Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton and North Carolina

In my last post I hinted at the fact that Hillary Clinton’s polling guru, Mark Penn, liked being in the limelight. I should have noticed the Washington Post profile of Penn printed just the day before!

It’s a pretty fascinating look at a major polling luminary and the Clinton presidential campaign. The profile has created a lot of buzz in Democratic blogging circles here, here, here, here, and here, as well as on

What does this have to do with North Carolina? Not much, except for this quote from Penn describing Hillary Clinton’s prospects in 2008:
"When you look at this thing nationally -- how is she going to win -- I think it's really important to look at what were the two groups that defected from the Democrats in 2004 to give it to Bush," Penn said. "And those were women and Latino voters. And almost all the change in that election from 2000 was among those two groups, and those are her two strongest groups. And I think that's some of the reason you see her doing so well in places like Ohio and Florida -- because I think those are both states that she could take."

And then, he said, "you won't have to go any further on the map.
As a Democrat in North Carolina that quote disturbs me. Does this mean that Hillary Clinton is going to campaign in only the states John Kerry won, plus Ohio and Florida? That might get her into the White House, but it would do nothing to help Democrats in North Carolina. No wonder lots of Democrats are worried about our 2008 chances if she is the Democratic nominee.

The political winds still seem to be blowing against the Republicans. Democrats are hopeful for 2008 gains. No help from the national nominee might erase those chances.

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