Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My Feb 5th predictions

Some might call it foolhardy to try to predict where 22 frakkin' states will go, but I am just such a crazy person. Consider that Obama has more of a 50 state strategy and a focus on bringing out new and infrequent voters, training them to become precinct captains, while Hillary generally relies on the institutional support of established machines.

Here's where I think votes will break, based upon the information that we have a week before the elections. (Yes, this is strict vote count, not delegates. Even I am not that crazy or sleep-deprived. Even the major news organizations can't agree on how many delegates each candidate has!) But if you are interested, the AP has a list of how many delegates each state has, and Marc Ambinder has a handy tipsheet.

What are my predictions based on? Strength of endorsements/field operations/staff, general intuition, info from people on the ground, newspaper endorsements, polls and conjecture (in rough order.) Caveat: I'm no pundit, and it's mighty hard to predict turnout especially in this year's election given the unprecedented turnout so far. This is why I put less faith in most polls.

Let's also keep in mind that there's terrible weather today - snow in Missouri, tornados in the South. This might put a dampen on Obama's incredible new voter turnout.

Oh yeah, and my GOP prediction is pretty easy - McCain will win majority of the delegates and consolidate lead, causing true conservatives to weep. Now, onto the meat! :

Alabama - toss up. African American voters make up more than a quarter (26%) of the voting population, and should be enough to put him over the top, but keep in mind that Clinton got the endorsement of the entire Alabama Democratic Caucus.

Alaska - Obama. Alaska is an independent minded state more like New Hampshire and he has the support of the former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles. Also Obama has bothered showing up here, which like Idaho, means something to people who are usually ignored.

Arkansas - Clinton. This is her home state (one of many), and Walmart is the largest employer. She was on their Board and the Walmart tentacles are long and tight.

Arizona - tossup. This is a more conservative state that is defined by libertarian values and McCain "go it alone" qualities. But it's culturally much more like Nevada than New Hampshire. Even though Obama has congressman Grijalva and Governor Janet Napolitano, and his immigration policies are more progressive than Clinton's. And in a border state like Arizona, that might unfortunately be the difference.

California - Tossup. When I first wrote this, I had Hillary by 5, but this was before SEIU and Maria Shriver. She has a huge advantage in having wrapped up pretty much ALL of the major institutional support, but Obama has a wicked field team here. And the Field Poll, which is the most important predictor of voter turnout, has Clinton 36 - Obama 34, which is within the margin of error. Maria Shriver's surprise endorsement is going to make up whatever nonstatistical difference, if not put him over the top. We'll see what SEIU in California is able to do for Obama after getting into the game so late (switching from Edwards.) Clinton has Senators Boxer and Feingold but if you note who in Congress has endorsed, you'll see a lot of Pelosi's key lieutenants - George Miller, Eshoo, Becerra.

Also, although the Farmworkers endorsed Hillary, this is hardly a ringing endorsement. They are mostly in California, so it's important symbolically but most of their members are not documented and can't vote. It's another in a long line of "Yes, but. . ." endorsements for Hills, whereas Obama's full-throated endorsements mean something. Just look at poor old Teddy Kennedy traipsing all over and working his heart out. Personally, I even think he called in a favor to Maria to get her to come out.

Asian Americans make up 11% of the vote, almost twice as much as African Americans. The latino vote makes up almost a third of the voters, so we'll see if Teddy Kennedy can carry it.

Lastly, Obama got the newspaper endorsements in Cali all wrapped up including the two largest papers in SF and LA. That's worth a percent or two. But California is traditionally considered Clinton Country, and she has the star names - LA and SF mayors,

Colorado - tossup. Hillary has some staff who ran incredibly effective political operations in the state, so they know the lay of the land like nothing else.

Connecticut - Clinton. This state re-elected Joe LIEberman (Independent), who has endorsed John McCain. Plus its other Senator is Chris Dodd, who I think shocked the political world by coming out strong on netroots issues. Dodd isn't endorsing anyone after dropping out, which is probably because he wants to run for Majority Leader and can't afford to piss off his base - the netroots, which is pro-Obama/anti-Clinton. Obama has the endorsements of 2 congresscritters, but Rosa DeLauro endorsed late, after switching from Edwards.

Delaware- tossup. This state is home to some our most conservative and boring Democratic Senators - Biden and Carper. Huge crowds did turnout for both Obamas, and the electorate is close to one fifths African American.

Georgia - Obama by 10 or more. The substantial African American vote here (28%) will break for him, and let's not forget that Atlanta is the vote capital. They've elected and even re-elected Cynthia McKinney, who is an out Green.

Idaho - Obama. Yeah. Surprised the hell out of me that 10-15 thousand people even lived in Idaho, much less would turn out for Obama, but the proof is in the photos. And that's an awful lot of white people coming out for Obama, more than probably turn out for football games. Don't forget that people in so-called flyover country really appreciate it when you visit.

Illinois - Obama by more than 20. In between being a very popular home state Senator and having the lockup of the Daley machine, to the degree that even Clintonista Congressman Rahm Emmanuel won't formally endorse, he's got it wrapped up.

Kansas - Obama. This is his technical home state, and incredibly popular Democratic (some might say post-partisan) Gov. Kathleen Sebelius came out for Obama. This woman has completely turned Kansas around and elected Democrats all over.

Massachusetts - Obama. He's got the two Senators, Kerry and Kennedy, and the support of the state's first African American governor, Deval Patrick. Of course, the senators are travelling all over the country instead of staying at home to lock in support. It'll be tighter than expected because Clinton got the mayor and chair of Boston's city council, half the state's Congressional delegation, and both leaders in the state leg. but don't forget the huge college population - and the youth vote is solidly in Obama's base.

Minnesota - Obama. Minnesota's DFL is one of the most progressive and open state parties. The state elected our very first and only (so far) African American Muslim Congressman. They elected Paul Wellstone, activist and professor, and the general populace are notorious for liking the independents - Jesse Ventura anyone? Plus they have a decent field operation, and Mee Moua supports Barack, like many of the new Hmong American leaders who see in him their own scrappy refugee experience.

Missouri - tossup. Senator McCaskill endorsed, and strongly, which should help amongst female voters. But the racial politics in Missouri are crazy bad. A lot of people will be watching as this is a bellweather state that has picked the candidate repeatedly. African Americans make up 11% of the vote, and Hill has former Rep. dick Gephardt's support.

New Jersey - Hillary. She's got all the institutional support here - from the Gov on down. Obama has the still popular fmr. Gov Codey, but this is a state that is heavily influenced by NY (wether or not it wants to admit it) and

New Mexico - Clinton. Richardson has studiously avoided endorsing either Obama or Clinton, which is a HUGE shocker since for most of the primary campaign he seemed to be openly jockeying for a veep position in the Clinton Cabinet, Part Deux. But I guess he genuinely likes Obama and is trying to give him a chance. Given that a big part of Richardson's resume rests on his time in the Dept of Energy and as UN Ambassador, both as Bill's appointee. If anyone in the endorsements game owes the Clintons anything, it's Richardson. So I am officially giving him some props here for holding out. Can't be easy given their history. (And Lord knows I do not love Richardson for his mishandling of the Wen Ho Lee affair.)

New York - Hillary by 15 or more. Upstate will break her way, and the city will be more of a fight, but most of the machine belongs to her, and the unions endorsed her. NY NOW apparently is ready and willing to castrate Teddy Kennedy for her. Obama will get the creative vote, not that it'll be broken down like that in the exit polls. Also, the NY Asian American institutions like John Liu support Hills.

North Dakota - Obama. Senator Johnson endorsed him, and so did former Senator Daschle, former Majority Leader.

Oklahoma - tossup.

Tennessee- Clinton. she has more endorsements and a stronger staff. While African Americans make u[p 16 % of the vote, she has poured energy into securing this state.

Utah - tossup. There's a large Mormon population, so Romney should be getting it for the other [party. But Obama actually has opened up an office here - talk about 50 state strategy!

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