All the post-New Hampshire polling second thoughts and theories that were, and in some cases still are, all over the media, seemed to miss one big fact, that Bill Schneider (I think that’s his name) on CNN (the best political analyst on TV for my money, though he’s kind of the elder nerd schlubby guy that gets questioned and then pushed off screen quickly) pointed out right away:
That is: the pollsters got Obama’s percentage absolutely correct. They predicted he would get 36 to 37% of the vote in the New Hampshire primary. And that’s exactly what he got.
Thus the theories about white voters saying they’d vote for him but lying to save politically-correct face and then voting for Hilary, are totally wrong! There’s no racism involved here (a friend told me today that researchers have discovered no racist anti-Obama sites on the internet, while there are plenty of sexist anti-Hilary ones).
Let me make it as clear as possible: All the voters in New Hampshire who said they were going to vote for Obama did. So that’s that. He got the exact percentage the polls said he would. What they got wrong was how many voters were going to vote for Hilary. And why.
I am among those who believe that her tears and changing her campaign appearances from stump speech she almost does by rote to a Q&A format, combined to convince a lot more women that she is warmer and more like them than they suspected, and that she’s being unfairly singled out and criticized because she’s a woman.
Also, as others have pointed out, the college student and faculty, “liberal” campus vote that was touted as a big part of Obama’s surge, didn’t apply in New Hampshire because the primary occurred while the campuses were still in Winter recess and the students and faculty weren’t there!
Also, Hilary picked up some Edwards’ supporters, more traditional Democrats, who now think their man (JE) doesn’t have a shot at the nomination.
I still think Obama is the most inspiring. His speeches have actually only gotten better and more powerful, in terms of imagery and cadence and inspirational impact. And if he were to get the nomination and win the presidency it would clearly be a generational change, and a revolutionary change of mindset and image in and of the U.S.
Plus, without a doubt, it would inspire an entirely new generation to become involved in politics, which can only be good for the country.
If Hilary were to win the nomination and the presidency, it too would signal a change in mindset and image of this nation, and be as historically amazing as an Obama win. But it would not be a passing of the torch to a new generation, and though probably a lot more young women would become involved in politics—obviously a good thing—not as many young men would.
If anyone else wins, it may attract some new people into the political process, or old ones in new ways, and may even signal a change in our image and mindset (i.e. Huickabee, a Baptist minister and nonbeliever in evolution but believer in replacing the entire tax system with a federal sales tax, etc., or Romney, first Mormon, Rudy G. first Italian, etc.) and any of them might spur new political activity from young people in opposition to their policies and what they represent.
But the most exciting and inspirational and revolutionary change, would be if Obama were to win. And that’s what underlies the excitement he generates, as well as the angry outbursts from those who were disappointed in the New Hampshire outcome and may express that anger even more extremely if Obama doesn’t win the whole thing.