Proportional Representation Bedevils the Democrats

Former Senator Tom Daschle squared-off against Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on “Meet the Press” today. Daschle made the case for Obama, and Rendell for Clinton. The ironic thing is that Rendell seems to have the stronger argument—that Clinton should receive the Democrat nomination for president despite winning fewer delegates than Obama. Watch it for yourself and see if you agree about the strength of Clinton’s case for the nomination.

One this is clear. The Democrats are having a problem with proportional representation in their primary and caucuses. If the primaries and caucuses would have been winner-take-all contests, the Democrats would have settled on their candidate by now. And that candidate would have been Hillary Clinton.

5 Responses to Proportional Representation Bedevils the Democrats

  1. Bryan L March 9, 2008 at 4:23 pm #

    That argument from Rendell is disturbing. After all from a Democrats standpoint, if all that matters is Ohio, Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania then why not just have primaries or caucuses there only and let that decide who gets the nomination?

    Plus I think it assumes that those people who voted for Hilary in each of those sates won’t turn around and vote for Obama if he gets the nomination. Overall the Democrats are showing out like crazy and whoever gets the nomination I think they will show out for that candidate in the general election regardless of who they voted for in the primaries. I know I will.

    Has there been any polls done on that because I think that is the bigger question.

    BTW that Rendell guy just seems slimy. All his double talk was disturbing. Both sides care about winning but you can tell he really wants to win at all cost. Just my opinion though. What do I know.

    Bryan L

  2. Yvette March 10, 2008 at 12:56 am #

    Denny…I agree.

    Bryan, he might be winning more states… she’s winning the right states. Rendell’s point is that those are the states the Dems have to win. It is about the Dems winning the presidency, and he is right about which states they have to carry. The states that are a must, she has won. Essentially Obama has shot a lot of free throws and she is shooting three pointers.

    You wrote…”Plus I think it assumes that those people who voted for Hilary in each of those sates won’t turn around and vote for Obama if he gets the nomination.” and “Has there been any polls done on that because I think that is the bigger question.” I think that is what your question is, and if so, the answer is yes.

    There is a recent study by Pew Research that shows a much higher defection rate among Dem voters if Obama gets the nomination rather than Clinton.

    http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=1254

    Here is a bit:

    “The vast majority of Democratic voters say they would support either Obama or Clinton over McCain. But in an Obama-McCain matchup, 14% of Democratic voters say they would support McCain, compared with 8% who would do so if Clinton is the nominee.”

    And

    “A quarter of Democrats (25%) who back Clinton for the nomination say they would favor McCain in a general election test against Obama. The “defection” rate among Obama’s supporters if Clinton wins the nomination is far lower; just 10% say they would vote for McCain in November, while 86% say they would back Clinton.”

  3. Bryan L March 10, 2008 at 8:06 am #

    Yvette,

    Do you think the 6% difference in defection in Democrats between Obama and Clinton that you mentioned is big enough to cost them the the election when it shows only 87% of republicans backing McCain if Obama gets nomination (compared to 91% if Clinton does) and when Obama also has a much higher appeal to Independents than both McCain and Clinton – 63% for Obama, 51% for McCain and 50% for Hilary?

    Also I’m not sure what the difference is between the top statistics and the bottom statistics on “Clinton Draws More Support Among Democrats” is.

    Lastly do you not think there will be a big fall out among Democrat voters if Obama gets the popular vote by the margin that he already has and they instead go against the will of the people and give Clinton the nomination? I think there will be after all it will send the message to people it really doesn’t matter what you vote we’re going to do what we think is best. You’re just here to give us some statistical data.

    Like I asked earlier do Democrats just stop having primaries for all these other states and go to the only ones y’all think matter? That seems to be what y’all are saying.

    Thanks for the link.

    Bryan

  4. Yvette March 10, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    “Also I’m not sure what the difference is between the top statistics and the bottom statistics on ‘Clinton Draws More Support Among Democrats’ is.” I think the bottom statistic is getting a little more specific on the defection rate.

    As far as the drop in support goes will it make a difference? It is so hard to say. One of the things that I think would really hurt Obama is that he did so well in caucus states, but not primaries. The general election works more like a primary system. But it is hard to answer your question because it is hard to say who will turn out. If enough elderly and white democrats turn out and switch, it is enough to change things pretty significantly. “The report also said, One-in-five white Democrats (20%) say that they will vote for McCain over Obama, double the percentage who say they would switch sides in a Clinton-McCain matchup (10%). Roughly the same number of Democrats age 65 and older say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the party’s choice (22%).” Turn out is what always matters and I think seems unpredictable.

    “Like I asked earlier do Democrats just stop having primaries for all these other states and go to the only ones y’all think matter? That seems to be what y’all are saying.”

    A. That’s not what I am saying. I can’t speak for Denny. But that is the way winning an election works. You win the right states. It is what it is. Ask Al Gore and GWB. Personally, I’d prefer a popular vote because my vote would matter more.

    B. What is making this so difficult is that the primary season has not gone on like this in my lifetime that I am aware of. I don’t think Texas ever matter in my life. Generally everything is wrapped up in February.

    C. What will probably matter most to the final decision makers will probably be winning. With the blunders he and his campaign have made, such as NAFTA, states such as Ohio could easily go Republican. What really hurts Obama is that a lot of the states he has won are states he won’t win in a general election.

    “Lastly do you not think there will be a big fall out among Democrat voters if Obama gets the popular vote by the margin that he already has and they instead go against the will of the people and give Clinton the nomination?” That depends on how the Dems handle it. It also depends on how much people are more concerned about winning.

    Bryan, I just realized I have to run to an appointment. Sorry if this is not complete.

  5. Bryan L March 10, 2008 at 10:10 am #

    Touche Yvette… touche. : )

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