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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ambinder on How Things Are Going to Play Out

Great article here by Marc Ambinder that discusses his "Clinton Stock Price" theory:

[T]he Democratic primary electorate has been saturated with information about Clinton from time immemorial and her mean level of support -- her true value -- is about 40%. Sometimes it rises, sometimes is falls, but it usually progresses or regresses to the mean. Everything one can know, think, and feel about Hillary Clinton has been priced into her level of support. Well, add to that the perception that she's been the one has campaigned the most unfairly and the most negatively -- the exit polls pick this up even in states she's won.

Here's how Marc sees this most recent flap settling down:

Here's what I think is going on. Time after time, from the beginning of the campaign to now, the media has called Obama on a "major" gaffe or presented his reacton to an event as a "major" problem only to figure out a week later that Obama hasn't suffered a bit and Hillary Clinton numbers have dropped back down to about 40%.

I wonder if, when events cast a harsher light on Obama, Democrats blame Clinton instinctively because they're forced to make a binary choice and the nomination can't be awarded to two people. I also think that the degree to which Democrats believe that Barack Obama will win the nomination is one of the reasons why, especially now, his bumps on the road are sanded down a bit. There's just not that much at stake. Further, it's not clear whether the fact that John McCain and Hillary Clinton are tag-teaming Obama on this makes base Democrats more fearful of Obama's electoral politics or more resentful of Clinton's penchant for warning Obama about the awfulness of the Republican playbook and then operating from it.

A final factor: Obama's supporters don't seem to mind Obama-the-cocky, but they love Obama the fighter. After all, it's their movement too. Nothing rouses the passions like the outrage of an insult. And nothing feels better than fighting back.

Damn right.