Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pennsylvania: Ominous Signs for Obama

Hillary Clinton giving advice to her door-to-door campaign workers in Philadelphia, April 19: "Well, I think, just knock on the door and say 'She's really nice,' or you could say it another way, 'She's not as bad as you think.'"

"Seventeen percent of Pennsylvania voters said they will either not vote if Mrs. Clinton gets the nomination or will vote for Mr. McCain; 25% said they will do likewise if Mr. Obama wins the nomination." (The Economist, April 26 - May 2, 2008)

If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, he absolutely must prevail in Pennsylvania -- the nation's sixth largest state -- if he hopes to win the election. But the exit polls in the recent primary show that the Illinois Senator is unlikely to win the Keystone State.

Consider the views of Catholic voters -- about one-third of registered Democrats -- in Pennsylvania. Of the ones who voted in the primary, six-out-of-10 say they'd vote for Obama in the general election. However, more than two-out-of-10 (21%) say they'll vote for John McCain.

Among white voters, almost one-in-six (16%) said that race had an influence on their vote. And of those, nearly one-in-twelve (8%-plus) said they would not vote for Obama in November. When Gov. Ed Rendell make a similar observation months ago, he was condemned as uttering racially insensitive comments. Insensitive? Perhaps. Correct? Absolutely.

In the Pennsylvania exit polls, many Democrats made reference to Obama's "bitter" comments (about people clinging to religion, guns, racism, and xenophobia). Some of those voters joked that they were much too "bitter" ever to vote for Obama. Others, according to The Economist, accused Obama of "clinging" to a religious figure (Rev. Jeremiah Wright) notable for hating America and white people.

Especially in Rust Belt States (including Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, and Michigan), Obama has a real problem attracting white voters. According to the Senator's campaign managers, that's because the the voters don't "know" him. But whose fault is that?

Many Caucasians are evaluating Obama on the principle that you know a man by the company he keeps. As long as that company includes Rev. Wright, terrorist William Ayers, and influence-buyer Tony Rezko, the electorate doesn't like what it sees.

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