Strategy Memo: Democratic Primary Results
To: Interested Parties
From: Rick Davis
Date: April 23, 2008
Re: Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Results
The race for the Democratic Nomination will continue.
Hillary Clinton's victory in Pennsylvania last night has extended the primary to the next round of contests (Indiana and North Carolina on May 6) and has maintained the competitive nature of the race.
With her 10-point victory, we should expect her poll numbers and resources to increase in the coming days. Primary wins, especially in the 2008 election cycle, have had a direct impact on the national polling numbers for the candidates and when national polling numbers increase, so do campaign donations.
Since last night, the Clinton campaign reportedly raised $10 million dollars online - enough to make a significant dent in upcoming media buys in North Carolina and Indiana. Barack Obama continues to surpass fundraising expectations and will most likely continue to do so. We need help during this period of democratic turmoil so we can build are resources and be ready to fight when the race begins. [ed. - links to online contrib. page]
Pennsylvania exit polls tell an interesting story that has implications for November.
Exit polls reveal why this poses significant problems for Obama if he becomes the nominee. The most important problem: Clinton voters don't automatically become Obama voters after he becomes the nominee. In fact, Obama leaves large portions of Clinton's coalition on the table in November.
Obama only wins 72% of the Democratic vote in a general election match
up among those surveyed last night. Clinton shows her broad coalitional
strength and wins 81% in a general election match up against John McCain.
A full quarter of the Democrats in Pennsylvania are not willing to cast
their ballot for Obama against McCain (15% say they vote McCain and 10%
say they stay home), however, Clinton loses only 17% of Democrats (10%
for McCain and 7% would not vote). This gap of 8-points would be significant
in a general election match up. President Bush lost Pennsylvania by 2-points
in 2004, when 41% of the electorate were Democrats. That 8-point gap among
Democrats is enough to swing the state the other way (8% of 41% is 2.8-points,
turning Pennsylvania red). This dynamic is clearly visible in publicly
released surveys; an average of April polls show McCain trailing Obama
by an average of 3-points (3 surveys in April) and trailing Clinton by
The cracks in Obama's Democratic coalition in Pennsylvania mirror what we saw in Ohio, and those cracks could have implications in November.
What does that mean for John McCain?
Ultimately most pundits contend that Hillary Clinton still has more than an uphill battle to become the nominee. So, what does this victory mean for John McCain?
While the Democratic nomination continues to unfold, our campaign
is actively engaged in listening to voters' concerns and sharing John McCain's
message with them. Senator McCain has an active schedule in the coming
weeks. Last week, he gave a major economic address where he addressed
short term concerns like enacting a summer gas tax holiday, he proposed
a new "HOME Plan" to help those who are hurt by the housing crisis and
he is proposing a student loan continuity plan to make sure America's college
students aren't hurt from the credit crunch. In addition, Senator McCain
has spent this week travelling to places many in our nation have forgotten
and where our citizens have felt left behind but where hope, innovation
and local solutions are helping to lift these communities up. And, next
week, Senator McCain will visit various health care facilities and unveil
his plans and solutions to help Americans improve access and affordability
to good health care. In addition, the campaign is building our organization
and resources for the campaign in the fall.