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Florida Confirms Obama Weaknesses

Barack Obama's performance in yesterday's Florida primary confirms the weaknesses shown in his South Carolina win, demonstrating that his support among non-black voters has fallen considerably as compared to his performance in Iowa.

There's a big difference at work here in the primary races going forward. Obama spent 8 long months on the ground in Iowa winning over the Iowa electorate, and what we see in Florida (where he did not campaign) among non-black voters is not much different from his performance among non-white voters in South Carolina, where he campaigned extensively.

We can expect Obama to pull well in the remaining states which have a high percentage of black voters, but with so little time left before next Tuesday's (that's right NEXT Tuesday's) multi-state primary, he will need to pitch a strong appeal to John Edwards' supporters and the remaining undecideds or soft-support votes in order to have a good showing in next Tuesday's primaries.

Next Tuesday's races in all likelihood won't decide who the next nominee is, but it will define the degree of difficulty Tuesday's loser will have to face in overcoming whatever lead develops.I firmly believe Obama will be there at the convention as a viable alternative, but at this point I'd have to guess that Clinton will walk into the convention with the most delegates.

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Comments (4)

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, the unique variable that you may not be weighing enough in Florida is the age variable. According to NBC exit polls Obama held his own with voters under 50, roughly a tie- less than a percentage point either way, but was soundly beaten by those over 50 particularly 65 or over. The last thing this demographic in Florida wants is a candidate for change, and especially one with Obama 's profile.

Lee Ward:

The age you're referring to is 44 not 50, Steve.

So you're saying as long as no one over age 44 votes then Obama has chance? uhhh, cool!

Actually - you're wrong -- or at least, you're comparing apples and oranges. My reference to Obama's declining performance is among non-black voters. You looked at all voters the same group I looked at but you added in black voters (to get to all voters).

Looking at your exit poll, which is the same data as the CNN exit poll I used, Obama lost the non-black vote in ALL age groups big time.

non-black voters 18-29 years old
Clinton 47% Obama 36%

non-black voters 30-44 years old
Clinton 49% Obama 29%

non-black voters 45-59 years old
Clinton 49% Obama 25%

non-black voters 60+ years old
Clinton 62% Obama 19%

Florida confirmed the South Carolina findings, that Obama can't even come close to Clinton except in those states where the black votes is huge - Like South Carolina.

Maybe that will change somewhat with Edwards out of the race.

What this confirms is that presently, based on South Carolina and Florida, Obama doesn't have a chance in states where there isn't a sizeable bloc of black voters.

In the Florida primary 19% of the voters were black, and Obama was creamed.

Only in South Carolina, where the black voters numbered 53%, did Obama do well, and only because of the black vote.

This is a huge change from his Iowa win.

His trend among non-white voters has dropped dramatically since Iowa, where he spent 8 months on the ground making speeches and shaking hands.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee, I still think South Carolina and Florida non-black voters were too atypical to read as much as you are into this, but it is the present national trend that is important and the big states

Encouraging news(Wed) for Obama in California, which is supposed to be a very representative state from Rasmussen Reports (naturally) California: Clinton 43% Obama 40%, Rdwards 9%

"Obama held a three-point lead among white voters in the state California while Clinton had a twenty-seven point lead among Hispanic voters."

It is still uphill for Obama particularly to win over Latinos, many of whom may already have sent in their ballots without hearing Obama.

Lee Ward:

I think Florida is more typical of the rest of the nation than California, but the wild card is John Edwards, and if the throws his support behind Obama on Sunday (that's my guess as to what he'll do a when he'll do it) it will make a big difference for Obama, and make the race closer.

With Edwards' supporting Obama, I think his vote supporters will split 65% for Obama and 35% Clinton, which will make things very, very close, and we'll go into the convention with no clear cut mandate on either candidate.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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