NYTimes Analysis: Obama Fervor Fell Short
The New York Times analyzes Super Tuesday and concludes the "movement" and fervor that has become the hallmark of the Barack Obama presidential campaign fell short. Not that it petered out, just that as in New Hampshire, it failed to meet expectations.
One telling sign: Last minute voters tended to go for Hillary.
Throughout a week when Mr. Obama was campaigning with members of the Kennedy family, when there was a sense that he was creating a movement that cut across racial and generational lines, there was a steady movement of Democrats toward Mr. Obama, the survey suggested. But those who reported making their decision on the last day bucked the trend, tending to vote for Mrs. Clinton, of New York.
What it may mean: The fervor for Obama may not translate into votes. [More...]
[O]nce again — as in New Hampshire — the result on Tuesday did not match the fervor that had been signaled by Mr. Obama’s dramatic march of rallies across the nation leading up to the vote. In that dynamic rests one of the central questions about the Obama candidacy, which may well go the heart of whether he can win the presidency. Is this campaign a series of surges of enthusiasm, often powered by the younger voters who form long lines waiting to hear Mr. Obama speak, that set expectations that are not met at the voting booth?
What's defining the battle between Hillary and Obama? Race and gender. [More...]
In Obama's camp: "younger voters (under 44), blacks, white men (to a more limited extent) and independents"
On Team Hillary: "women, older voters, Hispanics and also some white men."
A Clinton rally may not have the energy of a rock concert the way an Obama rally does. Yet the older women who have embraced Mrs. Clinton as the culmination of years of hope and other core supporters are no less passionate in their intensity and devotion.
The question is: Whose supporters will be more likely to vote?
Clinton Democratic voters tend to have a history of being more likely to vote, particularly compared with younger voters and, as was the case this week, black voters. That in part might account for the enthusiasm fall-off between the campaign trail and the voting booth that Mr. Obama has to deal with.
Even Ted Kennedy says of Obama's allure: "I’m mindful that crowds don’t always turn into votes.”
As for Obama's attempt to gain women voters by having Oprah and Caroline Kennedy stump for him:
Mrs. Clinton still has a bulwark in women at the polls. Mr. Obama tried to chip away at it — dispatching Oprah Winfrey and Caroline Kennedy to campaign for him, broadcasting television advertisements with women backing him — but to little if any avail.
As the Times notes, not all white men are going for Obama or resisting Hillary.
Mr. Obama split the white male vote nationally with Mrs. Clinton, but there was an important geographical disparity there: White men in California voted for Mr. Obama but white men in Southern states like Alabama did not. The question is what white men in Ohio will do next month, during what is shaping up as a critical showdown for Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton.
As for the Hispanic vote, Obama is doing better, and he needs this group to score in Texas, but "Mrs. Clinton still has the upper hand."
The Times concludes, it comes down to Obama's excitement factor.
The question is whether he can move them one more step on the electoral process — into voting — in the dwindling number of contests that make up this campaign.
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