As I’ve been reviewing the polls for the Bluegrass State’s Democratic primary tomorrow, it’s struck me not only that Hillary has maintained a constant, comfortable lead over her party’s likely nominee, but also that she seems to run about 5-10 points behind her numbers in pre-primary Mountain State surveys.
Nearly all those surveys underestimated her final 41-point victory. Do the Kentucky polls herald a similar blowout? And if so, what does that mean?
Based on the polls and the demographics of the state, I’m going to predict that Hillary will win with a margin slightly smaller than the polls indicate about 58-42. I base that on Hillary getting 67% of the white vote and Obama getting 90% of the black vote, which represents a greater portion of the Democratic electorate in Kentucky than West Virginia.
I also predict Obama will do better among late-deciders than he has in recent contests. Should I be wrong about this and Hillary again get the lion’s share of voters deciding in the last 72 hours before the primary, I think Democrats would be wise to give the former First Lady a second look.
It would show as Victor David Hanson observed, commenting on her recent margins in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, “the momentum is still with her, despite a lack of cash and coverage.”
If Obama continues to do poorly among late-deciders, it would show he can’t break through to “swing Democrats,” those unable to make up their minds in a presidential contest which has consumed our national media for nearly a year now. With more organization, more campaign ads, the media blessing, a growing number of endorsements from party leaders (many of whom are asking his rival to withdraw from the race), he should have no trouble convincing the undecided party faithful to rally to his cause.
With these headwinds, if he can’t get his party’s own rank and file to vote for him in the interest of Democratic unity, he’s going to have an even tougher time convincing swing voters, no matter his financial edge, media support and the favorable (to his party) political currents of this year, to back him in the fall.