Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why Hillary Won

That's the big question today, as all the polling leading up to yesterday's vote indicated that Barack Obama would win New Hampshire.

Here are my theories:

1. New Hampshire is essentially a conservative state. Hillary is the more conservative of the two candidates.

2. Independents listened to the pre-vote polls and went for McCain, reasoning that Obama already had it locked up.

3. Women were PISSED at how Hillary got treated, both by the media and by the other candidates.

- The Heathers on the bus incident. Hillary took coffee & bagels to the reporters covering her in Iowa and was greeted with stony silence (and contempt, really) by that adolescent-acting group.

- Chris (Heather) Matthews berating her at a campaign event, then pinching her cheek. Ewww. Rachel Maddow told him to his face on MSNBC last night that in the eyes of some that turned the voters to Hillary.

- In the Saturday night debate, Charlie (Heather) Gibson asked her why voters found her less likeable than Obama. She replied "That hurts my feelings, but I'll try to go on" and Obama without looking up from his notes said "You're likeable enough, Hillary." Ouch.

- She choked up while talking the day before the vote, and when the media went to John Edwards for a response he said this:

John Edwards was asked in Lakeport about reports that Hillary had teared up.

“I really don’t have anything to say about that,” he said. “I think what we need in a commander in chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are a tough business, but being president of the United States is also a very tough business. And the president of the United States is faced with very very difficult challenges every single day, difficult judgments every single day. What I know is that I’m prepared for that, and I’m in this fight for the middle class, for the future of this country, for the long haul.”

- I received this Katha Pollit post on the Nation blog and this Gloria Steinem article from the New York Times in email on the day of the primary, both being circulated to groups of professional women. Hillary won women by double digits; they (we) were pissed. She's not my candidate, and I hated the way she got treated.

4. Hillary turned women voters in her favor over these incidents. Even if Obama had similarly "turned" the minority vote, it would have had negligible impact on the vote, as New Hampshire is 96.1% white (pdf file). He had no voting bloc to turn.

5. Obama lost his voice -- literally, he was having trouble speaking -- during the last three days of the campaign. His speeches, croaked, were no longer as inspiring.

6. Nothing changed. The results were the same as they would have been before Iowa; it's just that the media lost their collective mind in the ensuing five days and predicted a big jump in Obama support that just wasn't there.

7. The Bradley (also known as Wilder) effect; voters telling pollsters they would vote for a black candidate, then not doing it.

Those are my theories. Any to add?

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