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Economy Tops Again in Early Exit Polls

By Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta
The economy is issue number one among Democratic voters in both Ohio and Texas, according to preliminary network exit polls. In Ohio, nearly six in 10 voters called it tops; if that holds in the final data it would be the highest of any state that has held a Democratic primary contest so far.

Nearly all Ohio Democratic voters, more than nine in 10, said the national economy is in "not so good" or "poor" shape. In Texas, more than eight in 10 rated the economy negatively. In Ohio, more than eight in 10 said trade deals on average take jobs away from people in their state; nearly six in 10 Texas voters agreed.

"Change" is the most desired attribute for Ohio and Texas Democratic voters, just as it's been in each contest so far.

In Texas, Hispanic turnout was up from 2004, when Latino voters made up about a quarter of all Democratic primary voters. Union members currently make up a smaller share of the Ohio electorate than they did four years ago.

In both states, more voters say Clinton has offered clear and detailed plans to solve the country's problems than said so about Obama. But voters were also more likely to say Clinton has attacked Obama unfairly.

On the GOP side, the economy again took center stage in Ohio. In Texas, by contrast, the economy was challenged for top issue by the war in Iraq and terrorism, with immigration not far behind.

Texas Republican voters were among the least likely of any GOP electorate to say all illegal immigrants should be deported.

A candidate who "shares my values" was the most frequently cited candidate quality among voters in both states. More than four in 10 in both states said McCain's positions on the issues are not conservative for them, about the same as in the other post-Super Tuesday states where voters were asked the question.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 4, 2008; 5:43 PM ET
Categories:  Barack Obama , Hillary Rodham Clinton , Primaries , The Democrats  
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Posted by: Braden avecf | April 9, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I have 2 more things to say about economic tensions and this election cycle. The more the economy worsens, the more people will be focused on experience and business acumen in a politician. Frankly, as much as Obama wants to attack the Clintons, they are known as business-friendly, for Democrats. Business is even behind their Universal Health Care program now, because health insurance is a huge burden on employers now, killing their ability to compete with companies in countries where the businesses don't have to pay for employees' health care. That's part of why the Clintons can get health care costs under control, they have business lined up as stakeholders and allies in their strategy to get Universal Health Care passed.

The things that Clinton has been saying about freezing mortgage foreclosures for 90 days and freezing ARM interest rate resets and other things, that should have gotten passed in the stimulus package that Bush signed into law last month, are absolutely essential to bringing the current subprime disaster under control. The Fed Reserve Chair Bernanke talked about how there has to be some solution, and that there has to be action on stopping or slowing mortgage foreclosures ASAP. His talk is part of the reason why the stock market plummeted in the last couple of days.

Clinton is very astute when it comes to constructive business policy-making and leadership that is also consumer-friendly and helps those at the bottom of the pile of problems. Her solutions are very wise, and constructive for both business and people who are economically oppressed and distressed. Obama is getting a lot of prep and positioning help from Soros and other economic experts, but he's still a vacuous candidate.

As the Fall election nears, the economic problems are going to worsen. The electorate will be deep in a recession that might even be approaching a depression by then, and they won't be optimistically thinking about someone who turns them on. They will turn to someone who has experience and solutions. Obama can't win in the Fall, within the larger backdrop of a worsening economy. He's not the kind of candidate that gets elected in time of trouble; he's a pop candidate for people who are in a narcissistic, pop-culture mood. That is why he works with the latte liberals and not with blue collar liberals.

Posted by: AsperGirl | March 5, 2008 12:30 AM | Report abuse

>>nodebris wrote: "So, how do you describe Ms. Clinton's attacks on NAFTA?"

Clinton didn't "attack" NAFTA. For example, look at the last debate, she was asked the question about NAFTA, whether she had supported it or not. She said that it had been beneficial to local workers in some parts of the country (she cited Laredo, TX, I think, saying it was now a major port city). Then Clinton said that she would seek to renegotiate parts of NAFTA that were detrimental to U.S. workers. I think she cited as an example how the system allows foreign governments to sue over U.S. employee benefits (presumably, to challenge them).

Firstly, these answers Clinton made to questions put to her after Obama made NAFTA a point of contention, weren't "attacks" on NAFTA. She was just responding to Obama's accusations that she and Bill destroyed Ohio's economy with a free trade agreement. Secondly, she was pushed into addressing NAFTA-based complaints only after Obama ran around Ohio complaining about how NAFTA ruined its economy, and it was the Clintons' doing.

Obama, on the other hand, made vague and economically incompetent attacks on NAFTA. It's as if he hasn't been around for the last decade and doesn't realize that NAFTA only accounts for 10% of the import/export economy affecting Ohio. The rest is mostly CHINA. Whatever trade NAFTA started picking up 15 years ago would have gotten sucked up by Chinese imports in the last 10 years anyways. Those manufacturers who weren't able to compete with others in the North American economic block certainly wouldn't have compete with Chinese imports. I.e. NAFTA just takes market share away from Chinese imports, at this point, not U.S. workers.

Furthermore, NAFTA has helped develop North America in Mexico and Canada economically, so that our exports to those two countries have escalated dramatically. We would not have gotten that benefit if that part of our import market that developed under NAFTA had gotten sucked up into Chinese import markets instead.

Obama sounded like a hypocrite or an economic idiot with his hyperbole about NAFTA, a free trade treaty from two decades ago, before the rise of China, India, Malaysia and Indonesia imports. The whole scandal about how his senior advisor told Canada that the NAFTA talk was just political posturing and to not take it seriously, only underscores what a hypocritical and misleading set of rhetoric that NAFTA attack of his was.

He tried to paint NAFTA as a today-cause of Ohio's economic downturn, and make the Clintons own NAFTA, to drive a wedge between Ohio and the Clinton campaign.

Here's a YouTube video of Obama speaking in Ohio, attacking NAFTA and its horrors, and using glib, vague rhetoric about lost jobs, lost homes and nothing that says anything concrete or specific economically. He speaks in all rhetorical, unspecific languages using hot-button words and fiery images, without saying anything real:

"I didn't start criticizing unfair trade deals like NAFTA when I started running for President... I did it when I saw factories close down ..."

He's like a magician. Magically, he delivers what appear to be intellectual speeches that are emotion-evoking, but without actual saying anything concrete or meaningful. His NAFTA speeches were all imagery and hot air, and economically ignorant.

Posted by: AsperGirl | March 5, 2008 12:17 AM | Report abuse

TheBobBob wrote, "voters were also more likely to say Clinton has attacked Obama unfairly."

Posted by: ErikW65 | March 5, 2008 12:14 AM | Report abuse

@AsperGirl: You said:

"Not only were Obama's free trade attacks on Clinton, via her husband's NAFTA, wrong and specious and totally ignorant of a decade of most of the globalization being on the other side of the globe, but he was talking out of both sides of his mouth."

So, how do you describe Ms. Clinton's attacks on NAFTA? Didn't she try to position herself as more sincerely against NAFTA than Mr. Obama? So doesn't your argument make her even more wrong?

Posted by: nodebris | March 4, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

Every time Hillary Clinton really pulls through or has a tough week, I send her another $50. Obama's campaign did teach us that a lot of small donors really add up to very big fundraising difference.

Please donate at

Obama outspent her 2-to-1 in Ohio and Texas, instead of 5-to-1 like in Wisconsin, and big labor unions and were advertising for him. It seems as if his ability to drown her out and use his labor union support against her peters out at about 2-to-1. The tide of small internet donations Clinton got in the last month made a huge difference. Please donate for her wins in Pennsylvania & Mississippi.

Posted by: AsperGirl | March 4, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Campaigning in Ohio, Obama dragged NAFTA up and tried to beat up Clinton with it, as if there were no such thing as oil trade deficits, cheap China imports and outsourcing jobs to India. Not only were Obama's free trade attacks on Clinton, via her husband's NAFTA, wrong and specious and totally ignorant of a decade of most of the globalization being on the other side of the globe, but he was talking out of both sides of his mouth.

While Obama was using NAFTA to beat up Clinton in Ohio, his senior advisor was telling Canada that Obama's NAFTA talk was just political posturing and not to take it seriously.

I've been saying for some time that it's dangerous to buy into a demagogue without knowing what he really is, without examining him closely. This is not the campaigning of a man who can be trusted. Either he's an economic idiot about trade deficits and globalization in the last decade or he's a hypocritical and glib politician.

I think he's a little of both.

I am so sick, by the way, of how bullying and attacking the Obama supporters are, threatening delegates and his supporters being verbally abusive on blogs. I hope he does not become leader of anything.

Posted by: AsperGirl | March 4, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

I got this for you-jabdenour1964

Let me get my history straight - the surplus came after the sale of US bonds, stupid. We got fat for a moment, now is China's turn.
I will advise you to ready extensively from within and outside sources on US economic policy during the Clintons years. Farget...

The main stream media is blocking your already stuff head.
See the light...

Posted by: ordgobaltc | March 4, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

It all shows the electorate in this country is still retarded. The war has caused the economy to tank. Our debt, incurred becausde of the war, has caused the national economy to tank. Stop the war, and in the long run the economy will come back.

Posted by: linda_521 | March 4, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, scout, you're wrong. What all those 'stupid' Americans remember about the Clintons is that during the 1990's the US almost completely stopped selling government debt to anyone, China included, because the budget was in SURPLUS and there was no new debt to sell! (Remember the debates about the 'lock box'?) I'll grant that after seven long years of hideous fiscal mismanagement anyone could be forgiven for forgetting that fact, but it's true. We had to crank up the T-bill press and start peddling gvt debt to China again AFTER the Bush administration came to power. Get your history straight.

Posted by: 661oldpost | March 4, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

"voters were also more likely to say Clinton has attacked Obama unfairly."

Maybe voters are smarter than they're given credit for. Desperate attacks from a failed campaign. The attacks only help McCain. Hilary is already gone and she doesn't even know it yet.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 4, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The Clintons sold US bonds to China to boost our economy in the 90s and they are still being praised for the economic miracle.
What most Americans don't understand is the unequal balance of trade that the deal came alongside with.
Presently China doesn't want US bonds, and guess what is about to happen- - - - - - STUPID FOLKS ARE ABOUT TO ELECT ANOTHER CLINTON.

Wait and see the economic devastation. NAFTA was nothing comparing to what is coming.......

Listen to Clinton's response about Osama. You will be shock.......

Posted by: ordgobaltc | March 4, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

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