US presidential primaries: week off edition

We’re now half way through a quiet period in the presidential primaries calendar, which will end with the last major contests in Texas and Ohio next Tuesday. The graphs below show Democratic opinion polling over the past two weeks, bearing in mind that there are almost as many pollsters represented here as polls. The pollsters only record responses from “likely” Democratic voters, which makes it hard for them to get what would strike Australian observers as an impressive sample size: the range was 564 to 902 in Ohio, and 403 to 660 in Texas. Figures sourced from Real Clear Politics.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

742 thoughts on “US presidential primaries: week off edition”

  1. “The Audacity of Hopelessness

    WHEN people one day look back at the remarkable implosion of the Hillary Clinton campaign, they may notice that it both began and ended in the long dark shadow of Iraq.

    It’s not just that her candidacy’s central premise — the priceless value of “experience” — was fatally poisoned from the start by her still ill-explained vote to authorize the fiasco. Senator Clinton then compounded that 2002 misjudgment by pursuing a 2008 campaign strategy that uncannily mimicked the disastrous Bush Iraq war plan. After promising a cakewalk to the nomination — “It will be me,” Mrs. Clinton told Katie Couric in November — she was routed by an insurgency.”

    Gmork(the power behind the Nothing) to Atreyou(a kid) at climax of The Never Ending Story;

    “…………..because when the people have no hopes and dreams they are easier to control.”

  2. Noticed this little nugget on CNN

    That’s just the sort of scandal that could cost McCain valuable votes.

    Essentially, from what I infer the US has State funding of Presidential bids, but if you accept the state funding you are bound by certain, mainly maximum spends.

    McCain, when doing poorly, signed up for the Federal funding but has not taken any of the money.

    However, he used the fact that he was “owed” several million as collateral for a loan.

    Now, with his campaign recovering he wishes to no longer be part of the matched funding program.

    However, if he’s already used the money as collateral, it might be too late.

    He has now spent more than the maximum allowed (in all probablility).

    Don’t know how it will play out, but a campaign finacne scandal will be VERY damaging for the campaign fiannce reformer McCain…

  3. Ralph Nader has decided to run again. The Democrats are gnashing their teeth – they still claim (probably quite correctly) he cost Gore in 2000.

  4. Big difference though – Dean did not use his cheque as collateral for a loan.

    Dean was allowed to opt out because he hadn’t taken any money.

    McCain HAS taken the money, because he structured the loan assuming he would receive it. He cannot simply “opt out”.

    At the moment the attacker is Dean – but if it’s Obama in a couple of weeks time who is (for the moment at least) angelic on campaign funding it will be a different discussion.

  5. In what could well be a close contest Nader’s involvement may again be decisive. What on earth is he hoping to achieve – other than self-promotion?

  6. No suprises there Dio. Most were expecting Nader to raise his nose above the manure pile again.

    Back in 2000, Nader managed 2.7% of the vote. In 2004 it was down to 0.38%. As I said above, in a tight contest he may still make a difference – but the people are wise to his novelty value now and, in reality, his figure is likely to be similar to, or probably less than his 2004 result.

    So, on reflection it would have to be neck-and-neck for Nader to count at all. Very unlikely.

  7. Holy jesus I come back after a few days and the blogs turned into every other drama bomb on the web!

    And Nader would only be an impact on a CLinton 50+1 strategy campaign. Against an Obama nomination which actually invigorates the base his impact will be negligible.
    Having said that, if he were to drop dead, few on the left would mourn.

  8. 13 erytnicam- I think you are right. If Obama stays on the progressive side, Nader won’t bleed too many votes from him but certainly won’t help. If Billary runs against Macca from the centre, there’s oodles of room for Nader to guarantee another Repug POTUS. Thankfully, this time it would be Macca rather than Bush.

    What really pis#es me off is that I agree with Nader on most things but he is going to have the exact opposite effect to what he’s trying to achieve. His Kantian “categorical imperative” philosophy really sucks! McCain must be laughing now.

  9. 9

    yep, and may I suggest we do some crash dummy testing on the dummy, and just for poetic irony, we it sans seatbelt?

    But in all seriousness, I think this guy is going to look even more ‘out there’ than Ron Paul, and probably get one tenth of even his vote.

    His was a bastard-act first time around, but by now his following will have hopefully moved on (pun intended).

  10. davidoff @ 2,

    Your long winded self justification of your behaviour fails miserably.

    The person your comments were directed against is ESJ and that is to whom you owe an apology. Since you comprehensively eschew this option with your last sentence, then your post is nothing but meaningless guff.

    Your wilful disobeying of William’s directives and childish whingeing throughout the sorry episode paint you as nothing more than a snotty nosed smart arsed bogan.

    I am surprised that William has lifted his ban.

  11. 14

    I’m still not convinced that McCain would be ‘better’ than Bush. He’s pro the imperial reign, seems to think bombs beat diplomacy, and on his own admittance, is not really across the economy. SHow me where he differs from Bush? LOL

    Add to that his well known temper, his delight in going it alone, and his serious ‘lapses’ of ethical behaviour (covering for your wife’s business partner over some serious financial malfeasance) and I think he’s a dangerous cocktail. Of course he covers it well, but look how many Republicans (and I don’t just mean the religious nutters) distrust him immensely.

    For a guy who saw America’s blundering humiliation in Vietnam, he doesn’t seem to have learned the important messages.

  12. 14- Nader no longer believes in anything except nader. I think Obama put it best when he said something along the lines of “Nader thinks only Nader is tough enough” and said he was a little full of himself.
    I suppose in the same way the pacific ocean is a little full of water?

  13. 18


    There’s some classic vitriol on that blog! LOL

    Dio, here’s one for you:

    Nader makes me want to embrace religion, so that I can believe that he’ll spend an eternity suffering in an unspeakable manner.

    .. the rest are pretty much along the same lines. (What else??)

  14. steve- That site is an absolute belter. And I thought Billary was divisive! It’s a great example of the pragmatism vs idealism debate.

    Someone reminded them of the reason Nader is hated so much. The votes in Florida 2000 were:
    Bush 2,911,872
    Gore 2,910,942
    Nader 97,419

    It makes me feel ill just to post that but I feel I have to.

    KR- Despite all his flaws, Macca at least has some integrity, is unlikely to lie continually, and isn’t a zombie resurrected to achieve neo-con goals. The fact that the neo-cons like Rush and Coulter hate him so much gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling! I cannot understand his love of war given his experiences though.

  15. Ralph Nader – as I said before expect the unexpected. Watch this space, more to come.

    As far as davidoff thingo, boring, boring, boring and boring. WGAF.

  16. Clinton is poised to take Texas and Ohio and then with Pennsylvania coming up she’ll have the mo to take that State too. Looks like it will come down to the Convention for the Democrats while the Republicans can spend the whole of their Convention lauding the heroics of Sen. McCain….

    Why dont the Democrats just pay Nader off??
    Im not complaining just another reason why McCain has got a great chance of victory come November.

  17. Glen- I seriously think if Billary is the candidate that Nader will take enough votes from her to ensure Macca is the next POTUS. Even if he only gets 1%, given the winner-takes-all nature, that’s enough to tip two of the ten “purple states”. And if he got 2% of the “Hate Billary” crowd, it’s more like four.

    What we Dem supporters need now is a renegade neocon like Rush to run to balance things up. Bloomberg might join in and make it a free-for-all as well.

  18. You really shouldn’t blame Nader for Gore losing an almost unlosable election. It should never have been close enough to matter.

  19. Im just saying look at Florida in 2000, you never know what kind of an impact Nader would have but it certainly wont take votes away from the Republicans.

    Hillbilly is the establishment candidate for Democrats and if she loses, many moderate Democrats may rather Macca to BHO in my opinion. Thus they’d run the risk of losing purple States by going with an inexperienced candidate. The cut throat nature of the Democrat Convention will take its toll whilst the Republicans rally behind McCain.

  20. I wonder if Nader’s announcement is tactical support for Obama. The youth and activists who have previously vote for Nader will vote for Obama if he is the candidate. Nader will be completely marginalised. However, if Hillary were to get the nod in any contentious circumstances, Nader would get a couple of percent of the mobilised Obama support that won’t bring itself into camp Clinton. In this sense, Nader has thrown quite a barb Clinton’s way.

  21. KR- I also think Macca has a better grasp of history and foreign affairs than Bush.
    “For a century and a half now, America and Japan have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times.”-Tokyo, Japan; Feb 18, 2002.

    What’s a couple of atom bombs, Pearl Harbour and WWII between friends!

  22. Thank you GG, a most welcome injection of brevity and common sense. The ban has not been lifted. A shame, because I do accept that ESJ isn’t worth all this (I say this entirely on account of his behaviour towards Jen and not because of his generally robust debating style, which to anyone without ideological blinkers on is little different from KR’s). No further correspondence will be entered into.

  23. People blaming Nader for Gore’s lost are missing a turism in American politics, if the Candidate or his VP candidate don’t carry their home state they don’t win the White House.

  24. #29 – “I wonder if Nader’s announcement is tactical support for Obama”. To paraphrase #30: ““For a century and a half now, Nader and Obama have formed one of the great and enduring alliances of modern times.”

    I think you dreamers are getting just a tat nervous now with the Nader wildcard. More to come. Told you this is more exciting than the dead men walking of GOP. Bring it on.

  25. #36 – Is this more evil?

    This is as good as it will get for us politico tragic.

    Hillary is F*** because of hubby wildman Bill; McCain is f**** because of wildlady Iseman; Obama is f**** because of wildman Ralph’ and Nader is f**** because of, oh well he’s always been f**** anyway, ask Gore.

    Solution, changed the US Constitution to allow GWB for another term. At least we got someone to hate.

  26. 34

    And to think, they voted for this clown, twice!

    No wonder Obama gets such a following, imagine having that as your ‘decider’ for two terms.

    As for re-writing history, it’s no worse than his non-existant ‘war service’, his alcoholism and coke snorting really. Without daddy’s connections this clod would never have even made it to mayor. I get the feeling that there’s a lot of ‘anti-dynastic’ sentiment on the back of this guy’s record, and you can hardly blame them.

  27. KR- Funny thing is I quite liked his dad. I think he was pretty decent.

    Finns- I noted in the VP odds that George W is 1000/1 to be Macca’s VP and that Bill C was about 66/1. It seems that President’s are allowed to become VPs after they finish as POTUS. Does anyone know if this is true and if so if it’s ever happened?

  28. Nader on Obama:

    “I invite [Senator Obama] to join me in a cooperative effort to put back on the table the necessities of the American people that he Clinton, and McCain have yanked off the table.

    Instead, he resorts to name calling – labeling me a perennial candidate.

    Well, Senator Obama, perennial injustices deserve perennial candidates who fight them.”

    See ‘Nader for President’ website at:

  29. #30 Diog – It is century and a half. Ever since Admiral Perry, with his black ship, got stuck into the loophole of Madam Chocho San aka Madam Butterfly in 1853.

    BTW: The Russians got it right, President then to PM, From Russia with Love forever.

  30. Hi william
    nice stats

    USED to be great site with a nice diversity

    now populated by a bunch of onanists in general,who unfortunately have reduced this site to mutual masturbation of egos

    tis sad william that it has come to this

    please retire GUSFACE from this site as i do not want future posts erroneously quoted.

    look forward to real debate elsewhere


  31. The Finnegans, Nader’s run is absolutely no threat to Obama or his supporters. Particularly not in the context of a Democratic nomination process. If anything, it makes his path easier.

    While Democratic politics is generally more interesting than Republican (and particularly in a Clinton v Obama/McCain v Huckster equation), the race to which you are referring still remains over.

  32. As for the “necessities of the American people” that Obama, Clinton and McCain have ‘yanked off the table” (see #40 above) here they are. Behold Nader’s policy platform:

    “Adopt single payer national health insurance

    Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget

    No to nuclear power, solar energy first On the table Off the table Off the table

    Aggressive crackdown on corporate crime and corporate welfare

    Open up the Presidential debates

    Adopt a carbon pollution tax

    Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East
    Impeach Bush/Cheney

    Repeal the Taft-Hartley anti-union law

    Adopt a Wall Street securities speculation tax

    Put an end to ballot access obstructionism

    Work to end corporate personhood”

  33. I would love to see some betting odds on ‘will the Democratic race be decided at the convention?’

    I would think that the odds would be in line with $1.10 for no.

    It isn’t going to happen. The superdelegates will kill it off if it isn’t over by April, there isn’t a second choice here. McCain will have months and months of time to mobilise the base, and look very presidential. While he’s doing that, he will be slowly leeching off Obama’s independents, to strengthen his position. And now that Nader is in, the press has yet another guinea pig berating that the Democrats are not suitable to lead – this time from the Left.

    Anybody like to offer me better odds than that?\

    As for Nader’s candidacy, I agree that he would hurt Clinton a lot, lot more than he would hurt Obama. Of course, until we see state by state polling, it’s impossible to judge just how much of an impact he will have. I think this election will ultimately be about the new, about the future. A five time presidential candidate isn’t going to have much luck getting votes from that. He has nothing new to say.

    Bloomberg would have been a different kettle of fish entirely mind you.

  34. On Nader’s reasons for running again:

    Nader said people are feeling “locked out, shut out, marginalized and disrespected.”

    “You go from Iraq, to Palestine to Israel, from Enron to Wall Street, from Katrina to the bumbling of the Bush administration, to the complicity of the Democrats in not stopping him on the war, stopping him on the tax cuts (for the wealthy).”

    “In that context, I have decided to run for president,” Nader told Russert.

    Nader called Obama “the first liberal evangelist in a long time.”

    But Nader said that Obama is censoring his better instincts.

    “Senator Obama’s record has not been a challenging one,” Nader said. “He’s not been a Senator Wellstone or Senator Abourezk or Senator Metzenbaum by any means. He has leaned, if anything, more toward the pro-corporate side of policymaking. The issue is – do they have the moral courage? Do they have the fortitude to stand up against the corporate powers and get things done? Yes, get things done for the American people?”

  35. KR – Wacky indeed! Though watching him impeach Bush and Cheney would be worth a few bowls of popcorn.

    And I’m not sure what it means to ‘end corporate personhood”

    Maybe we should call him the TermiNader

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