Monday, January 7, 2008

Barack's Blooming Bandwagon

Momentum is on Barack Obama's side in New Hampshire. What started about a month ago as a Hilliary Clinton two-to-one lead leveled at 33% each before the weekend. After the debates, Barack Obama surged to 39% versus Hillary's 29%. By Monday, Barack has increased his lead to 41%, with Hillary remaining pegged at 29%. It is safe to say that Barack Obama will take New Hampshire with plenty to spare as he did in Iowa. Hillary Clinton's campaign will be steamrolled by the Barack Bandwagon that looks fired up and unstoppable at this time.

Hoping to replicate Bill Clinton's 1992 resurgence from a poor initial showing, Hillary has acknowledged her team's inadequacy in reaching out to younger voters, and are taking efforts at correcting this. But with only four days between primaries, its doubtful if it can provide a push. Besides, the circumstances are totally different. Last December 45% believed Hillary was electable. Today, Obama beats her 42% to 31%. With deep roots, nationwide organization, and lots of money, the hoped for comeback is what the Clinton camp draws from. The challenge posed by Obama will test the mettle of Clinton's survivability. A decisive Obama victory on Tuesday will send the Clinton team in full retreat; which will reveal their ability, and perhaps endurance, to mount an effective counter attack.

Barack's success is in his seeming effortless ability to excite, inspire, and eventually mobilize the younger voters. His message of hope has been embraced by the youth who have grown tired of the cynical, skeptical, combative, partisan, politics of wheeling and dealing, characteristic of Washington methods for most of their lives. They especially adhere to the "respectful tone"of the approach, having lived through ugly campaigns; and are ennobled by the practice of "defying the conventional campaign" by attacking opponents swiftly and tellingly, sticking to a moral high ground instead; and by appealing to the broadest - rather than the narrowest - base of supporters.

Young people, in their 20's and below, come in droves to campaign for Obama. The energy and creative enthusiasm has produced a remarkable grassroots machinery based on first time caucus goers, about to vote 17 year-olds, use of their superior knowledge of the internet to reach other younger voters and issuing a novel "online tickets" for rallies, and other tactics that increased new voter turnout by about 80,000. This led to Barack's spurt in the youth votes, first timer votes, as well as the women votes since most of their contacts were females. The core of their strategy is not only to get the contact to vote, but to campaign and/or volunteer for the Obama Camp.

The only way Hillary could win in New Hampshire is to win the independent voters (40% of the caucus goers). While most independents say they would vote for the GOP rather than the Democrats, whoever changes their mind about this decision will get their vote. Obama's army of young warriors are hard at work on it. The odds favor Barack Obama even among independents.

At this stage, Hillary should start regrouping and not expect a victory in New Hampshire. At best she will be a far second. She should start work on supporters of John Edwards if there are any left, to narrow the gap in New Hampshire and hopefully lead in the next state. How she will mount a comeback after a second loss remains to be seen, but Barack Obama's digital machinery moves and grows in milliseconds; and his blooming support on the ground grows exponentially by the day.

As the images in Iowa clearly revealed, Obama's crowd oozed with energy and the fiery determination of an emerging wave of hope. In contrast, the Clinton crowd looked haggard, tired, worn out, and, at a loss for ideas. It reminded one of a home for the aged.



ZenDenizen said...

Nice re-cap, I'm looking forward to reading your coverage of NH.

durano lawayan a.k.a. brad spit said...

Thanks Zendenizen, but I got kicked in the teeth by proclaiming that Obama would win in New Hampshire. The fact that all pollsters, political pundits, and bloggers cum commentators like myself are in the same boat is small comfort. People are truly dynamic and unpredictable, all we see are patterns and this may change in an instant via a single event or incident.

I was expecting a 3 to 5 percentage point lead for Obama. I guess voters in New Hampshire were moved by the tears that I thought had all but dried up. For one brief moment, a lot of people saw she is human after all. I believe that's a good sign. I just hope it was sincere. --Durano, done!