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Strange Days

Maybe those overwrought Kentucky Derby analogies were premature.  According to Rasmussen, Clinton leads in Kentucky by nine (51-42), Obama trails by 25.  (His unfavs are at 61%)  Together with West Virginia, Missouri and Arkansas, this would be yet another state that Clinton seems capable of winning that Obama would lose and lose badly.  That makes for a fair number of electoral votes (45), if North Carolina is also included, that seem to be obtainable by Clinton and are much harder for Obama to get. 

The remarkable thing about the Kentucky numbers is the age of the people that do support Obama most often: it is not young voters, but voters 50-64 and 65+ who are more likely to back Obama than their children and grandchildren.  Just 27% of 18-29 year-olds back Obama, while 68% back McCain, and the same is basically true of 30-39 year olds (60-29).  Obama’s support peaks among 50-64 year olds at 36%.  Clinton runs 15 points ahead of Obama in his supposedly core demographic of 18-29 year olds, and she wins every other age group.  She wins a higher percentage of Republicans than he does, and she wins over a higher percentage of Republicans than she loses from the Democrats.  Oh, and she runs even with McCain among independents, while he loses them by 28, but why worry? 

P.S. Looking at the Kentucky crosstabs more closely, I see that the least surprising and most significant shift of votes comes among Democrats and women: 48% of Democrats support him, 78% support her; 57% of women back Clinton, 34% back Obama.  Clinton gains 15 points more than Obama among men as well, but the biggest changes are found in these two groups.  About one-third of the Democrats who would support Clinton but won’t back Obama seem to be ripe for the taking by a third party candidate, because they won’t support McCain, either.  In an Obama v. McCain race, 13% of Democrats opt for a third candidate compared to just 2% of Republicans and independents.  Possibly the best scenario for Barr and Nader is to have an Obama v. McCain race that drives disaffected Democrats away from both candidates.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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