Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Expectations Game

There' still an hour and a half before polls close in Wisconsin, but the expectations game has begun. The Clinton people have reportedly pointed to exit polls signalling a big Obama victory, and told reporters they expect the networks to call it immediately. So of course reporters are wondering if they believe it's going to be closer than that, and they want to exceed the expectations they are creating.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press is framing expectations with this:

Wisconsin is almost the kind of state Hillary Rodham Clinton would have invented to win a Democratic presidential primary, brimming with whites and working class voters who usually support her. A poor performance there Tuesday would raise big questions about her candidacy.

So is this the writer's attempt to frame something dramatic, or are they reading exit polls and getting a jump on how the results will be framed tonight? Are they setting expectations?

As Wisconsin goes, so goes Ohio? Another of the expectations, pushed by the Obama campaign, I believe. In any case, the usually reliable SUSA has a poll in Ohio that shows Obama closing the gap: Hillary has a nine point lead, as opposed to a 17 point lead last week. SUSA also shows Hillary with only a five point lead in Texas.

More on Wisconsin expectations or at least framing the results: Because Hillary went negative, particulary with the first negative TV ads, and she loses big, it will be interpreted as a rebuke on negative campaigning (although she's engaged in it in other ways at least as far back as New Hampshire.) And Keith just asked the key question on this: "If negative campaigning did work, will we see more of it? And if it didn't work, will we see lots more of it?"

No comments: