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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wisconsin Votes -- and Freezes

I got up this morning, poured a cup of coffee, and turned on CNN. Big election day here in Wisconsin, so I hoped there'd be something about the primaries. There was -- in Hawaii.

I hate those people so much. They're out there, doing a man on the street thing, talking to people in shorts and t-shirts. Meanwhile, here's my forecast as I go to the polls:

Partly sunny this morning, then turning cloudy with areas of flurries or light snow developing later in the day--mainly west of Madison.
High: 11
Wind: W/SW 5-15 MPH

Light snow this evening with minor accumulations under an inch; partly cloudy, windy and very cold overnight.
Low: -7
Wind: NW increasing to 12-22 MPH; Wind Chills: -15 to -30

Mahalo that, mutha. Here, voting in the primary is an honest to goodness accomplishment. If you go out, you have to do things to make sure you won't die. Seriously. So I'll put on a couple of coats, a stocking cap over my baseball cap, a pair of wool socks, and some mechanics coveralls. I'll make sure I have some coffee brewing for when I get back and I'll walk -- that's right, walk -- six or seven blocks to the High School to vote. Uphill, both ways.

As I say, it's an accomplishment.

After the Hawaii story, I learn that Castro has stepped down. I hope it doesn't suck up all the newsroom air -- anyone who thinks this represents a real change for Cuba is dreaming. Raul Castro's a big fan of Fidel. If there's any changing that's going to happen here, America's going to do it. And not until this president is gone. Our current policy toward Cuba is as irrational as it is ineffective. Unless you want to argue that the embargo finally worked.

So who will win Wisconsin? That's anyone's guess. Agence France-Presse explains the situation:

White House Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton fought Monday to stave off a wave of momentum for rival Barack Obama before a primary contest in Wisconsin that will hinge on a large working class vote.

Obama, on a roll after eight consecutive victories in the nomination race, hopes to extend his winning streak in the Midwestern state as well as in caucuses in Hawaii on Tuesday.

Polls showed a tight race in Wisconsin with the Illinois senator enjoying a narrow five-point lead over the former first lady, according to a new survey by Research 2000, US media reported.

The poll was conducted Wednesday and Thursday and showed 11 percent of voters remained undecided.

A five percent lead is less than half the undecided vote -- that 11% will decide this election. That is, assuming Research 2000 is right. Earlier polling showed Obama higher -- a 10% lead or better. We'll see how it all shakes out. I'm guessing Obama here, but probably not by much. If Clinton wins, she wouldn't be able to call it an upset. But so far, it looks like Obama owns Milwaukee and leads in Madison -- win those two cities and history shows you get the state. I'll be able to doublecheck how that perception panned out tomorrow.

Down the road, there's the Texas primary on March 4. In that race, Associated Press is saying the two are in a virtual tie. CNN/Opinion Research puts that at 50% Clinton, 48% Obama. With a margin of error of 4.5%, that too is anyone's game at this point.

And John McCain? Here in Wisconsin, he's a shoe-in. Huckabee is delusional. There is no hope. But expect the trend of Democratic voters statistically burying Republican voters to continue. A completely anecdotal story shows what I mean.

In Madison, The Capital Times endorsed Obama. This kicked off a flurry of letters to the editor either congratulating TCT's editorial board for their wisdom or knocking them for their foolishness. One letter would be pro-Obama, the next would be pro-Clinton. There were no pro-McCain letters. There were a couple of Paulistas and, I think, one Huckabee backer. But not a single McCain supporter wrote in for their candidate. Judging by the ad buys, McCain's been pumping money into Madison. I've seen a Huckabee ad twice in my life. Last night, I saw McCain's ad twice in the same commercial break. It seems to be money wasted. He should be spending his money farther north -- the Fox River Valley, where Green Bay lies frozen -- and to the west around LaCrosse. I don't think he should sweat liberal-land. He may win his primary here, but that's not going to carry over to the general election. In 2000, Bush came in third behind Ralph Nader in one Madison district and in 2004, Kerry won 70-some percent. President Bush has never bothered to show his face here -- we are a lost cause.

Another problem for McCain is that Wisconsin is an open primary -- you can belong to a party, but it doesn't make any difference when you go to vote. Just about everyone here can claim to be an independent. All a Republican has to do to jump the fence is to fill out the ballot that way. Given the trend of independents going Democrat, this means that McCain can expect votes only from the GOP true believers. He's going to get buried.

So that's Wisconsin today, where -- as I write -- the thermometer outside reads 0 degrees even. Let's see Hawaii manage that.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was listening to Charlie Sykes yesterday, and plenty of his wing-nut listeners said they were prepared to vote for Clinton today because they believe McCain has the nomination wrapped up (true), and that they think McCain can beat Clinton in November. They obviously haven't been paying attention, I've noticed that in most of the primaries held to date, the Democratic candidates have collected nearly twice the total number of votes as the Republicans.
I believe the progressive base has been energized.