The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Pollster

Obama 2008 vs. Jackson 1988

By Jon Cohen
Former president Bill Clinton caused a stir this week by comparing Barack Obama's success in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson's in 1988 and 1984. But an analysis of the data shows that, while there are some similarities, Obama has already crossed racial divides in his presidential bid that Jackson never did.

In overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire, Obama significantly outperformed Jackson, and Obama has broader national appeal now than Jackson did 20 years ago.

Obama picked up 38 percent of Iowa caucusgoers this month; Jackson scored just 9 percent in 1988. There was a similarly wide 37 percent to 8 percent gap between how the two did in the New Hampshire primary.

It is true that Obama's 55 percent share of the vote in South Carolina is about equal to Jackson's reported support from 1988. But in 1988 the state party held caucuses, not a primary, drawing fewer than a tenth the number of voters who turned out this year. (Jackson was also born in the state.)

Continue reading at Behind the Numbers >>

Posted at 1:14 PM ET on Jan 28, 2008  | Category:  The Pollster
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Hillary Clinton no respeta a nuestra gente los partidarios de Hillary Clinton fueron a corte para evitar que la gente que trabaja pueda votar este sábado, eso es vergonzoso. Los partidarios de Hillary Clinton quieren evitar que la gente que trabaja el sábado pueda votar en sus lugares de empleo. ¡Imperdonable! Hillary Clinton no tiene vergüenza.

Hillary Clinton no debería permitir que sus amigos ataquen el derecho de nuestra gente de votar este sábado. Es imperdonable! No hay respeto el senador Barack Obama esta defendiendo nuestro derecho de votar.

El senador Barack Obama quiere nuestros votos, el respeta nuestros votos, nuestra comunidad y a nuestra gente. El lema de la campaña de Barrack Obama es "sí se puede, si se puede". Vote por un presidente que nos respeta y respeta nuestro derecho de votar. Obama para presidente. Si se puede.

Pagada por UNITE HERE.

Posted by: laplumelefirmament | January 29, 2008 7:47 PM


Wow, tough words from a Clinton supporter, and as usual with no credible evidence to support it. Barack Obama does not have a history of perjury as both the Clintons (since apparently it takes BOTH of them to run the White House) do.

Why would Obama play the race card when it does not benefit him to do so? According to your twisted logic, he wanted to inject race into the contest and turn himself into the black candidate for president so he would lose the nomination and spend $100M running for president for fun?

Get real. I know that you don't want to take the side of the Clintons in an argument on credibility and facts, it would put you at too much of a disadvantage. What a loser!

Posted by: kisha_green | January 29, 2008 3:49 PM

What do we expect from Bill Clinton, King of sleaze? Every time he injects another divide and conquer tactic I fume at how I defended him over and over in the past. He has betrayed me and all Democrats who have done the same with his disrespectful behavior. Not only does he disrespect fellow Democrats but also himself. And Hillary has lied about Obama's strong pro-choice record in the Illinois and U.S. Senate to get women in New Hampshire to vote for her. This is not the time to divide people on pro-choice, we must be united behind Senator Obama to uphold women's rights. We must form a majority to elect the best leader, and when Hillary is willing to trick women into voting for her, that leader is Obama!

Posted by: Katy7540 | January 29, 2008 1:13 AM

I am not an Obama supporter -- thank you for finally answering my initial question -- now, I think there's another pending question from me to you on a later thread: "Which law school did you graduate from?"

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 9:28 PM


Which candidate are YOU supporting?

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 9:01 PM

Barack inspires, Bill backfires.

Posted by: FebM | January 28, 2008 7:48 PM


I would have said: "Unless something is shown to me strong and reliable enough to change my mind, I would have voted against the resolution -- while I disagree with Kerry and Edwards on this issue, I agree with them on other issues enough to endorse the ticket -- if I am elected to the U.S. Senate, I will do everything in my power to repeal that authorization to go to war in Iraq, cut the funding, or if the President refuses to bring home the troops, impeach and convict him."

Next question?

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 6:43 PM

Saint Obama's good buddy Rezko was arrested today. Yet that story is going to be buried...just like the story about Obama's chief advisor blaming Clinton for Bhutto's death, his South Carolina chair playing the race card by claiming she didn't cry for Katrina victims, the Obama campaign releasing a memo claiming the Clintons were racist, and Obama comparing Bill to Richard Nixon.

All we'll hear is more stuff about how Hillary is being divisive. Media bias against Hillary is obvious and sickening. Thank you Senator Obama for blowing apart the Democratic party for your own personal ambition. If this is he calls hope and unity, I don't want it!

Posted by: DJK1 | January 28, 2008 6:08 PM

And I've said it before, but I'll say it again - voting to not go to war in the first place and voting to support the troops that are in harms way are two different things. Once you are committed, there is a moral obligation to support the troops and to clean up the mess the invasion made.

Posted by: JayKay2 | January 28, 2008 5:12 PM

JakeD: he said I don't know because at the time reporters were trying to get him to make his fellow democrats look bad, who were running in a race. He stood by his initial statement that he thought the case to go to war was not met but he gave THEM the benefit of the doubt because he was not in the Senate at that time. Anyway, it was a stupid question - what would you have done if you had been a position that you were never in? Ummmm, let me guess, errrr, ummmmm. Gee, I can't say for certain. Fair enough answer to me.

Posted by: JayKay2 | January 28, 2008 5:08 PM

And while you at it - look into the extremely thin basis upon which Clinton ordered airstrikes against Iraq in 1988. Saddam bent over backwards to comply with the weapons inspectors, but people were running him around in circles and the violations of the sanctions that justified the strike were so darn thin - they wanted to strike - they just were looking for enough of a pretext.

Posted by: JayKay2 | January 28, 2008 5:06 PM

Ok - I'm gonna say it. I really don't believe that what Obama said about the sectarian divisions that would be created by invading under the mantle of 'bringing freedom to Iraqi's' was something that would have been unknown to the powers that be.

You only had to look logically at what Saddam was balancing in Iraq. The Kurds were giving him trouble - so he smacked down on them, the Shiites had been giving him trouble - so he smacked down on them. He had to rule with an Iron hand cos that was the only thing that was going to keep the place anywhere near remotely peaceful. He was a Baathist member - who advocated separating religion from the state. There were are number of Shiites in his Government too. He struck with almighty consequences at those who tried to upset the balance as that was the only thing that would keep the balance and not devolve to the massive loss of life we have seen since the US went in and the sectarian divisions were able to go hell for leather on each other.

The US went there for one reason - control over the oil. That's why passing the oil law, which would create a monopoly for the US backed oil companies, was a precondition for America withdrawing their troops. They told the American people you were nobly bringing freedom to the Iraqis so that you would go along with it. Oh yeah, and pumped up this WMD fairy tale to add a little bit of fear to your motivation.

They also would have known that by giving the power to Shiites in Iraq, many of which had been exiled in Iran, that it would pave the way to let Iran in the backdoor. They used this to then start trying to find reason for war against Iran - ongoing there.

With Afghanistan - the Taliban had been blocking the building of a pipeline from the Capsian to the coast, which would have been very profitable to US oil interests. They already had war plans drawn up for Aghanistan prior to 9/11, but not justification to implement them. 9/11 happened and within a month the plan was in action. The leader appointed to Afghanistan had served as a consultant previously on the pipeline - one of his first orders of business upon being elected was to authorize the pipeline.

Now think about the above and consider that perhaps Obama is a good choice because he hasn't taken campaign contributions from the oil companies or anyone else that could corrupt US foreign policy to their ends. Cos if you don't your sons and daughters will continue to be sent to fight for the corporations' profits while you - the taxpayer - foots the bill for the war.

Posted by: JayKay2 | January 28, 2008 4:58 PM

As I already noted, Obama said in 2004 as to how he would have voted if he had been in the Senate at the time "I don't know."

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 4:57 PM

JakeD: They may have voted the same way on additional war funding (for troops, to clean up mess in Iraq, etc), but Obama wasn't in the Senate when Hillary voted for war on Iraq - he was not elected to it then - but he looked at the available information and did not think a case for war had been made. Apparently Clinton didn't bother to read the information.

Posted by: JayKay2 | January 28, 2008 4:37 PM

Can we just strip Bill Clinton of his "first black president" badge once and for all and move on to the next topic of conversation?

Posted by: stardustziggy936 | January 28, 2008 3:50 PM


I've heard that explanation, which hardly warms my heart either -- regardless, it is not "consistently opposed" to the Iraq war, is it?


I don't know, as I would never vote for Hillary Clinton in a million years and haven't tried to comment there either.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 3:30 PM

JakeD - I ask this out of genuine curiosity (full disclosure: I'm an Obama supporter) - have you tried to ask any tough questions on Hillary's blog? I've noticed that on both campaign's websites, the comments are all entirely positive. I assumed that both campaigns only let people post super-positive comments, but maybe my assumption was wrong -- do you know?

Posted by: rebeccakiley | January 28, 2008 3:18 PM

obama said he didn't know how he would have voted just because he didn't want to criticise sen. John kerry

Posted by: gercubaks | January 28, 2008 3:12 PM

I was indeed considering supporting Obama -- I even donated to his campaign -- up until I was banned at his blog for pointing out the truth and asking honest questions. Of course Obama did not vote for the initial authorization -- in fact, he said in 2004 "I don't know." as to how he would have voted if he had been in the Senate at the time -- I was simply making the same point about Obama, since he's been in the U.S. Senate, has voted the same as Hillary on the issue. People like LCGOW seem to think that EXACT SAME voting record indicates that "Obama shows greater promise for change" -- again, I have an honest question about that as well.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 2:47 PM

"JakeD | January 28, 2008 01:58 PM: Obama and Hillary Clinton have both voted the EXACT SAME way on the war in Iraq -- what "change" does Obama promise in that regard?"

Jake D: Come on man, you can tell me - you are secretly for Obama, right? You must be. You keep giving Obama supporters the chance to highlight his superior qualities over Hillary's! First of all, Sen. Obama did not "vote" for Iraq - he wasn't even in the Senate yet. He did, however, while running for the State Senate, speak out openly against the war, eerily predicting that we would end up in the exact situation that we are in now (all that without any Washington experience!!). Since being in the Senate, however, he has voted along with Sen. Clinton to continue to fund the war based on the reasoning that our troops are only doing what they are told by our present Commander in Chief and they should not be left with inadequate means to fight the fight that Bush and Clinton got them into.

Posted by: DedicatedDiva | January 28, 2008 2:37 PM


Obama and Hillary Clinton have both voted the EXACT SAME way on the war in Iraq -- what "change" does Obama promise in that regard?

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 1:58 PM

Bill Clinton does a disservice to all of us with these antics. Does he really think the American public is so gullible? The truth is if Joe Biden, Bill Richardson or John Edwards was threatening HIllary the way Obama is, the Billary machiene would be crafting an "issue" to counterpunch any one of these guys. It just so happens they get to play the race card because it is Obama. Well, America is listening with deep interest to the candidates, given the status of the economy and our position in the world, America is a lot less willing to make judgments based on "sound bytes" like those Bill wants to create -- on the issues, Obama shows greater promise for change and, in the end, that is why he will win.

Posted by: LCGOW | January 28, 2008 1:47 PM

Obama has already beat Jackson's 1984 vote results, where Jackson garnered only 3,282,431 primary votes, or 18.2 percent of the total, winning five primaries and caucuses (as squintz pointed out on the "Crunching Number" thread below), including Louisiana, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, Virginia and one of two separate contests in Mississippi.

In 1988, however, Jackson captured 6.9 million votes and won 11 contests; seven primaries (Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Virginia) and four caucuses (Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina and Vermont). Obama does not have that many yet, and Hillary Clinton won Michigan ; )

For more historical context:

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 1:45 PM

Of course, Barack HUSSEIN Obama has done better than Jesse LOUIS Jackson is some regards -- the Rev. Jackson won ELEVEN contests in 1988 though -- Barack hasn't done that yet.

Posted by: JakeD | January 28, 2008 1:32 PM

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