The latest California Field poll shows McCain up eight, but more unexpectedly shows Obama within two points of Clinton in the nation’s most populous state. Other polls are less favorable to Barack, but it’s clear the younger man is surging.
Hillary is lucky the primary is this Tuesday. Another week and she could be toast. In the long run, she could be anyway.
What does this mean for the Republicans? Nothing good. Running against Hillary would not be difficult for them. The country is experiencing Clinton fatigue and what with recent revelations like Bill’s nuclear finagling in Kazakhstan (probably just the tip of an endless iceberg) Hillary presents them with an easy target and likely victory.
Not so Obama. He is the “cool kid” on the block and getting cooler. Everyone wants to be part of him. “Yes, We Can” – a new video by Black-Eyed Peas featuring Scarlett Johansson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, among others – although based on the usual campaign rhetoric, radiates an optimism about a future with and through Obama, which we haven’t seen since Reagan, ironically.
Furthermore, Obama’s lack of record or experience, while obviously something any concerned voter should be concerned about, may be an advantage for him. There’s less to shoot at.
In a head-to-head, Obama’s glamour could be lethal. McCain would look like Barack’s crotchety old father and Romney-even worse-a starchy, clueless businessman (in Huckabee’s words, “the guy who fires you”). I don’t have to tell you, the facts are not operative here. Images rule.
This was writ large by Frank Luntz’s focus group after the recent California debate at the Kodak Theater. Unlike the pundits, the people in Luntz’s group overwhelmingly declared Obama the winner, although he had spoken largely in generalities throughout the entire debate. Hillary, the wonk, had focused on the details of her programs. Who wants to hear about them? Again ironically, they just contribute to Clinton fatigue.
Like it or not, people are more interested in being inspired.
So, on Super Tuesday, all eyes will be on whether McCain can administer a knockout blow on the Republican side.
But the spotlight should be shared equally with the Democrats. Hillary, even more than McCain, needs to win with some deciseveness on Tuesday. Otherwise, she will be on the wrong side of a juggernaut.