Swing States and the VP Choice

I see, via Memeorandum, that Clinton-supporter Big Tent Democrat has a different take on the swing state polls than I have. While I think that such polls mean very little this far out, I would take Obama’s lead as a positive sign. Big Tent Democrat sees this as a negative sign because he believes his support in Florida and Ohio will continue to fall as he won’t pick Clinton as his running mate. At least  he does believe Obama will win the election due taking Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado.

The American Spectator finds some logic to his view:

Brilliant, and inarguably true. A large percentage of voters who now say they support Obama haven’t been paying close enough attention to notice the clear indications that he’s not even seriously considering Hillary as his running mate.

These voters quite naturally assume that, after such a close-fought contest, Hillary has earned the right to be on the ticket. They haven’t noticed Obama’s comments and furious vetting efforts that show he’s seeking an ABC (“Anyone But Clinton”) running mate, with most speculation centering on Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine. And when it is finally announced that Hillary won’t be on the ticket, it’s going to be a huge jolt, one that many will perceive as a purposeful insult to the former First Lady.

I’m not too concerned about the fall from the previous month since, as Nate Silver points out, the overall trend for Obama in these states has been positive. These numbers are going to continue to go up and down between now and November, and I won’t be concerned about small one month changes along the way.

It is certainly possible that Obama could lose both Ohio and Florida, but if so it won’t be because of his vice presidential choice. Most people vote based upon president, not the vice-presidential choice. The choice has far more downside risk from making a bad selection than the ability to help a candidate.

While many voters might not yet realize that Obama is not considering Clinton, those who care that much about whether Clinton is on the ticket certainly are paying attention. Despite the noise being made by the kooks in the PUMA movement, they represent only a small number of voters who are correctly being ignored by Democratic leaders and others as a handful of nuts who are out of touch with reality. Leaving Clinton off the ticket might lose the votes of a handful of such voters who are willing to risk returning to the age of shirt hanger abortions, but most Clinton voters will vote for Obama. Even before Clinton left the race, polls were showing that large numbers of people who had voted for Clinton in the early primary states preferred Obama after seeing how the race played out.

Even if he is risking the loss of some votes by choosing someone else, Clinton’s negatives would cost the ticket far more votes than she could pick up. The Republicans will bring up every scandal which Obama was not willing to bring up during the campaign. Choosing Clinton would alienate indepenents and Republicans considering Obama, giving McCain a huge boost. Most important of all, it was made quite clear by her conduct during the primaries that Hillary Clinton is unfit to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

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  1. 1
    Christopher says:

    I think the importance of both Ohio and Florida to an Obama general election victory — at least in the minds of several of the eastcoast media elites, is vastly overrated.

    Obama’s southern and western strategies would have him easily with enough Electoral College votes to defeat Old Mr. Morton and become president.

    The same with Pennsylvania, although don’t tell Chris Mathews who still labors under the mistaken belief that every presidential is centered in Pennsylvania.

    About the PUMA lunatics. I’ve been following politics for 20-some years now and I thought I had seen and heard just about everything but the fractured logic and just plain peculiar organization of reality by these people, is beyond belief.

    As an Obama supporter who has spoken out more than a few times using my blog against the selection of Hillary Clinton as Obama’s vice president, you can’t imagine some of the hateful email I receive.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Of course I can imagine the hateful email. I probably receive much of the same.

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