Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Four Weeks and 36 points to Kentucky Primary

Josh Marshall concludes that Hillary's 10-point win in Pennsylvania keeps the race pretty much at the same place it's been for a couple of weeks, all spin to the contrary.

But for Democratic voters on both sides in the remaining primary states, the victory in Pennsylvania is that our votes still count.

The last non-Pennsylvania primary polls are more than a week old, although new Indiana and North Carolina polls should be coming in shortly. Here's a roundup:

May 6 Indiana primary, Survey USA April 14: Clinton 55, Obama 39.

May 6 North Carolina primary, Survey USA April 8: Obama 49, Clinton 39.

May 20 Oregon primary, Survey USA April 7: Obama 52, Clinton 42.

Kentucky's primary is May 20. On April 15, five weeks before Kentucky's primary, Survey USA had Hillary up 36 points over Obama, 62-26.

Four weeks ago, Hillary led Obama by 20 points in Pennsylvania. That Obama made up only 10 points in a month despite outspending her more than 2-1 does not bode well for him making up 36 points in Kentucky.

Indiana's right next door, though, and if Obama beats her there - and Obama and Kentucky Democrats get on the ball promoting it - that could start some hard thinking by Kentucky Democrats, who may be conservative but are also practical. We know that states that go for Hillary, especially late in the primary season, are not likely to make President Obama's Christmas card list.

But there's another practical aspect for Kentuckians to consider. Since 1964, in every presidential contest, Kentucky has gone with the winner of the general election. (And since 2000, the person who got inaugurated.) As of April 17, Survey USA showed Clinton and McCain in a statistical tie (46-48) in Kentucky, while McCain holds a 34-point lead (63-29) over Obama.

Obama's great strength is that once he starts concentrating campaign resources - especially his personal appearances - in a state, his numbers always rise substantially and fairly quickly.

He probably can't make up thirty-six points in Kentucky in the remaining four weeks, especially without a giant-killing Pennsylvania result to build on.

But as I pointed out Monday, the key now is Controlling the Narrative. Hillary can't win either the primary or the general; don't let her fool anyone into thinking otherwise.

Cross-posted at BlueGrassRoots.