Clinton may have swing states advantage

May 19, 2008 7:26:15 PM PDT
Barack Obama has an important new superdelegate in his corner: West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.

Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in the 1940s, and was once a staunch opponent of civil rights legislation.

He now calls Obama a "shining young statesman," who can get us out of Iraq.

Byrd represents one of several so-called "battleground states" Hillary Clinton is counting on. She trounced Obama in the West Virginia primary last week.

She is in three big swing states, Pennsylvania Florida and Ohio. But since that trouncing in West Virginia, 18 superdelegates have lined up with Obama, four have declared for Clinton and she continues to try and convince them.

Hillary Clinton's strongest argument to superdelegates is look at the swing states.

"The bottom line is this: the White House is won in the swing states, and I am winning the swing states," said Senator Hillary Clinton (D) New York on Tuesday May 13, 2008.

Clinton has won more swing states than Barack Obama. And when you look at Florida, most polls show Clinton is currently beating McCain in Florida.

But McCain beats Obama if the elections were held today, and that is if the polls are accurate.

Another key swing state is Ohio and it's the same story: Clinton beats McCain and McCain beats Obama.

ABC7'S Political Analyst Bruce Cain says there's no question Florida and Ohio are important.

"And without getting those states it's difficult, not impossible, but difficult for a Democratic nominee to win,'" said Cain.

Prof. Cain says the reason it's not impossible is because Obama changes the political map, putting more states in play.

Even Republicans think that's true.

Karl Rove, President Bush's long time political advisor has done his own mapping of how he thinks McCain matches up against Clinton. She leads in the presumptive Republican nominee.

While Rove sees Obama vs. McCain as a much better match of for Republicans, it's an observation that is far from universal.

"He's flat out wrong. He's flat out wrong if he says Obama matches up less well with McCain," said Cain.

Most polls show Obama the stronger Democrat overall. But even Rove's numbers illustrate the McCain-Obama contest is much closer in more states.

Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alaska are all within five points.

"It's possible that democrats could come to power without Florida it's possible they could come to power with new states like Virginia like Iowa," said Cain.

On Friday, Oakland after school teacher Jeff Harry packed for a trip to Oregon to work on the Obama campaign. ABC7 News him about Clinton's swing state argument.

"The thing is between now and November we're going to have this huge get out the vote drive which is going to bring a lot of those swing states back into play," said Obama supporter Jeff Harry.

And that illustrates another point: Not only is the swing state map more complicated, but November is five and a half months away and a lot will happen between now and then.

Just since march, 113 of Clinton's top fundraisers have decided to give money to Barack Obama for the first time.

The Clinton and Obama campaigns are talking about working together on fundraising, and Clinton's former campaign manager has reportedly met with Obama's chief strategist to talk about working on the Obama campaign.


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