I am utterly undecided. Feel free to make a suggestion.
To me, it is simply not the case that in most regards one candidate has better positions than the other. The main difference I see is in that Clinton has articulated her positions in more detail than Obama. Obama seems to be running more of a hope and charisma campaign.
I liked Bill Clinton, and I never had negative feelings towards Hillary Clinton, as many people seem to. I hear Hillary Clinton supporters expressing the thought that she would be a good president and the best possible campaigner against any of the Republicans, despite the anti-Hillary or the Hate Hillary faction. I hear Obama supporters expressing their feelings that he is an inspiring candidate. The key differences between these two expressions is not too subtly buried in the wording I’ve chosen: think vs feel. Frankly I think, or maybe feel, that it comes down to that.
In truth, I want the candidate that has the best chance of beating the Republican to get the nomination. A lot of Obama supporters respond, when they hear me say this, that that has to be Obama because Clinton has all these negatives … meaning, people who are negative about her. I don’t buy that for two reasons. First, yes, there are negatives, but these are concentrated among those who would vote for McCain in an instant, so it does not matter. The second reason is that we live in a racist nation, and when it comes down to it, there are a lot of people who are not going to vote for Obama because he is black. However, that faction does not spout their rhetoric through all possible media outlets as do the anti-Clinton people.
But, I don’t feel any strong need to avoid Obama because there are those who would vote against him because he is black. Those people are also not going to vote for Clinton because she is a woman.
Ideally, this Tuesday, the Democrats will launch the candidate, the overall winner of Super Tuesday, with a bang. That candidate … the one who takes the most delegates, will also have a strong popular vote, and will win in nearly every state. That will generate very helpful momentum for the general election. Also, it may diffuse and stop the just now increasing intra-party fighting that may ultimately weaken the Democratic chance for a win in November.
So, to help understand this, we may turn to the polls.
Nationally, in one series of RCP poll data (which averages several polls), Clinton has been solidly ahead of Obama (and still is) with Obama having a very suddent upturn since June. Here’s a picture from their site that is hard to read but will give you the gestalt. This is from January 30th 2007 to the present:
Over at Realclearpolitics.com, it is easy to get a look at the polling data.
Perhaps more important is the “head to head” polls.
Here is a rough breakdown:
McCain vs. Clinton: McCain wins in most polls
McCAin vs Obama: Viurtually dead even, Obama winning in four and McCain in three, but they are all so close that it ends up with McCain a half percentage point ahead.
Romney vs. Clinton: Clinton beats romney in every head to head poll but a comfortable margin.
Romney vs. Obama: Obama beats Romney by an even more comfortable margin.
Huckabee vs. Clinton: Clinton beats Huckabee by, interestingly, less of a margin than she beats Romney, but by a comfortable amount
Huckabee vs Obama: Obama veats Huckabee by an even bigger margin.
This all suggests that Obama will do better than Clinton against any or all Republicans. However, do you really believe that when it comes down to it, the Obama election machine is as strong as the Clinton election machine?
To me, it comes down to whether or not the apparent superiority of the Obama campaign in head to heads measured over the last few months is sufficient to overcome an extremely well run and effective campaign by Hillary Clinton. It is not clear to me that this is the case.
How about Super Tuesday? Is there a current favorite between Obama and Clinton in most states?
One source gives us these results:
New York: Clinton
Jew Jersey: Clinton
Oklahoma: Clinton (but with John Edwards still in that poll at 24%)
Colorado: Obmaa (but with John Edwards at 17%)
New Mexico: Clinton
Arkansas: Clinton (Edwards at 14)
Idaho: Obama (but with Edwards at 15%)
So overall, Clinton is projected by this set of data to sweep Super Tuesday.
The best scenario for the Democrats is that Clinton totally wipes Obama off the map, thus gaining huge momentum, or that Obama does better than Clinton thus, in pulling ahead, gains huge momentum. The worst case scenario for the Democrats is that Clinton beats Obama by a little almost everywhere. Then, the real slug fest begins!
But wait, there’s more…
It would be nice to know which Republican is going to win on Super Tuesday. If it is McCain, then maybe Obama is the best bet for the Democrats. If it is anyone else, the Clinton may be the best bet.
The same source predicts way more McCain winds than Romney wins, and a couple of strong showings for Huckabee, with the latter only winning in Arkanas.
Yet another consideration is: Is Nader going to run, and if so, what happens there? Well, I think Nader would take more Obama votes than Clinton votes. Am I wrong about that?
So, what do I do on Tuesday. Please advise.