Friday, January 04, 2008

The End of the Beginning

I'm going to be curious to see the nature of new national poll numbers now that Obama has won Iowa. Yes, Blue Gal, I'm aware that polling has its limitations, but give the last batch some deserved credit. The polling statistics released yesterday morning showed Huckabee and Obama both the clear winners in Iowa and as we know now, those prediction were 100% accurate. Until his victory in Iowa, Hillary Clinton held commanding double-digit leads over Obama in almost every state in the nation. Due to the results of yesterday's caucus, one wonders now how the two would match up head to head.

Regular readers of this blog know that I strongly have criticized the Obama campaign in posts prior, particularly during the summer when his campaign was severely slumping. Let it be said now that I would eagerly eat my words if his Iowa success translates into widespread national support. His particular challenge now is to see if he can curtail early success into widespread support among lower income African-American voters, who by in large up until now have firmly been in support of Hillary Clinton. Until South Carolina votes, no one will know for sure whether he has succeeded or failed at this. Subsequent victories in New Hampshire and Michigan would be sufficient to remove the doubts in the minds of many voters, not just black voters, as to whether Obama is truly electable.

What also remains to be seen is whether Obama's support among young voters can be sustained on a national basis. Young voters, unfortunately, often do not vote and though many candidates prior have given lip service to the 18-30 demographic, few of their efforts have succeeded on any consistent basis. Politicians focus their attention on those who actually turn out at the polls, not those merely eligible to vote. Can you blame them, honestly? Why waste time, money, and effort on any group that isn't a factor in whether or not they are elected? One hopes that Obama's overwhelming support among traditionally apolitical or apathetic young adults will truly force political parties to take the youth vote seriously.

Does an Obama victory indicate a clear mandate for his policies of change, or does it instead represent a wholesale rejection of Hillary Clinton and her policies? I am not sure myself. What I will argue is that Obama's campaign certainly should be credited for capitalizing on Hillary's miscues. His strategy of only punching back at Clinton only when attacked first and attempting to take the high road is risky, but it seems, thus far, to be working. The winner of an election often is not the one with the strongest, most compelling message, but rather the one which makes the fewest mistakes. The primary season has just started and as such, ample time exists for mistakes to be made.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And as you clearly said over at my place, this now makes him the target for attacks from the other candidates doing "opposition research."

I wonder how much of it will come from Iceberg Lettuce?