Quite a while before the Indiana and North Carolina Primaries, TheZoo has published two posts on why Hillary Clinton’s campaign has failed:
This is the final instalment and will look at inevitability and the hubris of her campaign. A campaign, that was hers to lose from the beginning:
If you look at the polls of 2006/2007 asking who would win the Democratic nomination you will see Hillary Clinton prospective winner on all and mostly with sizeable margins up to 31%. Her margins are higher, when registered Democrats are the sample, but even if likely voters are asked, Hillary has a comfortable lead. (I will pick up the gap between likely voters and registered voters a little later, because it is important to consider Barack Obama’s chances for winning the general election. The electability revolves around this issue.)
Then came Iowa and the incredible third place. We know the rest. Since then, in the majority of the polls Obama leads Clinton or is tied.
The Clinton campaign, however, refused to see the real challenge. They kept relying on a formidable war chest, name recognition, the Clinton nostalgia and her superior experience. Then came Super Tuesday and with it – no decision. Obama’s lead held. After that, the campaign changed its tune, but not its strategy. They looked on as Barack Obama claimed victory after victory and delegate after delegate, claiming the swing states were deciding the race and waited for Texas and Ohio to vote. Ohio was a clear victory for Clinton, who then started to position herself as the blue collar advocate, but Texas, though still called a victory for Clinton by the media, was not even a tie. The mixed primary/caucus system netted 4 delegates for Hillary Clinton in the primaries and 9 delegates for Barack Obama in the caucuses.Just do the math.
In addition to adding delegates and popular vote, Obama managed to collect an unforeseen amount of money for his campaign. When Hillary Clinton’s donors maxed out for the primaries, the Obama campaign was just warming up. They go about funding the same way as about voting. That’s why the polling samples mentioned above have to be adjusted. The Obama campaign is not about likely voters/donors or registered voters/donors that are already there. The campaign is about who could be an additional likely voter and donor today and in the future. These voters do not fall into the categories already there, because the voters are not already there and when they will be, they’ll be there on behalf of Barack Obama. Here is where Hillary Clinton’s arguments about electability fall short. She is looking at the wrong samples and at the wrong race, because she won’t be in it. Without her in the picture, the demographics will shift.
According to the Huffington Post Barack Obama has 1 million donors and 1 million volunteers. This is what Hillary Clinton’s campaign managers and advisors and many political pundits overlooked and keep overlooking. The campaign of Barack Obama doesn’t rely on the usual demographics of who voted for whom and why. His campaign adds to that point of view the question: “Who didn’t vote last time and how do we bring them out?” Senator Obama’s campaign has the characteristics of a movement. In 2004 some 120 million Americans went to the ballots. If Obama’s volunteers swing an average of 10 voters each for Obama, if even more people can be persuaded to register to vote and campaign, Obama will be your next President. Not by a landslide, but he will win.
The Clinton campaign relied on what used to be a formidable political machinery, but compared to Barack Obama’s it has all the aspects of a steam engine compared to a modern hybrid car. Hopelessly outdated.