TO: Interested Parties
FR: The Obama Campaign
RE: West Virginia and Obama’s Strong Position in the Race Ahead
There is no question that Senator Clinton is going to win by huge margins in the upcoming primaries in West Virginia today and Kentucky next weeks. She has poured resources into both states and she, former President Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton have all campaigned extraordinarily hard there.
The Clinton campaign has already been touting their margins in these states – In fact, Bill Clinton said that Hillary can win West Virginia with 80 percent—and the West Virginia Senate Majority Leader said Clinton needs to win by “80-20 or 90-10.” And in keeping large margins in perspective, it is worth noting that, while Senator Clinton will win big in West Virginia, Barack Obama won neighboring Virginia by 29 points.
But with 49 contests behind us and only six to go -- including several states where we expect to do well -- Barack Obama leads in pledged delegates, contests won, and superdelegates. And for perspective, while 28 pledged delegates are up for grabs this evening, Obama has won the support of 27 superdelegates in the course of just the last week putting him less than 150 total delegates away from clinching the Democratic nomination.
Obama’s Strong Position in the Race Ahead
Nationally, Obama is running stronger among Independent voters than any winning Presidential candidate since 1988 and is significantly outperforming Sen. Clinton among these voters as well in general election polling.
To understand a potential general election match-up between Obama and McCain, the only analysis and data that should be considered valid are the current head-to-head National polls rather than extrapolating irrelevant assumptions from exit poll data in Democratic primaries.
And, on the issue of Democratic unity in the Fall, analysts need only consider that in April of 1992, on a night when Bill Clinton won four primaries and was the presumptive nominee, 6 in 10 Democratic primary voters said they wanted another candidate in the race. Despite this, five months later, Democratic voters were unified behind Clinton and he won his first of two terms in office.
Debunking Five Myths About Obama’s Support
MYTH 1: The Primary has left Democrats divided.
FACT: Democrats are united behind Barack Obama, even more so than Republicans are united behind McCain
ü May 12 Washington Post poll shows that Obama wins 81% of Democrats in a matchup against John McCain.
ü Indeed, more Republicans crossover to vote for Obama (15%) than do Democrats for McCain (13%).
· NOTE: In 1996, Bill Clinton won 84% of Democrats.
MYTH 2: The Primary campaign has hurt Obama with swing voters and Republicans:
FACT: Obama is winning the swing voters against McCain by a wide margin.
ü Obama holds a 51-42 lead among Independents in the Washington Post poll.
· NOTE: Clinton loses 46-49 to McCain among Independents.
ü Not since 1988, when George Bush beat Michael Dukakis 57-43 among Independents, has a candidate won such a large margin among swing voters.
· In his two victories, Clinton only managed a 6-point margin over the Republican among independents in 1992 and an 8-point margin in 1996.
· Indeed, no Democrat has won a majority of Independent voters since exit polls were first conducted in 1976.
MYTH 3: Obama cannot perform strongly enough among white voters:
FACT: Obama’s is running as well or better than past Democratic Candidates among white voters.
ü LA Times (May 8) Obama: 41
ü Wash Post (May 13): Obama: 42
ü 2004 Exit polls: Kerry: 41
ü 2000 Exit Polls: Gore: 43
ü 1996 Exit polls: Clinton: 43
ü 1992 Exit polls: Clinton: 39
MYTH 4: The race against Clinton has compromised Obama’s position among women:
FACT: Obama has begun attracting the support of a broad coalition of women and is poised to win historic margins.
ü Wash Post (May 13): Obama: 54
ü New York Times (May 3) Obama: 47
ü NOTE: No Democratic candidate has won women by so large a margin since exit polling was first conducted in 1976. The closest any candidate has come was in 2000, when Al Gore won women 54-43 over George Bush
MYTH 5: Obama cannot win working class voters:
FACT: Obama is already winning working class voters
ü In the recent LA Times poll, Obama wins every income group under $100,000.
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Marc Ambinder is a contributing editor at The Atlantic. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.