I’ve been delighted with everyone else to see the strong ad campaign McCain has unleashed, and its effectiveness. It has been great and worked better than we could have hoped. Perhaps too well.Back in May, Obama had a slim 3.5% lead in a head to head matchup against McCain. However, we forget that Hillary also had a 2% lead against him in May. You can see a useful summary of the two head to head matchups here. The problem here is that this was before the negatives of the hopechangehope tour started to really crater in the polls, leading to the current tie.
The thing to remember is that Hillary was a known quantity. She couldn’t fall any further, all of her negatives are already built into the polling results. Instead, the Democrats went with the unknown, fresh face, and his vapidity is killing them. It is only going to get worse between now and November.
In a brilliant move, though, they don’t have to do this. Clinton still has all her delegates including extras in Michigan and Florida after Obama’s call to seat them. All they have to do is have the super-delegates change their mind “for the good of the party”. If they do this, it will likely be a disaster for McCain. Let’s look at the reasons why:
1) The switch won’t hurt the Democrats. The portions of their party that are truly invested are the nutroots, the black community, and the white liberal elites. None of these groups are going to abandon the party or sit out. They either will want to win so bad, or be so used to voting as they are told, that they will still turn out in November to vote for Hillary.
2) Hillary hasn’t opted out of public financing. She won’t have to waste all of her time fund-raising like Obama has to. This frees her up to campaign with full force.
3) Hillary has kept quiet. She doesn’t have a publicly known position on drilling/energy policy so can come out strong on the side of public opinion. She also has a long held position on Iraq that lets her claim a serious position in support of success. Unlike Obama, she has been there before the campaign started.
4) McCain has geared up his campaign to go after Obama. A switch now would foul up all of his plans.
5) Hillary’s negatives are known, she is fully vetted. She might have currently 50% wanting to vote against her, but Obama can’t get above 45%. If she can turn in a 49%+ result, she can win anyway. And if she can convince some of those “I want to vote Dem, but I won’t vote for Obama” independants, then she’ll be able to win fairly easily.
6) The state breakdown works in her favor. Florida becomes in play, Michigan and Pennsyvania become solid blue, and Ohio leans toward her.
7) She can have long coattails. Minnisota will elect Franken, she will help close the deal in Colorado, and she could even help turn Kentucky enough to scare the minority leader, if not outright pull a Tom Daschele.
8) Bill Clinton re-engages in the campaign. Right now he is wandering out in Africa, instead of helping the party.
McCain really needs to considering keeping a lower profile until Obama really has the nomination.