21. …And, yes, the greatest thing about all this, from my POV has nothing to do with who won–it’s the gigantic explosion of interest on the Democratic side.

  22. Matt McIrvin

    In the end, the candidate who gets the nod is usually the party establishment figure, who in the Democratic case would obviously be Clinton.

    Because of the way the Super delegates work, this is much more true with the Democrats than the Republicans.

    The Democratic Party is leery about allowing the rank and file pick it’s candidate (which to my mind is a metaphor for the Democrats demonstrated contempt for Democracy in general. Ironic huh?) and has been forever with the exception of the 1972 campaign. Before 1972, Party Bosses picked the nominee, in 1972 they opened it up to a direct democracy and McGovern was the result. The party didn’t like that either so they came up with the Super delegate system.

    This year out of the 4049 available delagates, 796 are Super delegates. Super delegates are all 450 members elected to the DNC, plus all Democratic Governers, plus all Democratis members of Congress plus some others they throw in for the hell of it.

    These people vote at the convention for whom ever they damn well please.

    Right now Clinton has the vast majority of these in her pocket.

    The Republicans have no such system and as a result, the rank and file pretty much choose their nominee.

  23. Frank-

    So the Republican Party nominating process is closer to true democracy? I find thhat highly amusing considering the parties’ rep, sometimes deserved.

  24. Actually, Frank, while the Republicans don’t have superdelegates, they do have unpledged delegates, some of whom are members of the RNC, who can vote as they please.

    That being said, I think Obama is feeling a bit down about the results in New Hampshire. Late polls said that Obama was going to storm over Clinton with a double digit lead; clearly this didn’t turn out to be the case. At the same time, Obama will do well in South Carolina and probably Michigan, so it’s not like this was crippling like Iowa was for Clinton.

  25. Sean L @ 24

    Actually, Frank, while the Republicans don’t have superdelegates, they do have unpledged delegates, some of whom are members of the RNC, who can vote as they please.

    This is true, but the way it works on the Republican side is that a certain number of delegates go proportionally to the candidates based on the results. The winner of the raw vote will earn all the unpledged delegates from that state.

    That being said, I think Obama is feeling a bit down about the results in New Hampshire. Late polls said that Obama was going to storm over Clinton with a double digit lead; clearly this didn’t turn out to be the case.

    Yes and there is already talk of vote fraud.

    Of course….

  26. And apparently, Iowa was not all that crippling for Clinton.

    The rumors of any Democratic candidate’s campaign are greatly exaggerated.

  27. oops, wrote too quickly. The rumors of any Democratic candidate’s campaign’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

    *sigh*

  28. If the New Hampshire vote had been taken in December, it would have been considered a significant success for Obama. A 39% to 37% second-place finish, when he’d been so far behind in the polls this summer? It’s all a matter of perception, and this loss is all the bigger because pollsters were predicting a double-digit win. You don’t really hear that about Edwards, and he picked up only 17% of the vote.

    I like Barack Obama. I like his message and his oratory, and I think he’s really what America needs right now. But there’s not a bit of difference between the Democratic candidates on the issues. I just worry about a Clinton nomination because half the country absolutely HATES her (for no good reason, that I can see). It’s not just Republicans, either, but her nomination would guarantee a huge Republican turnout in the general election. Obama’s wouldn’t. And America just can’t afford another Republican in the White House, not after the past seven years.

  29. My local paper carried the headline, “Clinton, McCain Stage Stunning Comeback in NH”. It cracked me up. Winning the second of fifty states is a stunning comeback?? So then, what would happen if Mike Gravel won the nomination (not a fan, just an example of improbability). What would the adjective be there?

  30. Half the country doesn’t hate Hilary. I think she has an “I would never vote for her” factor of something like 35%, which, while high, isn’t insurmountable. Granted, the few people who do hate Hilary have been very, very loud over the years, and have been unbelievably strident today.

    There’ve been dozens and dozens of heat-to-head polls over the last two years involving Hilary and some other Republican candidate, and she’s won almost half the time. This mantra that “she’s unelectable” doesn’t seem to match what people way when they’re polled (granted, they may vote a different way).

    I also live in Pennsylvania, made absolutely sure I was registered as a Democrat, and hope to have the chance to vote for Hilary in April. If the race is over by then, I could still vote for Barack or John and be OK with that.

    (I’m normally a registered Independent, but realized after the 2004 election that I hadn’t actually voted for a Republican in years, and given the way the party’s gone, there’s no way I can vote for a Republican anytime soon. So, I switched my registration. But when I moved in 2006, my party affiliation mysteriously vanished, so I’ve just updated my affiliation.)

  31. Jeff Hentosz @ 10:

    No, Obama should not be celebrating. It is true that the NH winners you cite did not win the presidency. However, of the six examples you cite, four ultimately secured the Democratic nomination. (The Gary hart example is only marginally instructive, because there was no realisitc way any Democrat was going to win in 1984.) The real lesson to be drawn from your cited examples is that if you don’t win in NH, your odds of getting the nomination drop. Had Obama won, he would have started to look like the presumptive nominee; now, not so much. And if he doesn’t get the Democratic nomination, then I can guarantee he won’t be President.

  32. My perhaps flawed understanding that the “will never vote for Hillary” category is on the mid-40s, not mid-30s. Even if my memory is wrong, coupled that with an energized Republican base equates to Hillary not likely becoming the next President.

    Obama is a better choice for Democrats, speaking as a Republican. He’s articulate, likeable, and comes without the baggage Hillary brings to the table.

  33. Stevem:

    “an energized Republican base”

    Have you seen the participation totals for Iowa and New Hampshire? I don’t think “energized Republican base” means what you think it does.

  34. John Scalzi

    Have you seen the participation totals for Iowa and New Hampshire? I don’t think “energized Republican base” means what you think it does.

    Wait until you see what happens if Clinton gets the nomination.

  35. I don’t doubt that the 28 percenters will stroke out, Frank. But I wonder if Clinton disgust is nearly as deep as people wants us to believe it is, when it comes time for votin’.

    That said, of all the GOP candidates, I suspect McCain would have the best shot countering Clinton.

  36. I find it interesting that the press and some people put so much importance into these early primaries. I mean how many people are we actually talking about? According to the 2000 Census Ohio has 11.3 million. Wyoming less than half a million. New Hamshire 1.2 million. For a grand total of 13 million. That is less then half the population of California. Seems to me that it would be pretty silly to count anyone out or call anyone the winner befor February 5th when 23 states do their thing. Frankly I would like to see all of the states have their primaries on the same day. I mean this whole system was created when the train was state of the art transportation and the telegraph was the state of the art communication.

  37. Rembrandt, I agree with your point, but…
    Ohio didn’t vote yet. And yes, if the parties decide to seat Florida delegates, Florida on Jan. 29 will have more delegates at large than all of the other states that have voted up to that point. So if, say, Edwards and Thompson (or Rudy, since this is basically his strategy) win Florida, they are right back in the race.

  38. Indeed, Ohio doesn’t vote until March 4th. I think Rembrandt was thinking of Iowa, which sounds similar, and with a population of about 2.9 million (for a grand total of < 5million), only strengthens his point.

  39. Re: the Democratic super delegates

    Just because Clinton has those super delegate commitments now doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll have them come Convention time. Howard Dean had a significant super delegate majority early in 2004 and looked unstoppable. Then, after his disappointing third place finish in Iowa and “scream speech,” many of his super delegates jumped ship and supported Kerry.

    Is it possible Clinton could get the nomination even if Obama has better showing in the primaries? Possible, but not likely. Especially if Edwards stays in to the end and continues to make a decent showing (since he’ll most likely toss his delegates Obama’s way). I saw one analysis this morning that showed that if the current super delegate distribution trend stays constant (not all have committed, mind you), Clinton would still need to 37%-45% of the caucus/primary delegates to clinch. I just don’t see that happening.

  40. My ingerence is shown. The calender I was looking at had a January date for Ohio. Turns out it was a filing deadline. D’oh! I have since found a better calender. Nebraska doesn’t get to have their say until June 28. Why do we still do it this way? I know at least some of it is due to the political parties trying to work the rules for some sort of advantage. In an aside there is no D in my nickname. It is a small joke. In basic programing a REM statement is for remarks, the computer ignores anything after REM. My name is Brant. Thus the first line of my high school programing assignments was REM Brant Last name. I am bit of an artist so…. Ceramics and glass blowing, not a programing artist. Just a hack as a programer. As opposed to a hacker.

  41. “…especially in a state with more registered Republicans than Democrats.”

    This statistic is out of date. Although for a long time this was true, over the last few years the balance has very quickly tipped the other way, almost exactly reversing the percentages of 2000. This is due both to an influx of new citizens from Massachusetts (New Hampshire is one of the fastest-growing states in the country) and to party-switching driven by disgust with Bush and former (Republican) Governor Benson, and admiration for current (Democratic) Governor Lynch (Depending on which polling company you believe, Lynch may be the most popular Governor in the country).

  42. John Scalzi-

    Right now the Republicans aren’t competing against anyone but themselves. They’re are looking at their candidates and saying “these are my choices?” While no one seems to be a clear cut standard bearer, they’re isn’t much of an anti-candidate. No one is getting worked up, one way or the other.

    On the other hand, if and when Hillary gets the nod, I’d bet a dollar that ranks will close quickly and Republicans will show up to the polls in droves, merely for the chance of voting against Hillary, as opposed to voting for whomever the Republican nominee might be.

  43. Frank, re the Supers: I find that a little difficult to believe that she’s got them ready to commit political suicide for her. Sure, some are backing her now, but that can change. It did in 2004. If Obama had won NH, or if he beats her on SuperHyperUltraMegaTuesday ™ I’d expect them to go with the prevailing wind.

    What’s the source for your numbers?

  44. zakur @42

    Just because Clinton has those super delegate commitments now doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll have them come Convention time.

    Absolutely true. Doesn’t mean she won’t either.

    The point is the Party can swing it to whomever they perceive to be the most electable despite what the rank and file say. In fact, that is precisely why the Super delegate system exists. They don’t want another McGovern

    Jon Marcus @47

    I find that a little difficult to believe that she’s got them ready to commit political suicide for her.

    Political suicide? That’s a little extreme. There’s the harm for these delegates especially if the act en masse

    What’s the source for your numbers?

    The very same site TransDutch quoted, just a different page

    http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/candidates/

  45. Not an Obama supporter, but…

    Has anybody else noticed that while the guy may seem inexperienced, he’s a powerful speaker, has a vision for America, seems to be pretty straight-forward and honest? I get it – he wants to be known as the candidate of change. I keep drawing parallels to the 1980 election. Most folks thought the economy was in (or headed to) the crapper, we had a multitude of foreign policy problems and conflicts around the world, America was hugely unpopular internationally, and people were just plain fed up…and along came Ronald Reagan. Inexperienced on the foreign policy stage? Yes Great, charismatic speaker? Yes Had a vision for a changed America? Yes

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if the candidate that could best claim to be the heir of Reagan wasn’t a Republican at all, but a Democrat? Reagan ran from the right, but had a moderate view on many things, and a populist message that resonated with folks. Plus, there was no doubt about it that the cowboy ex-Governor of California was the candidate of change when compared to his competitors for the nomination, and eventually against Carter. And he governed from the middle, not the extreme right (thank you Bush43 for demonstrating how well that works). I just wish I knew more about how Obama would govern…

    STB

  46. I think its all moot: sometime around the middle of October, the current administration will uncover some kind of major threat to national security and, in order to protect us all, martial law will be declared and the elections will be “postponed”.

    Assuming that that all-too-real-fantasy doesn’t occur (and yes, I’m being very cynical) the best thing that Obama can hope for at this point is a failed assassination attempt by Aryan Nation types; it will play even better in the press if he’s slightly injured and/or assists in wrestling the offenders to the ground….

  47. Fra nk @ 48

    Political suicide? That’s a little extreme. There’s the harm for these delegates especially if the act en masse

    (I assume you mean “Where’s the harm”)

    Okay, suicide was a little extreme. But would you want to be the politician who had to go home and explain how you’d thrown out the popular vote because you owed the Clintons…in an election year? (Not all, but plenty of these people hold elected office. A number will be up for re-election in November, less than three months after making such an unpopular decision. For them I don’t think suicide is an overstatement.)

    It’s possible that they’d roadblock an otherwise successful Obama bid, but it seems quite unlikely to me. Your analysis (and CNN’s numbers) assume it as a done deal.

  48. I really like Obama, but I’m worried there is going to be some big pro-Clinton demographic that decides he’s McGovern 2.0 and they must do everything in their power to veto him as the nominee. I mean, I saw a little bit in New Hampshire. I can just imagine a huge bloc of old people(who vote disproportionately) going, “No way. Under no circumstances are we nominating some black rockstar pup over the darling Clintons.” Part of it is because the Clinton camp is becoming increasingly bold in going after Obama and I’m worried that at some point they’ll draw a line in the sand and give the Democratic rank-and-file an ultimatum.

    At some point, Obama is going to have to make nominating Hillary look more dangerous than nominating him. I’m thinking he’s giving them rope so he can later bring back all their dirty shtick and destroy them with it, but part of me worries that he’s not going to be ruthless enough to take down the Clintons when the tipping point of this campaign occurs.

This is the place where you leave the things you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s