Monday, February 01, 2016

Here's Why Winning Iowa Could Break The Election Wide Open For Bernie Sanders Or Donald Trump, Frankly

Via The Huffington Post:

In the fall of 2007, Hillary Clinton held a 24-point lead over Barack Obama among black voters in a CNN national poll. By Jan. 18, 10 days after the New Hampshire primary, Obama was winning blacks by 28 points in the same poll, a 52-point swing.

This time around, Clinton again holds a commanding lead among black voters headed into Iowa. She boasts a roughly 45-point lead nationally, which her campaign refers to as a firewall.

The assumption fueling that fire is that Obama was able to win over the black vote because, put simply, he was black. If that's the case, the uber-white Vermonter Bernie Sanders isn't a serious threat to that firewall, and the Clinton camp can bank on a South Carolina victory no matter what happens in Iowa or New Hampshire.

But that strategy may rest on a misreading of why the black vote shifted so rapidly to Obama the last time around. Indeed, Obama was just as black in October, when black voters were backing Clinton, as he was in January, when the vote shifted his way.

What changed? His viability.

After Obama's resounding victory in Iowa, the perception of him changed. All of a sudden, black voters saw that Obama could actually win.

The connection between Obama and the black vote is obviously a unique one, but the phenomenon is universal: Voters prefer to back a winner, and candidates appear more attractive the more likely they are to win. The Iowa caucus may only be a venue for some 250,000 or so Iowans -- a minuscule fraction of the national voting population -- but the decisions those caucus-goers make can send a signal that reverberates far beyond the state.

If Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump comes out on top in Iowa, it will be the first time that millions of people waking up on Tuesday morning seriously think of those men as presidential material. (The shock to the global audience, particularly if Trump wins, will be off the scale.) If Obama's experience is any guide, winning Iowa could possibly unlock significant additional support.

No comments: