July 7, 2007

I’m going to be away for the next seven weeks, so the blog will be fairly dormant.  There may be a brief post here or there, but that’s about it.  Hope everyone has a good summer!


Market Watch

July 5, 2007

Over at Intrade, the gap between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has sharply narrowed.  Up by as much as 15 points in the last week, Clinton’s (41.0) lead has been trimmed to 3.5 over Obama (37.5).  Although this may be a temporary spike coming after the fundraising reports, it’s a development worth keeping an eye on.   Both candidates also have similar odds for winning the White House: Clinton 24.5, Obama 23.0.

On the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani (36.0) has regained his lead after being briefly overtaken by Fred Thompson (34.6).  Mitt Romney (17.6) has dropped over the last week, while John McCain (4.1) is mired in a slump.

Speaking about the markets, check out this April Slate article comparing each candidate to a corporation and giving buy/hold/sell recommendations.

Rudy at $17 Million

July 3, 2007

The last top-tier candidate from either party to announce fundraising results, Rudy Giuliani reported raising $17 million in the second quarter, with $15 million allocated for primary funds. Giuliani has the most cash on hand among the Republicans at $18 million; Romney has $12 million, and McCain has $2 million. The campaign doubled the number of donors from the first quarter. So rounding up the results:

Barack Obama – $32.5 million ($31.5 million – primary)

Hillary Clinton – $27 million ($21 million – primary)

Mitt Romney – $20.5 million (all primary)

Rudy Giuliani – $17 million ($15 million – primary)

John McCain – $11.2 million ($10.4 million – primary)

John Edwards – $9 million (all primary)

Romney – $14 Million

July 3, 2007

In the second quarter, Mitt Romney raised $14 million, all for the primary. That’s a dramatic falloff from his first quarter haul of $20.6 million. Romney had relied on a small base of maxed-out donors for the first quarter and was forced to broaden his appeal. Now about 80,000 donors have contributed to the campaign, an increase of 50,000 in the last three months.

Romney also kicked in for the second quarter in a row, loaning the campaign $6.5 million from his personal fortune. The loan bumped his total effort over $20 million. He has $12 million on hand and has spent approximately $32 million so far this year.

Campaign spokesman Kevin Madden earlier said, “It would be an accomplishment if we were to get past the number that President Bush raised in the first half” in 1999, the record-breaking $37 million.  After a statement like that, it’s extremely likely the campaign would raise more than that.  Including his loans, Romney did surpass the number. But without them, which is a more appropriate comparison, Romney fell short of Bush’s record. Also, the maximum donation was $1,000 back then, now it’s a much larger $2,300.  If Romney continues to self-finance his campaign this way, potential donors may be scared away, and it can’t be too helpful to his candidacy’s image.

Cell Phones and Polling

July 3, 2007

In 2004, there was a great deal of chatter about young, wireless voters not being included in traditional telephone polling. That demographic tends to skew towards the Democrats, so some believed polling showing Bush ahead was misleading. We set out to investigate that trend in the Democratic primary polling. Young voters prefer Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, yet often don’t have landlines and aren’t polled. An In-Stat/MDR study estimated the number of wireless households to grow to 30% by 2008, a considerable segment of the population.

In 2004, Mystery Pollster broke down wireless households by age group. 29% of wireless-only adults are 18-24, 52% are 25-44, and 19% are 45 or older. In a Harvard Institute of Politics poll, Obama leads Clinton 35%-29% among voters 18-24.  Wireless voters 18-24 represent 8.7% of all voters (30*.29). Clinton leads Obama 33%-29 among voters 25 and up, and wireless voters in that age group compose 21.3% of all voters (30*.71).

Take the current polling numbers from the RealClearPolitics average where Clinton is ahead of Obama 37%-23%. Adjust for wireless households and Clinton’s lead is diminished to 35.45% – 25.32%. Her lead drops 4 points, which is within the margin of error, but is something that should be considered in future polling. Right now, pollsters supposedly correct the problem by weighting results demographically, but the wireless trend is accelerating and is likely to become a prominent issue.

Barack Obama – $32.5 Million

July 1, 2007

Barack Obama’s campaign announced raising a staggering $32.5 million for the second quarter with $31 million available for the primaries.  258,000 people have contributed to the campaign over the first half of the year, a widespread show of appeal.  In a blog post, campaign manager David Plouffe proudly pointed out:

Our financial success will provide the campaign important momentum. But there is practical application as well, which gives us a decided advantage in the nomination fight.

First, we are on a financial course that will allow us to both fully fund efforts in the early primary and caucus states, and also participate vigorously in all the February 5 contests, including large states like California, New Jersey, New York, Georgia and Missouri…

Secondly, because so many states are holding early contests that may have significant impact on deciding the ultimate Democratic nominee, a winning campaign will need deep organizations in dozens of states to prevail. Our more than 258,000 donors provide us the foundation of an unprecedented volunteer army in all 50 states. We also have thousands more who are not able to contribute but are already volunteering or who plan too. For example, early in June, more than 10,000 Americans took part in our “Walk for Change” — canvassing neighborhoods in all 50 states, visiting more than 350,000 households.

Hillary Clinton raised in the range of $27 million, John Edwards more than $9 million, and Bill Richardson $7 million.

Hillary’s Electability

July 1, 2007

A Mason-Dixon poll came out in the last week showing Hillary Clinton as the only presidential candidate with more people saying they wouldn’t consider voting for her than would.  48% would consider voting for her, while 52% would not.  Compare that to Barack Obama (60%-40%) and John Edwards (59%-41%).  Relative to the other candidates, Clinton has limited upside.

Yet the gaps tighten in general election polling.  On average, Clinton leads Giuliani by 2.4% as does Edwards.  Obama only leads by 1.2%, but the difference is statistically insignificant.

Against Romney, Clinton leads by 11.7%, Obama by 16.6%, and Edwards by 22.4%.  Here, there’s a much bigger difference, but the Democratic candidates resoundingly win.

And matched against McCain, Clinton leads by 3.5%, Obama by 6%, and Edwards by 8.4%.  Again, Clinton is the weakest, but still wins.

Just to point out, Bill Clinton never received a majority of the popular vote, getting 43% in 1992 and 49% in 1996.  There was a third-party candidate back then, and there may well be one in the ’08 election.  Also,  Jimmy Carter won with just 50.1% of the vote in 1976.

Hillary has a generally fixed public image, which makes it hard for much traction in either direction.  Nonetheless, the Electoral College gives her a helping hand and a historical reminder: one candidate in 2000 won 47.9% of the vote and ended up in the White House.