I haven't posted much about this election: I generally have better things to do. But something has been bugging me for a few weeks now, and this morning I finally had the time to sit down and look at the numbers. What I discovered was that Obama's primary victories are almost all in states the Democrats aren't going to win in November. It's all well and good that Obama trounced Clinton in North Carolina but there were almost exactly the same number of votes cast in the primary as were cast in favor of John Kerry in 2004, and the Democrats lost that state by 400k votes, a 13 point spread.
Same with South Carolina. Obama got 295k of the 532k votes cast, but the Democrats lost that state by 270k votes, a 17 point spread. Georgia too. Obama won 704k of the million votes cast--an electoral rout by any reasonable standard--but Kerry lost by 550k votes, a 16 point spread. Obama won Louisiana by almost 90k votes, a 22 point spread, but Kerry lost it by 280k votes, a 15 point spread.
Meanwhile, if you look at states that the Democrats are going to win in the fall, they line up pretty neatly in Clinton's camp. She took California, New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey by comfortable margins. She also won the major swing states of Pennsylvania and Ohio, and the importance of that can't be underestimated.
There are a few outliers, but those aren't all encouraging. Washington is definitely a feather in his cap, as that state will definitely vote for the Democrat in the fall. So will Illinois, but as that was Obama's home state, it's not surprising he won there.
Let's be realistic: people in reliably Red states--particularly in the South--aren't necessarily happier about the war, the economy, or massive federal fiscal irresponsibility than anyone else is (Congress has an even lower approval rating than the President), but they aren't going to vote for either Democratic candidate in the fall. Both Clinton and Obama, and particularly Obama, represent the far left wing of the Democratic party, and that dog won't hunt in Alabama. It may be closer than it was last time, but the electoral map is going to look a lot like what it did in 2004. Obama is winning Republican states and losing Democratic states in the primary. He isn't going to win Republican states in the fall. Clinton may well wind up being the better candidate.
Result? With Barack Obama the all-but-presumptive Democratic nominee (Slate gives Clinton a 0.5% shot today), the Democrats may well lose this fall. The damage to the party could be incalculable.Posted by ryan at May 29, 2008 8:52 AM