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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Will there be some kind of a backlash against Barack Obama for his not picking Hillary Rodham Clinton for his ticket?

Rasmussen has some instant feedback on Barack Obama’s selection of Joe Biden. As their write-up notes, there appears to be a gender gap in the initial response to his selection. And it’s the reverse gender gap than you’ll usually see when a Democratic candidate makes news: men like the pick better than women.

What’s interesting is that the gender gap is different between the several formulations of the question that Rasmussen employed. There is a big difference in the question of whether Biden was “the right pick” — apparently seeming to indicate that, for many women, any pick other than Hillary was not going to be the right pick. But there isn’t very much difference in favorability scores for Biden, nor upon the prospective impact upon one’s vote. So the message that women seem to be sending is that: (1) yeah, we’re kind of ticked; but, (2) it’s nothing personal against Biden, and (3) we’ll probably get over it.

The McCain campaign, however, isn’t going to make it any easier on them, having announced a commercial, to debut at literally any moment now (it’s 3 AM on the East Coast — get it?), called “Passed Over”:

“She won millions of votes. But isn’t on his ticket. Why?” an announcer says in the 30-second spot.

The answer? “For speaking the truth.”

The ad, which has not yet been released, then ticks off a litany of criticism Clinton used against Obama in the prolonged primary, according to a transcript sent to reporters.

“You never hear the specifics,” Clinton says.

“On the Rezko scandal,” the voice says.

“We still don’t have a lot of answers about Senator Obama,” Clinton says in footage from the primaries.

“Senator Obama’s campaign has become increasingly negative,” Clinton says in another scene.

The announcer closes by saying “The truth hurt. And Obama didn’t like it.”

This ought to be a lot of fun. And frankly, I have no idea what to expect. I could see the ad being very effective. But it also tosses a big softball to Hillary Clinton, who will speak to a national audience on Tuesday. The risk to the Republicans can be summarized in five words: “Shame on You, John McCain”. A finger-wagging, how-dare-you moment by either of the Clintons at the convention — but especially Hillary — could be both effective and therapeutic, especially when coupled with a reminder that McCain voted against measures like SCHIP (and voted to impeach her husband).

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By the way, this involves some voodoo math, but it appears to me that Barack Obama’s overall advantage over John McCain in Rasmussen’s one-day sample was 3 points. Rasmussen’s numbers had been oscillating between a 1 and 2 point lead for Obama for several days now, so there may be a teensy-tiny bump here, but it’s within the margin of error.

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