Pennsylvania Primary Results: HuffPost Bloggers Weigh In

The lessons of Pennsylvania are clear for her going forward. She must continue on a negative or a comparative theme if she is to win the upcoming primaries. After running a negative campaign, candidates are frequently tempted to turn back to a positive track to avoid criticism from the media. Given the deficit that Senator Clinton faces in states won, the popular vote and pledged delegates, she does not have this luxury. She must continue to draw contrasts with Senator Obama, raise questions about the nature and extent of his associations with Reverend Wright and terrorist leader William Ayers, and raise more questions about his values in comparison with hers.

John McCain is now the only candidate in the race viewed more favorably than unfavorably, according to Rasmussen Report's Daily Tracking Poll. And he is intermittently hitting the 50 percent mark in the head to head matchups - something that neither Obama nor Clinton has even sniffed since, well, at least since February, which is as far back as the head-to-heads go. The longer this goes on, the worse it gets, as voter attitudes towards McCain solidify, making it much harder to re-define him in an abbreviated general election campaign.

After tonight, despite an apparent ten point victory in Pennsylvania, Hillary Clinton is no longer electable in a general election. According to NBC Political Director Chuck Todd, Obama can no longer lose the pledged delegate count. "If you could call a contest based on the delegate count, it now appears as though it's going to be impossible for Obama to lose his lead." To do so, Clinton who need some 80% of the post-May 6th delegates.

Clinton's net gain of the popular vote was also woefully insufficient for her to have a reasonable chance of reclaiming the popular vote lead. She net 200,000 votes on Tuesday, just enough to be all but cancelled out by Obama's likely win in North Carolina two weeks from now. With so few states left, the likelihood of her overcoming her popular vote deficit, even with Florida included, is simply implausible.

Hillary Clinton did not win Pennsylvania by running a negative campaign. The negatives that came out against Barack Obama were self-inflicted mistakes - his comment about "bitter" Pennsylvanians, his bobbling of questions over why he sometimes does not wear an American flag pin in his lapel, and lingering questions about his Chicago pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. He compounded his trouble by going negative against Clinton, because in doing so he took himself off his core message of hope, change, and the promise of a new kind of politics. He became just another politician.


And coming under the heading of "Things I Didn't Need," these multiple negative issues cropped up against him all at the same time, when he was already running in a state where the demographics were stacked against him. Pennsylvania was never realistically a winner for Obama anyway, but he may have done some damage to himself by responding the way he did. We do not yet know.

The Pennsylvania Primary was Hillary Clinton's last chance to deliver a game changing blow to Obama's campaign for the nomination. She failed to deliver. Pennsylvania provided her with her final real opportunity to knock the wheels off the Obama campaign. She needed a crushing victory of 18% to 25% to have any real chance of altering the math or the psychology. Demographically, Pennsylvania was made for Hillary: the second oldest state in the nation, heavily blue collar, Catholic and rural -- Hillary's voter profile. She started with a lead of almost 20 points. But her final margin of 9.37% fell far short of what was needed to stop Obama's nomination. Here's why

Here we go again. Stomp on Hillary for winning. ... In today's newspapers and partisan websites, the critics are downplaying Clinton's victory (even her erstwhile supporter the New York Times criticizes her in its lead editorial for running a dirty campaign), dismissing any triumph as meaningless because of Obama's lead in elected delegates, and suggest once again that she drop out so she does not further hurt the inevitable nominee, Barack Obama.

Why did I get it so right when the polls got it so wrong? One reason is dumb luck. Accurate predictions are difficult with numbers as fuzzy as polling data. That said, there are other, more ominous reasons why I did better than the pollsters. The one that should be of greatest concern to the Democrats is the Bradley Effect, where white voters are reluctant to tell pollsters that they won't vote for a black candidate. While the Bradley Effect is highly controversial, the Texas and Ohio results persuaded me that it's real. So I increased Clinton's margin accordingly. It didn't have to be this way. In the first few months of the campaign, a great many voters didn't seem to perceive Obama as "black."

The world is watching this election with great interest. I live in Paris, which is an extremely diverse culture as well as a crossroads for Europe and other continents. Everyone I talk to -- without exception -- says they are excited about Obama being elected president of the United States. That he would make a huge difference in how the world sees us and in our reputation. No one mentions Hillary. Most people don't even understand how she has as much support as she does, given that the bulk of her governmental experience is having been a First Lady--in Arkansas and then The White House -- for a total of 20 years. People from our Turkish tailor to an English actress friend bring the subject up, and are baffled.

The Pennsylvania primary launched Hillary Clinton on a difficult, but feasible path to ultimately leading the nationwide popular vote in the Democratic presidential race. In yesterday's Keystone State primary, she cut Barack Obama's national overall lead by some 200,000 votes. That still leaves him half-a-million votes ahead (not counting Florida or Michigan) -- a lead of about 1.6 percentage points.

Michael Fauntroy: Pennsylvania Observations

The win may well be the worst of both worlds. On the one hand, it gives Clinton added momentum and justification to continue in the race. On the other hand, it raises legitimate questions about Obama's ability to close the door on the nomination and lets fester concerns about his toughness. That's bad news for Democrats seeking closure in the nomination contest.

Robert Schlesinger: Is Hillary's Win a Win?

The talking heads are taking the wrong approach to viewing Mrs. Clinton's Pennsylvania win: The only way she gets the nomination is by way of a historic Obama collapse. So as a practical matter her strategy is to hang around to see if it happens (while trying to abet it, of course).

So in that regard, a win's a win's a win. She lives to wait another day (or two weeks, as the case may be).

Presumptive G.O.P. nominee John McCain appeared at a mammoth rally in Philadelphia last night to celebrate the results of the Pennsylvania primary, calling the contest "a huge victory for me and my campaign." A jubilant Sen. McCain said that as the results poured in, "It became abundantly clear that the people of Pennsylvania want to send the Republicans back to the White House for another four years."

A few weeks ago, I published an article in In These Times showing how Hillary Clinton has been winning states almost exclusively in the Race Chasm - states whose populations are more than 6 percent but less than 17 percent black. The results of the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania - a state whose demographics fall squarely in the Race Chasm - continue the trend.

I don't mind so much that it was a disappointing night for Senator Obama in terms of the popular vote spread, but I'm not thrilled with the fact that every day this race continues means a better November for Senator McCain. The cold hard fact is that the delegate spread is only 3, according to Markos. Yet Senator Clinton will continue until at least June -- another two months with Senator Obama dividing his army, so to speak, between Clinton and McCain. And he'll still win Indiana and North Carolina.

Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania, but many Democratic primary voters say they'll vote for McCain in November. So get ready for lots of chatter about this PA exit polling from Tuesday...

Tom Tomorrow: How Hillary Can Win


I have long suggested that many have understated the number of Democrats who are (still) racist and who would tip many contests to Clinton, but closed that post by saying that if Obama won or came close in Pennsylvania that might put the issue to rest.

Didn't happen. And the exit polls show, again, that 1 in 4 Clinton voters claim they would not vote for Obama in November. For whatever reason. And she got 70% of the white, blue-collar vote in most regions, including the area of central Pennsylvania where I spent a lot of time growing up.

Other details from polling turn up other troubling numbers along those lines.

And once again, as I suggested, the old phenomenon of exit polls proven wrong because people with racist votes do not tell pollsters the truth on election day again reared its head. The major and final exit polls today indicated only a 4% Clinton win. Now it looks like 10% or maybe 9%. That difference is largely the racial vote, most likely.

Geraldine Ferraro got in trouble for saying Barack Obama was lucky to be a black man running in this race. Obviously we understand what she means, that winning large percentages of the black vote helps in some key states. What was frustrating was that she didn't seem to understand that it also cost him plenty of votes and that historically a black man has been anything but lucky when running for a nationwide office (or in many cases, statewide office).


Obviously Senator Clinton put herself in the ballgame by running an effective campaign and holding views that appeal to the voters. Having said that, after she crossed these thresholds, it has helped her that she is a woman. To deny that would be a little silly. Sixty-five percent of the white women vote goes a long way.

Clinton must achieve a clear, decisive victory in Tuesday's primary or she should quit the race and let the general contest begin. PA is the big prize. The hugely working-class state is representative of middle-America and the traditional Democratic base. If she can pull off a double-digit win (or something very close), it'll make it very hard to convince me or any sane Dem that the race is over. What she'll have is a string of critical big-Blue state wins (OH, TX, PA), impressive momentum, and a bruised and battered opponent, who as the NY Times columnist David Brooks has said last week, has fallen to Earth. Indeed, a very compelling narrative for her to offer up to superdelegates, who could very well swing to her corner quick as lightning.

Hillary Clinton will win Pennsylvania. Arguments over the meaning or meaninglessness of her win will dominate MSM and stretch bandwidth to its breaking point. Bloggers and pundits will dust off their favorite boxing metaphors: "Hillary's off the ropes!" "Obama can't land the knockout!" Hillbots will rejoice, Obamabots will panic, and McCainbots will watch Murder She Wrote and go to bed at six-thirty. I'll probably write a scathing post attempting to prove that Hillary is the devil incarnate. We'll all lose our minds.


Read HuffPost's full coverage of the Pennsylvania primary.

Check out the results of the latests PA Polls.