Saturday, 12 April 2008

Why Hillary can win, where Obama can't

Despite the continued demonisation of Hillary Clinton in the European press, it is worth reminding ourselves why she is still in the race - and why only she is likely beat John McCain in the autumn. Since this is not the received wisdom in our liberal media, some facts may help. First, according to the most reliable latest polling, Hillary would defeat McCain by three points in a general election, whereas Barack Obama would merely score a tie (and even that is before the Republican smear machine gets to work). And the reason lies in states like Pennsylvania where Hillary is scooping up Reagan Democrats, as a fascinating article and poll in this week's Time magazine demonstrates:
Democrats rarely have to worry about the urban centers or the college towns falling into line. Clinton's core constituency, by contrast, is a group that Democrats must win but frequently don't. Working-class whites, despite their historical ties to the Democratic Party, have shown time and again that they will defect if they don't like the nominee.....Ever since he launched his campaign in Lincoln's hometown of Springfield, Obama has been happy to have himself compared with the original skinny outsider from Illinois. But as this race goes on, the image of another Illinois icon looms. The shape of the Pennsylvania electorate, and the prospect of a contentious convention, evokes 1952, when Adlai Stevenson--the darling of "every thinking person," as one woman later famously phrased it--captured a fiercely contested nomination by putting the urban and the urbane blocs together. But he never won over the white working class, and that's why there never was a President Stevenson.

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