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April 4, 2008
There are some must reads on Iraq out recently. First is Fred Kagan's "Iraq: The Way Ahead," Part IV, executive summary (full text in pdf) published by the American Enterprise Institute, at which I'm a resident fellow. Kagan was one of those who advocated the surge strategy that has proved so successful over the past year. His take:
The United States now has the opportunity to achieve its fundamental objectives in Iraq through the establishment of a peaceful, stable, secular, democratic state and a reliable ally in the struggle against both Sunni and Shiite terrorism. Such an accomplishment would allow the United States to begin to reorient its position in the Middle East from one that relies on antidemocratic states like Egypt and Saudi Arabia to one based on a strong democratic partner whose citizens have explicitly rejected al Qaeda and terrorism in general.
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April 2, 2008
Corrected on 4/07/08: An earlier version of this blog incorrectly stated Obama's vote percentage. He has won over 50 percent of the white vote in New Mexico, Illinois, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Vermont.
Corrected on 4/03/08: An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the Vermont primary results and Barack Obama's title at the University of Chicago. Obama won the Vermont primary and was a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School.
In reviewing the maps of the Democratic primary results, in Dave Leip's electoral atlas, I was struck by the narrow geographic base of Barack Obama's candidacy. In state after state, he has carried only a few counties—though, to be sure, in many cases counties with large populations. There are exceptions, particularly in the southern states with large numbers of black voters in both urban and rural counties. But overall, the geographic analysis has pointed up to me a divide between Democratic constituencies—a divide as stark as that between blacks and Latinos or the old and the young—which has not shown up in the exit polls. It's a division that helps to explain the quite different performances of Obama and Hillary Clinton in general election pairings against John McCain.
Let's look at Obama's and Clinton's geographic bases in the primaries, in order of voting. Readers who are not interested in detailed analysis, or whose eyes tend to glaze over, may want to skip to the concluding paragraphs of this post.
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April 1, 2008
My post projecting the possible outcome of the remaining Democratic contests has provoked a lot of commentary, most of it—pro and con—quite thoughtful. As I explained, I was making projections that were optimistic from Hillary Clinton's point of view, and I found, to my surprise, that the results showed Clinton ahead of Obama in popular votes (whether Florida, Michigan, and imputed caucus results for four states were included or not) but Obama still ahead in delegate votes.
Some commenters have argued that I was too optimistic (again, from the Clinton point of view). I'm not convinced. Remember that I was projecting the percentage of the two-candidate vote for each candidate. I projected a 60 percent to 40 percent win for Clinton in Pennsylvania. Current RealClearPolitics.com average poll numbers show her leading the two-candidate vote 57 percent to 43 percent. I projected a 55 percent to 45 percent win for Obama in North Carolina. Current RealClearPolitics.com average poll numbers show him leading the two-candidate vote 57 percent to 43 percent. Current polls may be off, or those currently undecided could swing heavily to one candidate, or turnout may be heavier among Obama than among Clinton voters. But I think my estimates are defensible as outcomes that are possible.