Watching the returns with the DL21C this past evening, I wondered why Hillary Campaign did not turn out the voters that she needed.
Boy, it was COLD out there!
On every television news program this morning, as well as various websites, there was a constant drumming of “the incredible turnout of the youth vote”. In an article by CBS News, I read:
In a night of record turnout for the Democratic caucuses, Obama and his message of change captured the vote of the first-time caucus-goers, as well as the votes of young people and political independents.
Well over half of those attending the Democratic presidential caucuses – 57 percent – were attending their first caucus ever, and their choice for the nomination was Obama, with 41 percent support. Hillary Clinton received only 29 percent of first-time votes, and John Edwards trailed with 18 percent. (Among those who attended a caucus previously, Edwards – an Iowa caucus veteran from 2004 – won with 30 percent of the vote.)
It was among young caucus-goers, however, where Obama truly carried the evening. Attendees under 30 voted 57 percent for Obama, compared to only 14 percent for Edwards and 11 percent for Clinton. Among Gen X-ers – 30 to 44 year-olds – Obama received 42 percent to Edwards’ 21 percent and Clinton’s 23 percent.
In contrast to Obama’s strong support among the young, Edwards and Clinton appealed to older voters. Edwards won Baby Boomers with 31 percent, to 28 percent for Clinton and 27 percent for Obama. Clinton handily won the senior vote with 45 percent of those 65 and older, compared to 22 percent and 18 percent for Edwards and Obama respectively.
One of my friends pointed out that the weather this past weekend was 7 degrees Celsius – and last night, was closer to 2 degrees C. Heck, on Weather Underground today, I got a bit of a chuckle when I looked up the Des Moines, IA weather and it said, “Today is forecast to be Much Warmer than yesterday.” So, from this simple read, I would assume that senior citizens in Iowa more than likely stayed home, nestled in the warmth of their homes.
Add to the fact that, with the January 3rd primary being just before student return for college, that would mean that Iowa students are spread out around the state (supposedly with their families), while out-of-state students are returning to the college towns, which would normally be chockful of other Iowan resident students. So, with a spread of students in all of the counties, it is not a surprise that a student vote would be quite impactful.
A Lesson from 2004
In 2004, Kerry’s upset victory could more than likely be attributed to the desire for change as well, but I would harken it to the fact that many spoke about in the days following: he was considered the other caucus-goers second choice, if their first choice did not garner enough votes in the first round of the caucus. As reported in Talking Points Memo, Obama courted voters to go to the caucus and make him “your second choice, although you are wiser making me your first”. When Kucinich and (potentially) Richardson did the “viability dance” (and not sure what happened with Biden and/or Dodd), the idea that the courtship of other, non-viable candidate support may have been incredibly successful by the Obama campaign.
Is this a mandate from the “voters”?
Sorry, but I do not think so. Last night is a reflection the Obama message and their field organization, coupled with the weather (what if it had been warmer and the senior citizens came out in even greater numbers), coupled with the “second choice” option, coupled with the distribution of the youth vote across Iowa (instead of centered at their institutions), I think we might have had a different outcome last night. So, while Iowa makes Round One for Obama, I wonder how New Hampshire turns out in five days.
Tags: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Campaign 2008