A few more tea-leaves: Watch the proportion of independents

In what is very symbolic of just how confused the race is, a new ARG poll was just released with Clinton looking stronger than ever just as I was ready to launch this post that acknowledges the CW that Obama is favored. The reason is clear: 83% of the ARG sample are registered Democrats, and Clinton gets 38% among those. The controversial DMR poll had a controversial sample of 50% of Democrats only. Turnout will likely end up being between those two numbers -- and how much the portion of independents matters is obvious: Obama gets 45% among the 17% non-registered voters. Here are the numbers:

  • Clinton leads 34% to Obama's 25% and 21% Edwards. Biden has risen to 8%.
  • But it is also obvious that second-choices could sink Clinton: 31% of Biden supporters say they will choose Obama on the second ballot, 25% Edwards and 12% Clinton. Among Richardson voters, it's 31% Edwards and 19% Obama.

  • Among Republicans, Huckabee has taken the lead back -- he was down by 9% a few days ago, underscoring the craziness of the GOP race as well: He is now ahead 29% to 24%. Thompson is third with 13%, with McCain at 11%. Giuliani gets 85 and Ron Paul 6%.
As I said, Clinton's 9% lead is hardly surprising if ARG is projecting an 83% registered Democrat turnout model -- and that seems highly unlikely given Obama's outreach to independents. The question is just how low that number will get. The higher it stays, the better for Clinton and Edwards.

One more note: The blogosphere and progressives like Krugman are turning against Obama with an increasingly intense passion. Two weeks ago Kos was pretty much endorsing Obama and he has since then retracted his quasi-support and he blasted him again yesterday. Not that Kos is representative of the Left in general, but this switch is still emblematic enough to deserve to be highlighted because this sentiment is being echoed by many commentators at this point. And it is likely to be a Clinton and Edwards talking point in 24 hours if Obama wins tonight (that he won on the strength of non-Democrats):

Obama has made a cottage industry out of attacking the dirty fucking hippies on the left, from labor unions, to Paul Krugman, to Gore and Kerry, to social security, and so on. People think I was being ticky tack with the Gore thing, and in isolation it would've been but a minor non-event. But it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back for me, yet another in a pattern of attacks against Democrats and their constituencies. He is the return of Bill Clinton-style triangulating personified... I'd rather have our candidate elected promising progressive reform, especially in a year where the American people seem to crave such solutions.

It's useless at this point to speculate on different scenarios and what they might mean. It's pretty much obvious that Edwards needs a win, that an Obama victory would make him a huge favorite in New Hampshire, that Clinton coming in third could very well sink her faster than is conceivable, that Romney losing would be devastating, that McCain coming in third would give him a boost in NH, and that Giuliani in sixth place could have bad consequences, even with Rudy dismissing the caucuses.

And now add one more consequence: Fred Thompson will likely drop out if he does not get a good showing in Iowa, which most sources are placing at 15%. He would likely endorse McCain soon after he dropped out -- and that could be one more boost for the AZ Senator (though not in NH where Thompson is stuck at 3%).

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  • Kos has built a cottage industry out of inflating whatever minor non-events he needs to support his theory that there's a dangerous pattern to be found coming out of the Obama campaign ...

    Talk about patterns, Kos and Chris and Digby and a slew of other folks who ought to know better have totally whiffed it this time around with a pattern of downright lame writing on the subject of Barack Obama.

    By Blogger Chino Blanco, At 03 January, 2008 12:00  

  • The older I get the more liberal I find myself becoming, but I think Kos is a freak. I'd like to send him off to Marine boot camp and see if his punk self could keep up my aging body.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 03 January, 2008 12:14  

  • 1.) Kos is a former republican.

    2.) Kos served in the Army.

    3.) Ignorance is bliss.

    By Anonymous willyjsimmons, At 03 January, 2008 13:23  

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