Sunday, January 06, 2008

Obama Ahead in Polls

There's something to be said for momentum:

Two days before New Hampshire's Democratic primary, Sen. Barack Obama has opened a double-digit lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton in that state, a new CNN-WMUR poll found Sunday.

Obama, the first-term senator from Illinois who won last week's Iowa caucuses, led the New York senator and former first lady 39 percent to 29 percent in a poll conducted Saturday and Sunday — a sharp change from a poll out Saturday that showed the Democratic front-runners tied at 33 percent.

Kevin Drum complains:

...apparently the flinty-eyed independents of New Hampshire aren't quite as flinty-eyed as they'd like you to believe. After a solid year of town halls, coffee klatsches, and early morning doorbell ringing — because, you know, New Hampshirites take their electoral responsibilities so much more seriously than the rest of us — all it took was a few thousand Iowans to flip them from one side to the other in less than 24 hours. Feh.

Of course, the press is doing their part to make sure that these NHrs get with the program:

I'd add that it's a bit astonishing to watch the real-time narrative construction that went on at last night's debate. I must have heard the term "meltdown" in reference to Hillary 65 times. And I talked to reporters who would literally say, "I thought she did okay, but I just misjudged it" -- the aggregate conclusion of the corps became some sort of objective, or at least agreed-upon, truth that the outliers measured themselves against. Very, very odd. Particularly because the part that much of the press liked least -- her heated recitation of the programs she's fought for -- came off, to me, as one of her best moments.

You can imagine how this goes. The collective press corps decides that Clinton, who is of course a canny and crafty political operative, is also somewhat brittle underneath her tough exterior (she is still a woman, after all.) And since she's brittle, she must be handling the loss in Iowa poorly. And since she's handling the loss in Iowa poorly, she's bound-as a woman-to crack at some point. And since she's bound to crack at some point, any display of "excess" emotion is evidence of this cracking. Of course, rules such as these only apply to women who dare to raise their voices, as John Cole points out. Remember, Howard Dean had to full on screech to get anybody to think he was losing it. But for Hillary...raised voice, harsh words? Cracking.

Anyway, Obama is doing well, and as the candidate endorsed by TWM we're quite pleased to see his success in Iowa and hopefully New Hampshire. For what it's worth, I think Obama can take Clinton down without the press stacked against her. But it would be nice if it was a completely fair fight, and it would be nice if women at the height of political power in our country were treated at least somewhat on par with men.

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