Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Des Moines Register Iowa Video Contest

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Clinton and the Crying Game

While in Iowa, we tracked three individuals embedded in presidential campaigns.
Of the three campaigns tracked from the inside, Clinton's seemed the coldest. Not only were volunteers required to sign non-disclosure agreements, but Clinton's appearances appeared cold and calculated. While candidates in Iowa mingled with the crowd, shook hands and answered questions, Clinton's appearances were touch and go.
On the day of the New Hampshire primaaries, every television station in the granite state published video of Clinton's teary plea - which seemed to play well with voters, that is - if you believe the science behind the polling data predicting an Obama victory. With polls showing Clinton several points behind Obama, the emotional plea - breaking from Clinton's "Look at my record" approach seemed to help Clinton emerge victorious.
In the end, the scientific campaign strategies employed by camp Clinton in Iowa scored a distant third to the victory earned through the crying game in New Hampshire.

Campaign Script: Are you an Iowan with a phone?

*******John Zogby's Notes**
Zogby International published the explanation below:
1. According to the exit polls, 18% of the voters said that they made up their minds on primary day. That is just an unprecedented number. I have polled many races, especially close ones, where 4% to 8% have said they finally decided on their vote the day of the election and that can wreak havoc on those of us who are in the business of capturing pre-election movements and trends. But nearly one in five this time?
2. It looks like the always feisty voters in both Iowa and New Hampshire have rejected pre-election coronations. In the case of Iowa, Democratic voters said that Mrs. Clinton is not inevitable, while in New Hampshire they were not ready to endorse the Obama train without checking the engine.
3. The compressed schedule of the two events may have had an impact. Normally the winning candidate gets an initial big bounce out of Iowa, and then plateaus. Then the next primary race begins. With less than five full days, Obama got his bounce in New Hampshire, then the settling down period began on the last day – under the radar screen.
4. My polling showed Clinton doing well on the late Sunday night and all day Monday – she was in a 2-point race in that portion of the polling. But since our methods call for a three-day rolling average, we had to legitimately factor the huge Obama numbers on Friday and Saturday – thus his 12 point average lead. Unfortunately, one day or a day–and–a–half does not make a trend and we ran out of time.
5. Going into the New Hampshire primary, we certainly did see Clinton holding on to a significant lead among women and older voters. But we were focusing on Obama’s massive lead among younger and independent voters. We seem to have missed the huge turnout of older women that apparently put Clinton over the top.
6. We expected that Obama would receive the lion’s share of independents and drain the Republican primary of these voters. It now appears that, perhaps with a sense that Obama had a lock on the Democratic side, independents felt free to vote on the Republican side and reward their hero, John McCain.