Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Primaries, even though I said I wouldn't

So I peeked. I promised myself I wouldn't look until tomorrow, which I then reinterpreted as starting at 12:01, not when I wake up.

At this point, Obama has kicked Clinton up and down North Carolina. Hillary may win Indiana, but it won't be by more than two points. She has no way to spin this whatsoever. It is, once again, over for her.

Since I must find something interesting to report:
Republicans have primaries too! Sure, McCain already has the delegates, but Indiana and North Carolina get to vote too. Here's the interesting nugget: McCain, who has won the nomination, gained 77% and 73% in those states. This means that something like 25% of Republican primary voters want to register protest votes against McCain.

And who got the big numbers that were taken from McCain? Wistful bloggers at Reason, a libertarian organization, had hoped Ron Paul (a quasi-libertarian if anything) would pick up about 12-18% of the vote, as protests against McCain's unsuitability. Paul is still in the race, but he has about a dozen delegates to McCain's hoards.

Paul got 8% in both states. This makes sense; this is his normal level of support, and his fans wouldn't prop up McCain since they're not loyally Republican, just jumping into the party to help out their impossible candidate.

But Paul came in third. Behind Mike Huckabee. A candidate who's not even in the race anymore got more votes in protest than Ron Paul, who's still viable as an issues-exposer. I think I know who those 10% are. They're the hardcore social conservatives who are afraid McCain (and Romney, and Guiliani) is a 'secret liberal' with agendas. SocialCons got used to being the big powerful bloc under Bush. But they failed this election, and they'll never hold the same power again. They just don't know it yet. So while they may come out in November and vote for McCain, it will be out of necessity, since no Democrat will follow their policies. Huckabee was their last chance, and he almost made it.

Here's an indication of how far the SocialCons have fallen off: head-to-heads showed Obama beating Huckabee by an average of 10-20 points. Some had Obama up by 25 points on Huckabee. His nomination would have been a concession from the start.

What might this mean for McCain in the fall? SocialCons will still turn out to vote for him, but noting beats enthusiasm. If Obama's supporters truly like him, and McCain's supporters just dislike the opposition, he will lose. John Kerry lost because his supporters didn't like him so much as they disliked Bush. The fact that one in four primary voters won't openly support McCain is a bad sign for him.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

when you only get 75% in uncontested races it doesn't speak well for a real election

mrs mccain