Tag: Super Tuesday

Some Observations on Voting Today

Today I cast my first ever Democratic primary vote.  A few things I observed:

I voted at my local polling place, Barrier-Free Living on 2nd Street.  Eight years after the 2000 debacle, we had a single antiquated manual voting machine at my polling place.  There was a large red lever which had to be reset for each voter which stuck occasionally; the woman who voted before me, a young woman in her teens or twenties, needed help moving it.  There were two poll workers who were handling the lists of names; both were in wheelchairs and had been working since six AM.  The voting machine was in a hallway; in the short time I was there, the line was well out the door both when I arrived and left.  While I saw numerous volunteers and so on throughout the city today, not a single one was outside my polling place, which covered some of Alphabet City, including Loisaida and its various largely Hispanic housing projects.

Mike Gravel was not on the New York ballot.  And hilariously, the only Republican candidate who had any delegates listed in my district was Ron Paul.

Bill Clinton attacks created backlash for Hillary.

Tonight’s victory of Barack Obama was a lot bigger than anyone expected. Most pollsters expected a victory of around 10 points; only one predicted a victory of 20 points. While they correctly predicted the uptick in support for Edwards, they did not predict the huge margin of victory that Obama would take.

The X Factor in this race was the attacks of Bill Clinton on Obama this week. However, it turned out that these attacks created a huge backlash against Hillary and led to Obama’s unexpectedly wide margin. Obama’s victory will undoubtedly give him momentum going into the next race; however, the big question is how much?

The reason that I ask this question is because the next battle will be totally different than the four battles that came before it. In the previous four battles, the winner was the candidate who could do the best at practicing retail politics — this was a turf that clearly favored Obama. With his huge gift for oratory and his ability to draw some of the largest crowds ever for political campaigns, Barack Obama was able to generate the kind of grassroots support that propelled him to convincing wins in Iowa and South Carolina, a narrow loss in New Hampshire, and a tie in Nevada.

But this will be a totally different battle than the one before it, because it will be decided on the airwaves. Stump speeches will be important, but the candidates will have to try to appeal to audiences much bigger than the small audiences that they appealed to before. The battle will be won and lost based on who can create the best commercials that appeal to voters. So, if Obama cannot give people flashes of his oratorical skills in 30 seconds, then he will be in even more hot water than he is already — he trails by double digits in the all-important state of California. And that is on top of the fact that he is still trailing the delegate count to Hillary.