Obama’s results are on the horizontal dimension and Clinton’s are on the vertical. A point in the positive area means that the actual primary vote for the candidate exceeded the final poll average, as reported at Pollster.com.
Most state results appear in the upper right, as we would expect, because polls include an undecided (or third-candidate support, in earlier contests) that splits between the two main candidates in the final vote.
The most striking results are those in the lower right. There are six states in which Clinton’s final vote was less than her polling average, while Obama’s was greater. These include three of the states where Obama exceeded his poll average by more than ten points: Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia.
On the other hand, there are only two states in which Obama came in under his poll average, and in neither case by even two points: New Hampshire and Illinois. You already know the New Hampshire story–also the state where Clinton most exceeded her final poll average1 –and Obama’s mere 64.6% in his home state as opposed to his 66% polling average presumably does not mean much.
Interestingly, even in much-touted Clinton victories like Tennessee and Oklahoma, Obama did better relative to the final polling trend than Clinton did. In fact, the same can be said about New York!
For whatever it might be worth, as of today, the polling trends in the two big(ish) states2 that vote on 4 March show the following (which I will update on the 29th and maybe on 2 March and voting day before results are known):
Clinton —- 49.8 49.5 49.4
Obama —- 42.4 43.4 43.6
(My 28 Feb. error for Ohio has now been deleted. Updated again on 3 March. New batch of polls may suggest Obama’s momentum in Texas has peaked.
Clinton’s lead in Texas vanished days ago, as the trend line in recent days shows her now dropping even more steeply than Obama had been gaining since the start of the year. In Ohio, the gap has been narrowing significantly recently. Clinton is going to need at least one of these states to turn out more like New Hampshire or California than like so many other states, or she is in real trouble.3
I included only primaries, not caucuses, and if a primary is not included in the graph, it is because there were not enough polls available to have a meaningful average trend.
I should also note that the Pollster.com crew, to their credit, have posted some caveats about the aggregated-average methodology. (I did not find that post on a quick search.)
Gonzalez is just the sort of political figure I would like to see the Green Party build on: Someone with actual prior electoral experience. That he had that experience while an affiliated Green is even more a plus. However, given that Nader is running as an independent and not as a Green, I wonder if this could be a bridge-burning move for Gonzalez with the Green Party. I hope not.1
Regarding Green candidates for prominent office with a record of electoral experience, the first Green I can recall voting for was Dan Hamburg for California Governor, in 1998. Hamburg previously had been a Democratic member of Congress from a closely divided district on the state’s north coast. His journey seems subsequently to have taken him rather far from politics, Green or otherwise.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney is an announced Green presidential pre-candidate. For various reasons I have doubts about her being any more serious about party-building–or any more likely to be effective at it–than Nader is at this point,2 but that is a topic for another day.
One can debate whether the Green Party should run a presidential candidate,3 but despite his being on the ballot as a pre-candidate in the 5 February Green primary in California,4 Nader is not actually part of that debate as far as I can tell. I could certainly see a basis for a Greens for Obama push, though I do not think it should be unconditional.5
In other third-party/independent news, Michael Bloomberg says he’s not running.
Too busy to say as much as I would like to say about Ralph Nader’s announcement that he will run for President in 2008. Eventually, I hope to get around to it. For now, just links to two posts with which I heartily agree, followed by some quick comments:
I took Nader seriously in 2000, not because I thought that he had a chance to win, but because he was engaged in real party building. And I am not one who is concerned about whether Nader siphons votes one way or another. Indeed, my basic position is that people should vote for whom they please, if that vote is their sincere democratic expression. Now, there are issues that can be said about strategic choices, but I do not think that one has any other moral obligation when voting aside from utilizing it as a means of democratic participation.
Ralph has decided to run again, and heâ€™s getting a beating for it. The argument goes like this: Green-leaning candidates “take” votes away from Democrats. This particular election is so critical that “we” canâ€™t afford to lose. Nader therefore should do the “right” thing and withdraw.
I want to make the case for Naderâ€™s candidacy. This is not an endorsement of the man or his program. His decision to run urges consideration of structural â€˜democracy problemsâ€™ in America. 2008 may be more critical than 2004, 2000, 1932, 1896 or even 1796, but that doesnâ€™t mean we should ignore our democracy problems. Run-of-the-mill condemnation of Nader reflects a choice to do just that.
…To blame Nader is to shoot the messenger. The conversation should be about lasting solutions. Browbeating Greens to depress their turnout, if doable at all, is not a lasting solution.1
As I have said here before, I was genuinely excited to vote, now almost a month ago, for Barack Obama in the first “meaningful” presidential primary election that I can recall ever participating in. But, having jumped on the bandwagon, I expect to have to hang on tight or else be tossed off by some hard lurches to the right in the months to come. And I am a dues-paying Green Party member. None of that should provide any clues as to how I might vote in November,2 as I genuinely do not know. But I certainly do not believe the Democrats own my vote just because they have better (to me) policies and are better at governing than Republicans.3 Nor would a potential vote for a third-party or independent presidential candidate be my way of saying “there’s not a dime’s worth of difference” between the two big parties. These standard narratives of voting decisions are caricatures, and the sooner we recognize that, the greater the chance of having a meaningful debate about the future of democracy in America and about policies that actually work for Americans, and for those on the other end of America’s formidable power abroad.
___________ Update: jackms, in his other persona as Jack (a frequent propagator here) also posted the DK entry at TDP, where there is a discussion ongoing in the comments.
By the way, jackms was banned from DailyKos, which tells you about all you need to know about the “Democratic” netrooots. But it is unsurprising, and typical. After all, Ron Paul supporters were banned from Red State some time ago. (And I should add that jackms is explicitly not endorsing Nader, but rather making the case for candidacies outside the two-party mainstream–much as Steven does.) [↩]
Actually, it might, inasmuch as it is not yet clear whether Nader wants to run as a Green, or if the party even wants him. There was a bit of a dust-up on that front in 2004, when he ran a very different campaign from that of 2000. [↩]
Nor do Greens “own” my vote just because I invested modestly in the better future I could envision if the Green Party USA could be built into a significant political force. [↩]
See, Pinochet was right. Democracy leads to Communism.
The newly elected president of Cyprus, Dimitris Christofias, is from the Progressive Party of the Working People. I happened to notice at Adam Carr’s report of the results a note to the effect that the winner’s party is “in fact a Communist party.” Click on the party’s website and you will see that it evidently is.
So, earlier I suggested two ways in which this election was rare, if not unprecedented,1 and now I have another question for the visitors:
Is there another case of a Communist being elected president of a democratic country? By an absolute majority of the votes cast?2
Meanwhile, the Progressive Party of the Working People has 18 of 56 seats in the country’s legislature, elected in May, 2006. It won that on 31.1% of the vote, or only about two percentage points less than what Christofias won in the first round of this month’s presidential election. In that election, the party of the now-defeated incumbent also won 18 seats (on 30.3% of votes), while the party of the candidate Christofias has just defeated in the runoff had just 11 seats (on 17.9%, which he personally nearly doubled as a presidential candidate in the first round).
This should be entered into the annals as one of the classic cases of a president (as well as his defeated runoff opponent) building a quite different electoral coalition from that of his party.
Three candidates with almost equal vote shares in the first round; an incumbent president placing third. [↩]
Thanks to the very good work of Steven, things are mostly back to normal here now.
I have transplanted almost everything from the temporary site over here to the main orchard. I have brought over some, but not all, of the comments. If you commented over there and want it here (and I have not done it for you), please feel free to re-plant your own comment here.
Also, if you tried to comment during the past two weeks and your comment does not appear now, it is gone. Sorry, but I am not going to plow through 3,500 (!) comments currently held in moderation to find the few that might not be spam.
The Cypriot presidential election (in the Greek part of the island) is now concluded. Today’s runoff was won by Demetris Christofias (55.4% to 46.6% for Ioannis Kasoulides).
But the remarkable thing is what happened a week ago, in the first round. The incumbent, Tassos Papadopoulos, failed to even make the runoff (Kasoulides led the first round, 33.51%, then Christofias 33.29%, and Papadopoulos 31.79%).
Where presidents are eligible for immediate reelection, defeat is pretty rare. Failing to place even in the top two must be really rare. Can anyone think of another case? I can’t.1
Presidential elections that are this close among the top three are likewise very rare. I have a dataset for a project in which I have 124 presidential elections, and the only one similar would be Uruguay in 1994: 32.3 – 31.2 – 30.6 in a race decided by plurality; however, given the Uruguayan system at that time, those are party, rather than candidate votes.2 Ecuador has some cases very close among the top three in a field in which no one even broke 30% (in a first round). Those 124 cases are all from Latin America. There may be examples elsewhere, but off the top of my head, none come to mind.
Perhaps Jacques Chirac deserves an honorable mention here. As the incumbent he managed less than 20% in his reelection bid in 2002, but that was a plurality and he did manage to win, thanks to facing Le Pen in the runoff. [↩]
Thus Uruguay is a special case that arguably could be ruled inadmissible here. Under the former system of Uruguay the winner was the candidate with the most votes within the party with the plurality–essentially a presidential election by “open-list plurality.” [↩]
Clinton, unsurprisingly, takes the Bush Lite position:
she might attach a so-called signing statement to a bill reserving a right to bypass “provisions that contradict the Constitution.”
Bill Richardson gets it right, making the point I have made at F&V in the past.
if a president thinks that parts of a bill are unconstitutional, then “he should veto it,” not issue a signing statement.
McCain also is forthright (though I do not necessarily believe him, especially given that he would face divided government):
As President, I wonâ€™t have signing statements. I will either sign or veto any legislation that comes across my desk.
Obama’s position is less than reassuring:
“No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush administration has gone much further than that.”
I don’t see where in the Constitution the President is given the right to issue statements dissenting with provisions of bills he or she has signed into law. It is take it or leave it. All of it. In fact, off the top of my head, I am aware of two Constitutionally given rights–obligations, actually–to issue statements of any kind in an official constitutional capacity: (1) an annual message on the state of the union, and (2) an explanation for a veto. Richardson is right that if the President thinks a law infringes on his or her “constitutional prerogatives” that’s precisely the occasion for a veto. In fact, the founders never appear to have countenanced a veto (let along a “I sign, but dissent”) based on policy objections; protecting constitutional prerogatives was the basic intent of the veto.
Of course, I say this as someone who would abolish the veto altogether, other than to allow the president to delay implementation pending abstract review of constitutionality by a panel of independent judges. That is more or less what Madison originally proposed, and is the model found nowadays in several European constitutions.
By the way, Giuliani and Huckabee declined to answer the question on signing statements, and Romney thinks that the way Bush has used them is just dandy.
A colleague just forwarded to me the first state-by-state list of elected-only delegates that I have seen.
If it is accurate, Obama has 53.55% and Clinton has 46.44%. So the proportional system is actually working, despite all the quirks in individual states. Obama’s roughly 5-point vote lead has translated into just over a 7-point lead in delegates. That’s an advantage ratio of 1.08, which is fairly typical of a moderate-magnitude PR system. Clinton’s advantage ratio is slightly smaller (1.04).
In California, where Clinton won the vote 52%-42.3%, she won the delegates, 54.9% to 45.1%. So, Obama had a very slightly bigger boost (ratio of 1.067 compared to Clinton’s 1.055). Not much, but consistent with expectations we had due to all the even-magnitude districts.
When I have a chance to look at other states, if anything anomalous comes out, you can be sure I will say so!
According to a table of seat results at Wikipedia,* the “victory” for the PPP in 2008 was a bit worse a showing–in seats–than it had in 1988 and 1993, the two elections that resulted in Benazir Bhutto’s premierships. Out of 207 total seats in these elections, her party won 93 in 1988 and 89 in 1993. That’s 45% and 43% of seats, respectively, compared to 32% this time.
Sharif’s party won 137 in 1997,** the election that led to his premiership, which was interrupted by Musharraf’s coup in 1999.
* Never my favorite source, but will have to do for now.
If the PML(Q) of the 2008 elections can be considered more or less the same as the PML(Q) that ran in the 2002 elections under military rule, it actually did about as well–in votes–in these elections as it did under less competitive conditions then: 25.7% in 2002, 24.0% in 2008.
In 2002, given different district-level competitive dynamics, this quarter of the vote translated into a quarter of the seats, compared to the 14% it got in 2008.
With the “democratic” parties fully participating again, voter participation was higher in 2008, but not dramatically so: about 31 million, compared to 29.6 in 2002.
So, with a slightly higher turnout Musharraf’s party experienced almost perfect stasis in the vote share. It did, however, suffer a substantial loss of seats.
From Pakistan News Room, by way of Adam Carr, the preliminary results from the recent Pakistani parliamentary election are rather typical of how FPTP works in a politically fragmented context.
The big “victory” by the PPP (Bhutto’s party) wasn’t much of a victory. It was the largest party in votes, but with under one third. It won more than 8 percentage points more than its closest challenger, the PML(Q), which is Musharraf’s party (which supposedly suffered a big “defeat”; perhaps it did, but being second in votes in a fragmented field is not what I was expecting, based on the media spin).
The PPP was slightly under-represented (32% of the seats on 32.7% of the votes), which is not what one normally expects of parties that earn “big victories” under FPTP. The second largest party by votes (i.e, the PML(Q)) was indeed a big loser in seats (14.3% on 24% of the votes).
The third largest party in votes was the other party noted in the media to have done so “well.” In seats, that is true. It was somewhat over-represented: 25% of the seats on 20.6% of the votes.
The main Islamist party, MMA, indeed did quite badly: 4 seats (1.47%) on 1.3% of the vote. Its main and more successful rival in the Northwest was the Awami National Party (3.7% of seats on 1.9% of votes, showing the advantage of regional concentration under FPTP).
The PPP was the only party to win seats in all states, according to Manan Ahmed, and of course, its being the more national party in such a fragmented system likely explains why it did not get the over-representation normally expected by the largest party under FPTP (votes wasted by running in districts it lost outside its strongholds). Still, for “the only national party in the country,” and supposedly benefiting from “the after-shocks of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination” (Ahmed’s words), less than a third of the votes/seats is pretty bad. As Ahmed notes, the result is also a “reflection of how restrictive the ethnic or regional based agendas the rest of the parties” are.
Back to the election results. About 10% of the seats were won by independents, and the fourth largest party by seats, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, had 19 seats (about 7%, on 7.6% of the votes). Four parties not mentioned thus far had 1 to 4 seats each, and another 10 seats are shown by Carr as “Undeclared or postponed.” There will also be another 60 seats (i.e., in addition to the 272 FPTP seats) “allocated to women members of the various parties, in proportion to the votes received.”
Other than the reversal of the second and third-place parties and the substantial over-representation of Awami, the result is fairly proportional to votes cast, which is not quite as odd as it sounds for FPTP, given the regional fragmentation. I have not seen district-level results, but one can expect that many seats were either dominated by one party or, in the case of contested seats, many likely were won with less than 50%. Such bimodal distributions of district-level outcomes are also rather common under regionally fragmented FPTP. If anyone has seen the detailed results and can confirm or correct that presumption for this election, please do so in the comments.
I reported on the vote percentages of the US presidential pre-candidates yesterday. But I did not mention the raw votes. I went back to the spreadsheet and took a closer look, and was genuinely surprised by what I saw.
At the conclusion of Super Tuesday, Obama’s cumulative lead in votes was only 87,799. Now it is 911,657. Wow!
Could Clinton overcome it on the 4 March primaries in Texas and Ohio?
The biggest margin in raw votes anyone has had in this campaign in a state so far is in Illinois, where Obama beat Clinton by over 600,000. Even in New York, a bigger state and one won by their Senator, the margin was only 305,000. In California–vastly larger than Texas–her margin, which was over 9 percentage points, amounted to 398,000 votes.
No, I don’t think she can overcome this lead on 4 March. It’s over. At least unless the bionic delegates weigh in for her. Or something truly tectonic happens.
You know, no matter what happens in this contest â€“ and I am honored to be here with Barack Obama â€“ whatever happens, weâ€™re going to be fine. You know, we have strong support from our families and our friends. I just hope that weâ€™ll be able to say the same thing about the American people, and thatâ€™s what this election should be about.
Just happy to be here, sharing the stage with history.
Texas is supposed to be one of Clinton’s “firewall” states. (The list of states so-designated is getting rather long.) There is surprisingly little polling in Texas, but the Pollster.com compilation of the trends shows a truly remarkable surge for Obama since ‘Super Tuesday.’
The average of six polls going back to 11 Feb. has Clinton at 48.8 and Obama at 43.5. Only one of them puts Obama ahead (ARG, 14 Feb, 48-42), and one has Clinton up, 54-38 (Rasmussen, same date). These can’t both be right. The two most recent polls have Clinton up, 50-45 and 50-48. Hard to interpret, but also hard to overlook the dramatic upward trend since early February (see the link above).
Meanwhile, there is nothing nearly so dramatic in Ohio. Obama’s trend is steeper than Clinton’s, but both are gaining over time, and Clinton’s lead remains large in all polls. Why would Ohio be less sensitive to the trends elsewhere, including Texas? Or maybe we just do not know the trend: There is even less recent polling in Ohio than in Texas, and the most recent one (the only one after Potomac: Survey USA, 17-18 Feb.) has Clinton’s lead at 9 points, whereas the closest of the earlier polls shows a 14-point lead for her.
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4