Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Post Primary Mass. Musing

For what it's worth...

Brylcreem adI'll ramble a bit below about the meaning of Hillary's win here. Elsewhere, no one seemed surprised at Super Tuesday outcomes, with the possible except of Willard Romney. He probably won't drop out today, although he trails so badly and is losing ground to Mike Huckabee...Huckabee! I'll miss calling the stiff old salesman Cap'n Brylcreem. Ah, Mitt, we knew you only too well.

By the bye, Slate's Trailhead had the best recap on the Cap'n no good, terrible day:
Republican voters, faced with a choice between a say-anything robo-pol and a genuine, slightly nutty Southern boy, chose the guy without any money. Romney was so noxious that Republicans actually chose the less viable candidate—not what Republicans are supposed to do.

Basically, most polls were very close to the outcomes. Most of us shameless blowhards called the results yesterday accurately. California was the wild card, but it too was about what we expected.

Massachusetts, though, was for once worthy of analysis and comment. Hillary Clinton won solidly, but at considerably lower margins than polls had her only a short time ago. She surely senses the charismatic breath (is that even possible?) of Barack Obama.

Many are busy looking for truth and predictability from racial and cultural trends. The MSM seems fixated on whether Black women will vote for the Black guy or the white gal, and where young Latinos will go Clinton like their parents.

I just scanned a wonderful breakdown of the local voting in the Boston Globe. The interactive page has the town-by-town votes. It also lets you roll over a town to see the Clinton v. Obama percentages.

My quicky, quirky analysis suggests (figures are percentages in Obama/Clinton order):
  • Brains for Obama — Places with the highest concentration of degrees, academics and students voted Obama. Williamstown 60/38, Cambridge 63/35, Northampton 58/39, Amherst 66/31, Wellesley 53/36.
  • Blue Collar for Clinton — Traditional union areas normally go with the machine pol who can turn out the votes. Lawrence 24/74, Billerica 29/66, Dartmouth 68/30, New Bedford 27/70, Everett 23/74, Chelsea 65/28, Lowell 32/64, Medford 36/60.
  • Wealthy for Obama — The most financial comfortable Dems were willing to risk a bit more. Belmont 52/46, Brookline 55/44, Dover 56/43, Sherborn 61/38, Weston 57/41.
  • Exurban for Clinton — The more traditionally conservative areas with DINOs went Clinton. Danvers 36/61, Beverly 42/55, Gloucester 43//55 (also the blue-collar contrast to artsy Rockport, 53/44), Wilmington 29/67, Chelmsford 40/57.
We don't have enough big cites to draw much from. Boston went for Obama 53/45. Worcester was stronger for Clinton 35/62. A few kind-of cities were split, like both Newton and Winchester 49/49.

Much has been made of Boston's mayor and the House speaker endorsing Clinton, while our governor and senior U.S. senator went for Obama. We can speculate over a half dozen pints and never know whether Kennedy's blessing brought Obama as close as he was or whether Menino/DiMasi's drove people from Clinton. Meh.

You can roll over this map and see patterns for the whole commonwealth. We can likely learn much more from considering class than race or culture. After all, Massachusetts is still about 88% white and the non-white populations are concentrated in a few urban areas. We can't extrapolate as easily as from states like Georgia or Nevada.

One obvious lesson for Obama's camp here may be the absolute necessity of getting people to polls. It appears as though the young voters did not come to the polls sufficiently for him. In contrast, Clinton's two strongest groups — white women and union-and-blue-collar voters — did. That's a huge advantage in being connected to the Democratic establishment, a.k.a. the machine.

Right now, the two are real close. With voters torn and fractured, and with these candidates' positions as close as they are, the one who gets to the convention with the most delegates may well be the one who got admirers to the polls.

As my 14-year-old is wont to say, "Well, duh."

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