28 Apr

Hillary’s Pennsylvania win and exit polls

Hillary won Pennsylvania last week by nearly 10 points and with a record 2.3 million Democratic voter turnout. While it was enough to come within striking distance on the national popular vote totals, it brought just a 10 delegate bump and renewed speculation about how the Democratic nominee will be chosen.

Exit polling from Pennsylvania does nothing to change concern for how many Hillary or Obama supporters will back McCain in November. From the CNN Political Ticker blog:

Only 50 percent of Clinton voters in Pennsylvania said they would support Obama if he is the nominee. Twenty-six percent said they would back McCain over Obama, and 19 percent said they would not vote at all.

Among Obama’s Pennsylvania voters, 67 percent said they would support Clinton if she is the party’s nomine. Seventeen percent said they would back McCain instead, and 12 percent said they would stay home.”

And at Politico:

Exit polls revealed another reason for Democrats to worry: They suggested that Obama would only hold the support of 72 percent of the core Democratic voters who participated in the Pennsylvania primary. Clinton, the poll suggested, would hold just 80 percent.

I first touched on this issue back in early March. There is a very real risk of not just discouraging Democratic turnout in November, but of alienating the most passionate voters we have this year. By stressing a combined Democratic ticket, we can focus on our shared values and keep as many Democrats as possible involved in the general election.

18 Apr

Targeted contributions

I’ve written before about how contributions from everyday Americans are powering the Democratic campaigns. Hillary’s campaign recently launched a new donation page that takes this one step further by letting supporters choose exactly where their money will go: from television ads to radio airtime to yard signs and more.

This does two positive things for our democratic process. It continues to put the voter in control of campaigns and where money is spent, while at the same time educating us on how expensive markets like television are. For the 5 segments that the Hillary Clinton campaign breaks donations into, over 50% is for television alone.

17 Apr

Pennsylvania debate

Reaction to the Democratic debate last night was mixed. According to most reports, Hillary had the strongest showing, but supporters on both sides criticized the lack of substance in the first half of the debate. If the prolonged primary season is a good opportunity to raise awareness of Democratic issues critical to winning in November, last night was a missed opportunity due to the focus by moderators on the latest Wright or Bosnia “controversy”.

The good news is that most of the differences between the candidates were pointed out respectfully, with an overall positive tone that was missing from the last debate in Texas over a month ago.

When asked about a joint ticket, the candidates were momentarily speechless. Afterwards Obama reiterated that it was “premature”, and both candidates pledged to unite behind the nominee. Hillary continued:

I think it’s absolutely imperative that our entire party close ranks, that we become unified. I will do everything I can do make sure the people who supported me, support our nominee. I will go anywhere in the country to make the case. And I know that Barack feels the same way.

You can watch video for most of the debate online at ABCNews.com.