The Compressed Primary Schedule And Electability

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THE PLANK FEBRUARY 2, 2008

The Compressed Primary Schedule And Electability

Alec MacGillis and Anne Kornblut have a nice front page summary on where the Democratic race stands in this morning's Washington Post. Their conclusion, in short: Obama has momentum, but does he have enough time between now and Super Tuesday to reach parity with Senator Clinton? These grafs caught my eye, however:

Polling and election results so far suggest that the more time Obama
has to present himself to voters, the better he fares. In each of the
first four states where voting was sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee,
Clinton maintained essentially level support in polls in the months
leading up to the contests, while Obama saw a steady upward trajectory
the more he campaigned. In Florida,
by contrast, where the candidates did not campaign after the DNC
punished the state for moving its primary to January, Clinton soundly
defeated Obama, offering a rough gauge on how much the senator from Illinois relies on voter contact.

Now, with far less time and broader territory to cover, he must make
do with a radically truncated version of that outreach, relying on a
single final visit to big cities to win over voters to whom he remains
little more than a first-term senator with an exotic name and a
reputation for oratory.

His efforts appear to be paying off, as
his standing in polls inches closer and closer to Clinton's. The
question is whether he has enough time to make up the gap.

Nothing particularly earth-shattering here, but then there's this from the Clinton camp:

If a few extra weeks would help Obama, the opposite is true for
Clinton, whose advisers would be happy with just a few extra days, they
said in interviews Friday.

If you want the best case for Obama's electability in November, here it is. The Clinton people are conceding that the more time spent with both senators airing their messages, the worse it is for their candidate. The general election race might go on for eight months; wouldn't it be best to have a nominee who wears well?

--Isaac Chotiner 

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