Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Utah's purpling?

The Deseret News and Dan Jones have done another poll on Utah's presidential preferences, and it seems that Utahns are warming to the idea of John McCain. If a state that gave Romney 90 percent of the vote (and McCain 5%) in the GOP primary can reconcile with McCain, doesn't it stand to reason that the vast majority of Clinton supporters will vote for Obama in the fall? Anyway, on to the results.
McCain, the GOP's presumptive nominee, was the choice of [...] 62 percent when matched up against Obama. That's a big change from February, when McCain mustered support from only 30 percent of Utahns surveyed.

The poll was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates of 604 registered voters statewide May 13-19 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.
I omitted the results of the Clinton/McCain match up because A) she isn't going to win the nomination and B) the results are statistically insignificant (she does 3 points worse, well within the margin of error). Believe it or not, if 62 percent holds up through the fall, that will really help Utah Democrats. That's because George W. Bush did 10 points better than that in 2004.

To help down ticket Democrats, Obama doesn't have to win states, he just has to not hurt them. And Obama is much better at the top of the ticket in the West than Clinton would have been on that score. Sure, she might have been better in places like Ohio and Florida, but she really would be a drag on so many U.S. House and Senate races in places like Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, North Carolina, and yes even Georgia and Mississippi, where black turnout will be through the roof thanks to Obama. And the main goal of the party is not just to elect a president, but to win races from county council to president.

And for future reference, there are what I call teaser states--ones that are always close nationally but of late consistently go Red or Blue--and truly swingable states--ones which either party has a legitimate shot at winning. In my mind, OR, WA, WI, MI, MN, PA, WV, and FL are all teasers. They are close, but they have gone Blue (in the case of the first 6 states) or Red (in the case of the last 2) in the last two-to-three presidential elections. The swing able states are VA (due to demographic changes that has resulted in going from all GOP governors and two GOP senators to 2 Democratic governors in a row and as of this fall, two Democratic senators), MO (Kerry really should have tried harder here, and with a likely winner Democratic gubernatorial candidate--and no gay marriage amendment on the ballot and major black turnout in St. Louis--it should be a possible squeaker), OH (the economy, combined with the fact that Dems swept in every statewide office last year, should help Obama, despite his Appalachia problem), NH (again, demographic trends and strong down ticket candidates helps Obama), IA (Gore barely won it in 2000, Kerry lost it in 2004, Obama is loved in Iowa), NM (Gore barely won it in 2000, Kerry barely lost it in 2004, if Richardson is on the ticket, it could be sewn up), CO (another demography and strong statewide candidates aid to Obama--Kerry contested this mildly in 2004), NC (demographic trends and strong black turnout).

I really don't see PA or FL changing "colors" any time soon. But if you disagree with any of this analysis, please comment and explain why you think I am wrong.

No comments: