Monday, February 18, 2008

Wisconsin Monday part 2

The latest polls out of Wisconsin show Obama with a lead, but neither is particularly trustworthy. One is by a local TV station, the other by Public Policy Polling, which shows Obama with a 13 point lead. Their polls were off by more than 8 points for Super Tuesday. Still, they polled over the weekend so it's at least recent information.

Reputedly the Obama campaign's own polling showed him ahead by 7 points as of Friday (also ahead by 5 in Hawaii) as of Friday. Hillary came into the state for two days of campaigning (Saturday and Monday) and made some additional ad buys.

But most other signs are positive. With lots of undecideds (at least as of Friday) there's always the problem of late deciders, and with Hillary in the state today and the phenomenon of day of voting deciders going for the name they know best, she could get a bump. Otherwise, the dimensions of the Obama effort are becoming clearer: his presence in the state since last Tuesday, money spent in media, etc. The ground game will be a crucial factor tomorrow. If that's up to snuff, it could be a big Obama night. Even though some in the media are lowering expectations for Hillary even more (Chris Matthews suggesting that if she comes within 7 points it's good for her), a 10 to 15 point victory would look very good, especially if the demographic breakdowns are good.

Al G. is analyzing district by district over at The Field, and he has Obama picking up delegates or being even in every district so far. He's planning to predict the delegate count tomorrow morning.

As you might see below in the comments section of "Wisconsin Monday" part one, Senate candidate in 2012 Ben Masel left a comment to say "I've since upgraded my sense of Obama's strength in smalltown and rural Wisconsin, so my range is now Obama by 6-8.[%]" He believes the youth vote in rural areas will make a big difference. Check out his specific predictions.

What to expect Tuesday: The weather forecast for Wisconsin is for cold and some snow. If turnout is huge, it has almost always been to Obama's benefit, but perhaps especially so tomorrow. But bear in mind what Ben Masel said: Wisconsin traditionally has high percentage turnout. What will tell, I presume, is higher numbers.

Tuesday night: first of all, don't expect returns from Hawaii. They're not likely until Wednesday. Polls close in Wisconsin at 8 pm their time. As much as I'd like another night like last Tuesday--when the TV anchors were literally timing their projection of Obama victory in Maryland to the second the polls were to close--I'm not expecting an early projection.

Obama will be in Texas Tuesday, for an event in San Antonio and a big rally in Houston, where I've "heard" at least two high-profile Latino entertainers will appear and endorse him. (He's already received some big local endorsements in Texas, and a huge one from the Mexican American Democrats, the oldest Latino party organization.) The Houston event begins before polls close in Wisconsin, so I'm not sure if we'll hear his victory speech from there. But it should be a very TV friendly event.

Already Obama is booming in Texas. A poll out today shows he's virtually tied with Hillary there now, which is a big swing even before he begins campaigning there. Judging from all I've heard, Texas could very well be Hillary's Waterloo regardless of what happens in Wisconsin tomorrow. If Obama wins Texas and comes close in Ohio on March 4, there will be a lot of pressure within the party for Hillary to cease her campaign. At this point, I don't think even a narrow win in Wisconsin will stop the Obama boom in Texas, but a big Obama victory in Wisconsin could result in faster movement in Ohio.

Obama held his last rally in Wisconsin at Beloit College (hey, I debated there once in college!) Monday night. According to a local TV station report, some people waited for six hours in the cold to get into the event. On, Wisconsin!

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