Exaggerating Wright

Adam Nagourney writes in an otherwise gloomy piece for the Clintons:

The exit polls gave Mrs. Clinton some ammunition to that effect [of Obama being weak in the genera]; about half the Democrats who voted in Indiana and North Carolina said Mr. Obama’s association with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., was very or somewhat important to their vote.

Athough fifty percent may seem to be a daunting number, Obama still won North Carolina by a resounding fourteen points and barely lost Indiana.  There is no evidence that Wright significantly dampened Obama’s margins yesterday.        

Also, the nature of the exit poll question is misleading.  To borrow Ambinder’s phrase, Clinton supporters have a tendency to see this issue through an internal partisan lens.  In other words, Wright reinforced already present doubts among Clintonites about Obama.  Wright didn’t necessarily sway Obama voters to Clinton, but rather hardened pre-existing loyalties.  A more precise, and more useful, exit poll question is whether Wright changed the person’s vote. 

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