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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 01/ 9/2008

Why We Got it Wrong

By Michael Dobbs


The pundits were wrong

So the prose candidate won, at least on the Democratic side. The Fact Checker misread the tea leaves, along with the rest of the media. I am going to steer away from prognostications in the future, but I owe you a few thoughts on why we were all wrong.


  • We paid too much attention to the size of the crowds turning out for Obama. It is true that he got larger and generally more enthusiastic crowds than Clinton, but that did not translate into more votes. A significant minority of the people (perhaps 30-40 percent) who attended Obama rallies were undecided voters. (We know this because he usually asked for a show of hands at the beginning of the rally.) It is now clear that he did not always make the sale.


  • Hillary Clinton gained last-minute traction with her argument, echoing Mario Cuomo, that "you campaign in poetry, but you govern in prose." She convinced many wavering voters that she and Obama both wanted change, but that she may be more effective in delivering it.


  • The Iowa defeat humbled the once "inevitable" Clinton, and turned her into a better candidate. As she said in her victory speech, "Over the last week I listened to you, and in the process I found my own voice." She began taking real questions from her audiences, and answering them, in contrast to Obama who was caught up in his own rhetoric. The Obama rally that I attended was more akin to a revival meeting than a political conversation. There was no question-and-answer session. Obama did not do much listening.


  • Voters are simply contrarian, particularly in New Hampshire. If the media tell them they are going to vote for a certain candidate, they are quite capable of turning around and clipping that person's wings. They brought Clinton back to earth after she was 20 points ahead in the polls and seemingly uncatchable, and they did something similar to Obama on Tuesday night, in New Hampshire. The voters want a race, not a coronation.


  • Now, back to fact checking. Please send in your suggestions.

    By Michael Dobbs  | January 9, 2008; 10:43 AM ET
    Categories:  Barack Obama, MSM Watch  
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    Comments

    It is just her fake cry that won and nothing else.

    Posted by: alfa2 | January 9, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

    Mr. Dobbs,

    Cast your vote for Hillary when your primary rolls around and let us make up our own minds. Your objectivity is sliding.

    Just the facts, please.

    Posted by: RPW | January 9, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

    One key factor that probably helped Clinton, and is not mentioned sufficiently, is the obvious downturn in the economy. If you listen to yesterday's speeches, you'll notice that Obama continued to focus on process (new way of doing things versus old) while Clinton highlighted the economic difficulties of Americans and her commitment to address them as president. As the economy worsens in the coming months, the candidate who is perceived as being more able to turn the economy around, will do well. At present, that candidate is Hillary Clinton.

    Posted by: Sebastian, Buenos Aires | January 9, 2008 11:45 AM | Report abuse

    You really need to change the title of this column.

    Posted by: zukermand | January 9, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

    " I am going to steer away from prognostications in the future"

    Best news I've read all day.

    Posted by: zukermand | January 9, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

    I like all the talk about Sen. Obama being the candidate to run all the way to November. Unfortunately its flawed.

    We live in a nation of color, especially when it comes to politics. Red and Blue states. Yellow-dog democrats. It is sad but true to say that Mr. Obama is the wrong color. Its not that he's too black -- he's too green. He's too inexperienced to win a general election.

    For all of his comparisons to JFK, Mr. Obama did not have 14 years in Congress under his belt, nor was he a war hero.

    Could you imagine an Obama-McCain election? Sen. McCain will trounce Sen. Obama on experience and national security. The realism of fear always trumps the poetry of hope. Look at how the Republicans swiftboated Kerry. They'll do worse to a man who has no military background and has openly admitted to hard drug use.

    If the rest of the Democratic party is half as smart as those party goers in New Hampshire, Sen. Clinton or Sen. Edwards will get the nomination.

    Posted by: thesportsguy | January 9, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

    look, obama has experience - 8 years in the illinois senate, 3 years in the US senate (more years ELECTED experience than Clinton). if he can bring the chicago police department and the ACLU together to pass gun legislation, that's someone who can bring conservative republicans, insurance companies and liberal democrats together to pass health care reform. if he can get cloakroom politicians of the illinois machine to pass ethics reform, then he can get iran to stop funding insurgents in iraq.

    the other thing is that NH voters are infuriating. Contrarian? what's the point? why should they be first if they're going to lead us down not the RIGHT path, but a CONTRARIAN(!) path? Let's remember that the person NH voters chose in 1992 (Tsongas) didn't win. It was the person in second place in NH who won.

    Posted by: plathman | January 9, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

    As a resident and voter of New Hampshire,I was surprised at the victory this state gave Hillary. After studying the exit polling, the following seems to be apparent...(1)it reaffirms what enlightened Iowans showed....America will vote for an accomplished black man for president,as least in the North...(2)going forward, gender is now "up front, and on the burner"; women voted for a woman ...older and younger women with no college background went with Hillary with over a 23% split....it may be hard to argue going forward that the Democratic party is not the "mommy party" that will need big government to keep all the mommies happy.That is not derogatory on my part,that is what the voters stated.(3)The mommy issue was the strong suit and if there were any racist undertones anywhere, they were hardly visible and certainly muted.(4)Much larger participation in the Democratic primary versus the Republican party showed conclusively that New Hampshire is now solidly blue and would go Democrat in the general election. However,the "gender" card is now front row and both men and women need to tread carefully...maybe this discussion is long overdue.

    Posted by: Alan | January 9, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

    Pundits and pollsters should be all ashamed of yourselves by now! But I still wonder if the commenter Alfa2 is really Maureen Dowd. There is so much similarity in the contents in all of his/her comments on all the blogs out today. Or could she/he be another WRONG pollster. The voters have spoken - so get over it. Hillary is no. 1 !

    Posted by: You Go Girl! | January 9, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

    Mr. Dobbs you got it wrong along with the rest of the so called "experts" simply because you were so busy listening to each other(in the media) that you forgot the most important person you should listen to-the voter. You were so caught up in the artificial wave(who coined that-the media?)
    you missed all the signs and signals that were hitting you in the face. Hillary's composure in the debate when two bullies ganged up on her(women and many men don't like that)and her hours spent answering questions that showed she knew her stuff. The obvious human and charming side of her that has always been there, ,came shining through for all to see, shining light on the lie the press loves to label her with -that she is cold and calculating . I think another thing that didn't play well in N. H. was the incident on the bus in Iowa with the female witches of the media who turned a sweet gesture on the part of Hillary into an eye opener of how totally prejudiced they are against her. Maybe(but I'd bet not) this will be a wake up call to the media to get off their rear ends and get out and find out what is really going on in the campaigns, instead of interviewing each other and coming up so wrong. I wonder if any of you will be able to eat eggs again since so much wound up on your face?

    Posted by: song123123 | January 9, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

    Clinton won because she talked issues, Obama preached

    Posted by: trace | January 9, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

    To me this was an-anti corporate media message loud and clear that the media (FC included) should pay attention to. Having watched the video, Hillary Clinton did not cry. What amazed(and infuriated)me was that it was the media that created this story completely. Why did the media not simply run the video and THEN and ONLY then if actual voters thought there was something going on, decide to run all the "how will voters feel about Hillary's desperate breakdown?" My thought after seeing it was that had I been at the event I don't know if that moment would have even warranted a comment if I were to describe it to someone later.

    FC pay attention. Voters are not stupid. We are tired of the media interfering with the democratic process. Fact for you: Muskie did NOT cry. It was snow on his face. Yet, this man is STILL defamed with apparent disregard to the truth by who? The media. Howard Dean's "scream" was artificially enhanced and altered by CNN- which they apologized for later. Well, after the election. The rest of the media glibly continues to repeat the 'scream' story without acknowledging their ridiculous role in promoting it. The paper that "broke" the story about Guiliani's misuse of security has printed an official retraction. Buried on page 39. None of the media that made a huge deal about it have shown the repsonsibility to give equal airtime to ensuring people know about the retraction.

    So, consider this. Perhaps voters (Democrats in particular) actually remember what you all did to Dean. And remember their anger upon learning the actual truth of CNN's behavior. And took note of the media's lack of responsibiity in correcting their own mistruths. And actually watched the video of Hillary's "breakdown". This voter sure did. I am not a Hillary supporter but I will not stand by and watch corporate media use its power and influence to alter this election. No way. I have spoken to so many Democrats who feel exactly the same way. Report the news, don't try to create it. Listen to the voters and then there is your story. Don't tell voters what "will" matter to them and then push that line as our agenda. Most importantly, stop usurping the democratic process. Be a facilitator of democracy.

    Posted by: Erin | January 9, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

    If Mike Huckabee had made racial comments about a leading black candidate or sexist comments about a leading female candidate, he would have been castigated by the media. How he was able to launch his surge on religious bigotry is dumbfounding to me. It seems that everyone is oblivious to the obvious.

    In the event that Mitt Romney does not win the nomination, then history will show that Mike Huckabee pulled off the political crime of the century. It was Mike Huckabee that raised religious issues among Iowa evangelicals by comments toward Romney's religion.

    As Huckabee's tactics started to show in the Iowa polls, Mitt responded with his "Faith in America" speech. Romney was then forced to work on damage control. Romney's efforts in Iowa payed off and he continued to rise back in the polls but the damage gave him a second in a state he held firmly until Huckabee's misuse of the public forum.

    McCain saw his window and concentrated on New Hampshire while Romney was being unduely "occupied" in Iowa. Romney was forced to agressively address things detracting from what his positive messaging had been and did so famously. Romney then relied on comparison ads to contrast differences. These ads were constantly referred to as "attack ads" by Huckabee, who continually portrayed him as "desperate", and "attacking".

    Now Huckabee is able to capitalize on such tactics. Because of his use of the majority evangelical state of Iowa and with the ignorance of the media toward the Mormon religion, he flew under the radar of a nation that has worked since Lincoln to erase such bigotry.

    A majority of the nation now sees only that Mike Huckabee won the Iowa caucus and know nothing of the back story. I think it important to present it. Observe for yourself and pass these perspectives along. We need a TRUE man for change and a proven record of turning things around in the oval office.

    Vote Mitt Romney

    Posted by: Kelly Warnick | January 9, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

    All the white men with egg on their faces this morning need to stop talking to other white men and start reporting the news.

    Posted by: CarolAnne1 | January 9, 2008 1:21 PM | Report abuse

    Obama admits campaign/PAC donation linksBad news for the Barack Obama camp and his politics of hope clean-guy image.The Washington Post reveals today that there was, indeed, close coordination between the Illinois senator's presidential campaign and his leadership PAC, Hopefund, in deciding which local, state and federal politicians around the country were to receive thousands of dollars in contributions from Obama's PAC.Such coordination appears to be forbidden under Federal Election Commission rules because it, in effect, would give a candidate another, less regulated financial fund to influence the outcome of his own campaign. But Obama officials express confidence they violated no rules. The Post's John Solomon reported the other day that Obama's Hopefund had distributed money in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire to people like New Hampshire state Sen. Jacayln Cilley, who got $1,000 from Obama last summer. Six days later the Democrat in the nation's first primary state announced her endorsement of his candidacy because she said she believed in him.Likewise, Obama's PAC gave $9,000 to U.S. Rep. Paul Hodes, who was New Hampshire's first congressional member to endorse Obama. In the earlier story Obama spokesmen denied any connection between the PAC and Democratic presidential campaign.But today's piece alters that account and says the PAC has distributed $180,000 to groups and candidates in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa and another $150,000 to similar destinations in states with primary balloting through mid-February.Bob Bauer, private counsel for both Obama's campaign and PAC, named names of those from the campaign who'd help select the PAC's recipients and professed confidence the Obama entities had met all FEC regulations.But Scott Thomas, a Democrat and former FEC chairman, says: "He is clearly pushing the envelope."

    Posted by: dyck21005 | January 9, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

    Obama he has managed to avoid media bias that's been against Clinton. "Obama, through an unprecedented convergence of luck has never before faced serious attack yet, Media refuses to show he is a phony, someone whose lofty rhetoric isn't born out in his own public record. WELL UNTIL SENATOR CLINTON BEAT HIM IN NH...Now his lack of foreign policy experience and showing he isn't ready to lead in a dangerous world. His votes in the Senate to fund the Iraq war even as he tried to position himself as the strongest anti-war candidate. facts show he always supports the war, voted twice in 2006 against bringing America's troops back home, votes for war appropriations giving our money to Halliburton and Blackwater, voted with Bush on posturing S 433 which allows the Bush to suspend any troop withdrawal! Record also shows Obama faced with tough choices always gave in to pressure from Bush admin and corporate lobbyists. Obama voted for Bush's energy bill, sending more than $13 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to oil, coal, and nuclear companies, voted with Repub to allow credit card companies to raise interest rates over 30 percent, increasing hardship for families. "He talks about change but has no real record of making change. Lastly his use of the race card will not play well nationally, We are absolutely sick of obama saying hes not running on race, but thats all he offering and all we are talking about!!!!, he is a self proclaimed Black Racist. Again media attacks Romneys Mormon faith but refuses to discuss obama church. Go to website to know what he believes. http://www.tucc.org/about.htm. I think the media needs to be held accountable! ALL the candidates should have been given the same treatment. All these OLD men who own these media outlets are afraid of an educated strong woman like Senator Clinton. Is why they attack her on clothes, wrinkles etc...And refuse to show her in any positive light. They have completely lost CREDIBILITY FOXs Kristol, CNN, MSNBC etc...Are just the "Enquire on TV.

    Posted by: dyck21005 | January 9, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

    on intelligence, hillary wins. on guts, hillary wins. on a lifetime record of working for issues important to the american people, hillary wins. on EXPERIENCE, hillary wins.

    on oratoricak skills, obama wins. vote obama for speaker of the year!

    vote clinton for president!

    Posted by: mikel1 | January 9, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

    I hope that you -- and other news pundits -- keep your promises to stop the prognostications, the hype, and the other silliness that passes for "news" about the candidates. Iowa and New Hampshire are only 2 of 50 states in this union--and winners or losers in either or both of these states hardly makes a winning or losing candidate. A "disaster" for Clinton in Iowa? for Obama in New Hampshire? Get a grip, folks! We've got 48 more primaries to get through, and . . . it isn't over 'til it's over!!! The more the media babbles on about what this or that win or loss means, the more they look like the bobbing, talking empty heads they have become. How about trying NOT to jump on a bandwagon for a change????

    Posted by: Sue Boulais | January 9, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

    Politics 101: The only poll that counts is the one in the election booth.

    New Hampshire people acted on the polls as if they were set in stone. Some didn't both to vote, particularly if the lines were long. Obama was going to win in a landslide anyway, right? Others thought they could vote tactically, have their cake and eat it too. They really disliked Romney and realized if McCain didn't win in NH, he would be toast. Women in particular didn't want to see another woman lose in DOUBLE-DIGITS - even those whose first choice was really Obama.

    Experience is a hard teacher, but better New Hampshire than California or another state with lots of delegates.

    Posted by: TomJx | January 9, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

    One addition. Let's see a poll of '04 Dean supporters in NH and how they voted this time. It might surprise the media.

    Posted by: erin | January 9, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

    The media "got it wrong" because they wanted Hillary to lose and Obama to win. You (they) were blinded by your own wishful thinking and bile. The general coverage of Hillary has been odious, vindictive, and mean, while Obama-the-Wonderboy has avoided tough scrutiny and is basically treated like a Hollywood celebrity - except more touchy-feely. The media, all in all, has behaved in a disgusting and thoroughly unprofessional manner, barely hiding their disdain and contempt for the woman. That's why you 'got it wrong'.

    Posted by: Splatter | January 9, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse

    She won because people felt sorry for her. Her core constituency came out old, poor and uneducated women came out in droves. You know the WOMEN WITH NEEDS! Stop with the experience crap she was just married to the President. She is has no real experience.

    What happened? Some say the Bradley Affect. Who knows? The question is will she win SC or Nevada? Who will have the momentum going into Feb 5th?

    Here is a tip/exclusive WAPO. Take a listen to black talk radio. Their mad because the Clinton campaign used racial politics (you know the drug dealer, Muslim Manchurian candidate, fairy tale thing). I sense backlash. So much for Bill Clinton being the first Black Pres.

    Posted by: TennGurl | January 9, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

    One additional thought on why you were wrong: You are idiots.

    Posted by: kanling | January 9, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

    When is someone going to mention that NH is over 95% white??

    Posted by: Wondering... | January 9, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

    HILARY deserved to win and you guys should all realize what the media is doing... they OBVIOUSLY want a REPUBLICAN president because... SURPRISE! the media is SO damn conservative. and how will they ensure a republican president? a WEAK INCOMPETENT democratic candidate aka BARACK OBAMA. im sorry to break it down to you guys, but america will not vote for a black president, at least not in this decade. that's just the simple truth and you may argue all you want but come election day, do you REALLY think you'll vote for obama? i didn't think so.

    why does everyone fear clinton and try to portray her in such a NEGATIVE aspect? b/c she is a STRONG EDUCATED woman who is MORE qualified than Bush and any other republican/democratic candidates. so keep demeaning and condescending her but dont be surprised when she becomes our first female commander in cheif. that's all.

    Posted by: Kid from the capital | January 9, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

    What's contrarian about the two most inside candidates winning the NH primaries? Obviously, New Hampshire is not independent at all, as the most establishment candidates always win there. Gore, Kerry, Clinton... all establishment types who won NH but do not appeal to independents.

    New Hampshire bowed down to the beltway yesterday. There is nothing independent about that... quite the opposite, in fact.

    Posted by: errinfamilia | January 9, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

    Thank you NH for nixing the Coronation planned by Big Media, Pundits and Pollsters.

    You restore my faith in America.

    Any my primary vote will actually count for a change.

    Posted by: dedalus | January 9, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

    "Could you imagine an Obama-McCain election? Sen. McCain will trounce Sen. Obama on experience and national security."

    Common Clinton talking point about Obama. Head to head polls show Obama winning against ALL Republican rivals. Pro-Iraq McCain is not going to be a match for Obama in a general election. New Hampshire may not want change, but the rest of the country does. Obama appeals to independents... Hillary doesn't. General elections are decided by the independents. Gore and Kerry never appealed to the swing voters... looks like Hillary will be doing the same. Once again, the Democratic establishment would rather back an insider that can lose rather than an outsider that can win.

    Posted by: errinfamilia | January 9, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

    Experience aside, anyone can make a promise of "change" and many people who don't research the facts, will embrace the word regardless of how empty. The people of New Hampshire looked beneath the empty speeches and had the courage to ask HOW. Hillary Clinton not only has embraced the aspect of change, but has affected change in her career. Look at what she's done relative to children's health insurance or for the first responders/volunteers of 9/11. If the country would look honestly at experience, change and all the other elements brought forth in this campaign, they will easily see who is the stronger candidate and most capable of fixing the wrongs of the last seven years

    Posted by: John E | January 9, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

    Actually, everybody got it wrong because they forgot that you can vote in an opinion poll twice, but only once in an actual election. Obama's particular constituency is the marginalized, the disaffected, and the new, adventurous, voter. When they vote, along with his more ordinary portion of the Democratic Party, he has a big lead over Hillary, who draws that portion of the Democratic Party that is more reality based, and more pragmatic, and more cynical.

    In New Hampshire, that chunk of Barack potential voters decided that in this case they would use McCain to send the REPUBLICANS a message: No Status Quo! Thus McCain got a resounding boost, and Barack sparred with Hillary for the more mainstream voters.

    Analysis of polls, and of primaries, needs to adjust to the fact that this election isn't like those since Nixon, where both parties had their candidate before the conventions. This time it might be that the Dems split 30, 30, 15, 10, and all the rest. (HC/BO/JE/BR/ and the rest to specify) Given that breakdown, who makes up the ticket in the fall? It could as easily be Ted Strickland and Evan Bayh, when the calculations are finished.

    The Republican convention could be even less decided going in, and any dark horse at all could get the nomination. It could be another Tom Dewey, Alf Landon, Wendel Wilkie, or Warren Harding. Go see who hasn't actually made enough enemies yet and watch him.

    When you model a speed boat on a Nimitz class Air Craft Carrier, don't expect your speed boat to make an equivalent wake. When you model your Aircraft Carrier on a speed boat, don't expect to be able to steer it.

    The analysts who rebuild their election coverage models to what is actually happening will be a lot more accurate that the ones who try to make the election fit their models.

    Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | January 9, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

    No matter the poetry or the prose; Hillary won New Hampshire because she played the sympathy card and shed tears. That puts me back to square one as to who I should cast my vote for.

    Posted by: Carla S. Harvey | January 9, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse


    Why you got it wrong?

    You got it wrong because the large majority of NH white females voted for "CryMeAriverally" and all of the NH white males who couldn't bring themselves to vote for "CryMeAriverally" decided they'd rather vote for a white republican than a democrat black man.

    That's why you got it wrong.

    Posted by: The 9th Circuit | January 9, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

    Mike1, I agree completely:

    on intelligence, hillary wins. on guts, hillary wins. on a lifetime record of working for issues important to the american people, hillary wins. on EXPERIENCE, hillary wins.

    on oratoricak skills, obama wins. vote obama for speaker of the year!

    vote clinton for president!

    Posted by: mikel1 | January 9, 2008 01:36 PM

    and the media needs to report and not create fairytales as Bill Clinton so aptly put it.

    Posted by: way to go girl | January 9, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

    Politics 101 - Voter Fraud

    Posted by: US-Citizen | January 9, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

    So - now this race is between Hillary and the media? Maybe the other candidates should sit this one out until the two of them settle this ongoing feud. If it's like this now, geeeezzz. Thank goodness for Netflix!

    Posted by: Micheleagram | January 9, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

    For those who keep harping on Obama's experience, remember this: Lincoln was not a particularly successful businessman, had about as many years in the IL legislature as Obama, was never a senator nor a governor. Granted, the intricacies of the Presidency were not as complex as they are today. . .Oh, wait! There was that pesky Civil War that he managed to guide the country through, in spite of what I'm sure many viewed as "limited experience". The stakes couldn't have been higher back then. WE WERE KILLING EACH OTHER! We could have split into two or three nations instead of being brought together as one. At least this time we have the choice of an Illinois SENATOR.

    Posted by: Micheleagram | January 9, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

    You're wrong, Dobbs, about Hillary gaining traction with her argument of "poetry vs. prose". Hillary won because of women feeling sorry for her, helped by Gloria Steinem's op-ed piece and the media's constant battering, not any issues or arguments.

    Posted by: Pamela | January 9, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

    Well I was going to vote for Obama but I stayed at home because you were all so sure he didnt need my vote...

    Posted by: JOHN COUSIN | January 9, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

    EVERYBODY CALM DOWN! NH was the first primary and only the second state where people voted. There are a lot of primaries left. Just turn down your TV's and live your lives (and ignore the pundits, they're bad for your blood pressure).

    Posted by: CT | January 9, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

    mccain 08

    Posted by: Anonymous | January 9, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

    "I am going to steer away from prognostications in the future"

    I'll bet you don't, and neither will anyone else. More to the point, why should you? Making prognostications is your job. Sometimes you'll get it horribly wrong, that's how it goes, what matters is learning from when things go wrong.

    Posted by: trev | January 9, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

    The most important thing for you to learn, in my opinion, from the NH results is to apply principles of journalistic skepticism to the polls themselves -- don't accept them, without "fact checking" the accuracy of their sampling assumptions and methodolgies, the randomness of the survey sample, the nature of the questions asked, the percentage of undecideds, the statistical margin of error.

    Posted by: JChoukasBradley | January 9, 2008 8:15 PM | Report abuse

    Very scary. I still don't think this country, is enough evolved from the chimps, to elect either a darker skin, nor a female to the presidency. Which leaves us with a GOP again. And, more war.

    But wait, isn't that what the chimps do?

    Posted by: linda_521 | January 9, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

    the polls were wrong because the "unlikely voters" voted. The women of NH finally woke up and got mad,and here's hoping the rest wake up! go home obama

    Posted by: mike, demorest ga | January 9, 2008 11:03 PM | Report abuse

    Senator Clinton won simply because among the Democrats she is the best qualified to win the nomination, the best candidate to win the general elections and especially between her, Obama and Edwards the best qualified to lead this nation.

    I stopped watching Chris Matthews' "Hardball", and much of NBC/MSNBC, because of the overwhelming bashing of Senator Clinton and the almost childish worshiping of a two year Senator who has a gift for oratory but has no real substance behind this gift.

    The outright hatred by some against Senator Clinton, a person that obviously has never did anything negatively to this country or to these people personally to warrant such behavior, borders on the neurotic.

    To these either obsessed or neurotic people I ask, what has she done to warrant such hateful and mean spirited behavior on your part?

    There wasn't anything wrong with the polls. The problem lied mainly with the biased attitude of many of the Clinton haters whose mouths ran for so long and so loud that the pollsters stopped crunching the numbers and started to listen to these people who thought their neurotic vitriolic speeches of hate toward Senator Clinton could persuade the electorate to vote for someone other than Mrs. Clinton.

    New Hampshire wasn't a fluke nor were the people there fooled by an emotion (Senator Clinton NEVER cried).

    Racism was not why she won neither was it due to anything that former President Bill Clinton said.

    The reason Senator Clinton won is that the New Hampshire voters looked at all the Democratic candidates and asked themselves who is the best qualified candidate among these that we have to pick from that can lead this nation from day one without having to have on the job training?

    Who can step into the Oval Office and start correcting the mistakes of arguably the worst President this country has seen in the past 50 years if not since it's beginning?

    Who has the experience in foreign policy; a plan for affordable health care for all it's citizens; a plan to bring about true economic growth to all and not just to the moneyed elite and the ability to lead the Democratic party to a victory in the general elections?

    When these things were asked only one name came to those that went to cast their ballot for the next President of the United States and that name was Senator Hillary Clinton.

    Mrs. Clinton has earned my vote by her intelligence and leadership abilities and no media critic; no obsessive/neurotic hater and certainly no damn poll can persuade me to change it.

    Posted by: (Jack)ie | January 10, 2008 3:21 AM | Report abuse

    Senator Clinton proved the "experts" wrong!!! She really has shown that substance, experience, and her "proven" ability for enabling change, along with a lifelong passion and experience in actually helping the majority of Americans, is what the voters care more about when choosing the best leader for this next critical term as president! Voters are not listening to the slanted views of the media "pundits" who care more about drama and a "story", rather than reporting the truth... Americans are smarter than the "sheep" they believe we are! The NH voters proved this!!!...

    Thank goodness people are finally waking up and realizing that although Obama is a brilliant orator and nice person, he lacks the actual skill, leadership, experience, and ability to truly make change happen and lead our country... talk is cheap at this point - Look at his record as a State Senator in Illinois and in DC!!! Whenever he is presented with a difficult vote, he doesn't even take a stand - he votes "present"!!! He voted "present," effectively sidestepping issues nearly 130 times as a state senator. On a sex crime bill, Mr. Obama cast the only vote in a 58-to-0 vote!! He barely has any record for doing much as a US Senator in Washington DC, but what is interesting is that he said he would vote against the Patriot Act, yet when he joined the US Senate, he voted for it!! He said he would vote against the Iraq war, and then voted for funding, AND, he SKIPPED a tough vote on Iran, distorted what the bill authorized, and criticized those who voted for it!! This does not show the true leadership that is required for creating the change we desperately need! He's not the "outsider" that his campaign is trying to make him out to be - yes, he has fantastic speeches, but his record shows otherwise...it proves that he is more of the typical "sidestepping" polititian and lawyer that we have seen before, who lacks the "real" leadership to get things done. The Republicans will have a field day with Obama if he ever got lucky enough to win the Democratic ticket!!!

    Rookies are not needed right now to run the country in the most important job in the world.... Remember the last "rookie" who used "likeability" without substance or experience to get elected? Back then, people liked GW Bush, they didn't care that he lacked experience because he talked in generalities and made us feel good. Well guess what, he won the White House and got us into this mess!! - GW Bush ran a very similar campaign as Obama, and his inexperience has been a disaster for our country!!.... Gore and Kerry warned all of us, but we didn't listen. Obama can talk in generalities - anyone can do this, but he has no clear plan, no clear ideas, shows a lack of "true" leadership by avoiding difficult decision-making as proven by his actual voting record, and lacks the "real world" experience to deliver on his unsubstantiated promises and "generalities" for change...Hopefully people won't make the same mistake we made with Bush by believing in another rookie with Obama.

    Americans will take this critical vote very seriously for 2008 by choosing the best person who has already proven she can lead with success, has already brought about "real" change, and can truly pull our country together to restore our reputation and our world position as the leaders we were once considered. With former President Bill Clinton by Hillary's side, we will all prosper from such an amazing team that will help bring our country back from the difficulties that we have encountered with the Bush administration... especially with the economic difficulties and international issues we are already facing today and will face over the next few years. No more rookies and false impressions, folks - let's put the best team in the White House!! Senator Clinton is the "real" change Americans need! Go Hillary!!! The country believes in you and your ability to "truly" lead and enable "real" change as our next great President!!!

    Posted by: akchonan | January 10, 2008 5:40 AM | Report abuse

    The media simply got it wrong because of their obvious bias. Anytime you listen to so called analyst review and preview events, nothing stares you in the face more than "hey, guys, we know what is right for the country and sure want it done". The role of the media is to inform, educate and entertain. Not to dictate. There is an un-mitigated Clinton-bashing by the media. The privilege of communication is being mis-used to manipulate the process. Let the voters speak.

    Posted by: KOLA | January 10, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

    For those of you who have posted comments worthy of an A+ on a 5pg. essay, congrats! You offically have no life. I'll keep it simple. Clinton has already been in the White House, made sure that Osama bin Laden
    slipped through our fingers because of a paperwork and policy problem, and screwed up their grand and glorious plans for a universal health care system. If they did that bad of a job in the nineties, who's to say that they won't do as bad now? Some may say they learn through experience, and that downfalls are good because they provide that experience. But that's a child's lesson. The White House, and this country, are not to be toyed with. You cannot mess up a leadership role here and expect to be trusted for another term. No second-chances, and that's how the real world sees it.

    Posted by: violino1 | January 10, 2008 10:13 AM | Report abuse

    I am not voting on the basis of race or gender. I believe Hillary is the best canidiate based on her experience. She is smart and knowledgeable. We can allow the media to influence us or read the canidiates records. I too, watched the video several times of her emotion at the diner. At no time did I see a tear. Yet, all of the commentators consistently said she cried. Remember how voters were influnced by the media against Kerry. We can take a chance on experience, or a great motiovational speaker. MSNBC and the CNN News Channels are awful...not balanced. From day one, Hillary has been the first topic of Chris Matthews. Never Obama.

    Posted by: nita | January 10, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

    I wish people would stop factoring Bill Clinton into Hillary's ability to lead the country. If Bill died tomorrow what would you have to go on then??? Anyone can have excellent help in the White House. That's what AIDES are for.

    All this speculation about why she won in NH is ridiculous. You're just as bad as the media trying to distort any film clip or sound byte they can get their hands on. The bottom line is Obama won Iowa and Clinton won NH, now we're back to square one. You want this to be objective? Let's start talking like it.

    Posted by: Melissa | January 10, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

    "Obama has experience - 8 years in the Illinois state senate, 3 years in the US senate (more years experienced in getting ELECTED then that of Clinton)"

    This is such an important fact.

    Which, by the way Hillary Clinton was only able to win a US Senate seat based purely on the popularity of Bill Clinton and name recognition in New York State of all places, why not Arkansas there home state.

    Unfortunately, most people like the "thesportsguy" are un-informed.

    At the end of the day, Hillary R. Clinton won by ONLY 2%. Obama is the real agent for change. I've learned in my years of experience, that the person with the least amount of exposure to the system and status quo has the greatest positive impact and reform.

    In my opinion her "choked-up" moment was only a reflection of her campaign going down the drain. Fact of the matter is the person who posed the question that caused her to get emotional-- voted for Obama!

    The pollsters didn't get it wrong. "The Media" decided to focus all of their efforts and attention on the 3rd place finisher (Clinton) coming out of Iowa as opposed to the rightfully 2nd place finisher (Edwards). In any race in the world, people can barely remember who finishes 2nd, let alone 3rd! Pollsters figured Edwards would do better then he did and maybe he would have if the focus was on his 1st and 2nd place, not 1st and 3rd because it makes for a better story on the 5 o'clock news.

    Posted by: George Bernard | January 10, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

    violino1: "But that's a child's lesson. The White House, and this country, are not to be toyed with. You cannot mess up a leadership role here and expect to be trusted for another term. No second-chances, and that's how the real world sees it."

    You did put that in writing. So tell me, just who the H IS president? Cause the BushCheney dual anused monarchy had so obviously screwed up their first four years that, based on your great faith in the electorate, it CAN'T be them.

    Osama, and the 9/11 terrorists slipped through our fingers becasue George wanted a terrorist incident to give him grounds for war with Iraq. So he ignored his personal briefings about al Quaeda, and his subordinates made sure that the Intelligence people couldn't foul up and remind him of that.

    Hillary care failed because the Republicans were scared silly that the poor might actually get health care, and Clinton get the credit, so they did an ax job on it that the "Willie Horton" people could be jealous of.

    There is not one aspect of the Clinton nineties that, could George show anywhere near as positive results, he wouldn't be just overjoyed to advertise.

    I'll take the Clinton nineties back in a heart beat. Will you take the Bush Zero's all over again, for eight more years?

    Posted by: ceflynline@msn.com | January 10, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

    Some voters choose the opposing party ballot and vote for a candidate most likely to win the primary but lose the election. Not many people brag about doing that, although I have met people in NH who admit to cross-voting. Would they tell a pollster who they really plan to vote for? No, I think they will say who they really want to be President.

    Maybe a good number of Republicans voted for Clinton, and told pollsters they were voting for a Republican.

    Posted by: Mike | January 10, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

    OH YES! THE MEDIAS/PRESS/PUNDITS AND JOHN EDWARDS & OBAMA, ALL GANGGING UP AGAINST HILLARY SO SHE WILL BE DEFEATED, CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE MEDIA FOR HER TO LOSE!! AND THAT'S SUCKS!! MEDIAS GIVE A FREE RIDE TO OBAMA NOT CRITICIZING HIM ABOUT HIS DRUGS COCAINE USED, HIS GRANTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DRIVERS LIC WHEN HE WAS ILLINOIS SEN.AND WHEN THIS ISSUE WAS RAISED BY TIM RUSSET WHO LOOKED MAD QUESTIONING HILLARY DURING THE PENSYLVANIA DEBATE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ISSUING OF DRIVERS LIC. RUSSERT CRUCIFIED HILLARY AND THEN RUSSERT ASKED OBAMA WHERE HE WILL SPEND HOLLOWEEN W/ HIS FAMILY, AND THEN ASKED KUCINICH IF HE SAW UFO,AND RICHARDSON AND AFTER THE DEBATE ALL THE NETWORKS PUNDITS CRITICIZED HILLARY FOR WHOLE 2 MOS. NONE STOP. AND THANKS TO THOSE VOTERS WHO REALLY USED THEIR CONSCIENCE WHOM TO VOTE,GOD GUIDED THEM WHOM TO VOTE, AND THATS THE SHOCKING UPSET ALL THE MEDIAS WONDERING!! GOD BLESS HILLARY! MY SUPPORT AND VOTE TO HER!!

    Posted by: anita d. cruz, spring texas | January 10, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

    OH YES! THE MEDIAS/PRESS/PUNDITS AND JOHN EDWARDS & OBAMA, ALL GANGGING UP AGAINST HILLARY SO SHE WILL BE DEFEATED, CONSPIRACY THEORY OF THE MEDIA FOR HER TO LOSE!! AND THAT'S SUCKS!! MEDIAS GIVE A FREE RIDE TO OBAMA NOT CRITICIZING HIM ABOUT HIS DRUGS COCAINE USED, HIS GRANTING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DRIVERS LIC WHEN HE WAS ILLINOIS SEN.AND WHEN THIS ISSUE WAS RAISED BY TIM RUSSET WHO LOOKED MAD QUESTIONING HILLARY DURING THE PENSYLVANIA DEBATE ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS ISSUING OF DRIVERS LIC. RUSSERT CRUCIFIED HILLARY AND THEN RUSSERT ASKED OBAMA WHERE HE WILL SPEND HOLLOWEEN W/ HIS FAMILY, AND THEN ASKED KUCINICH IF HE SAW UFO,AND RICHARDSON AND AFTER THE DEBATE ALL THE NETWORKS PUNDITS CRITICIZED HILLARY FOR WHOLE 2 MOS. NONE STOP. AND THANKS TO THOSE VOTERS WHO REALLY USED THEIR CONSCIENCE WHOM TO VOTE,GOD GUIDED THEM WHOM TO VOTE, AND THATS THE SHOCKING UPSET ALL THE MEDIAS WONDERING!! GOD BLESS HILLARY! MY SUPPORT AND VOTE TO HER!!

    Posted by: anita d. cruz, spring texas | January 10, 2008 7:12 PM | Report abuse

    Clinton is yesterday's pathetic garbage. Both of them. Go Obama!

    Posted by: x2 | January 10, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

    We were wrong in New Hampshire because of the number of independents in the state. Many voters anticipated Senator Obama to win, polls placed him 10 to 15 points ahead of Senator Clinton. Independents understood Senator Obama as a shoe-in, so individuals who would have voted for the Senator voted on a republican ticket. I'm sure Senator Clinton did gain a few votes from her "tears". I think Senator Obama's victory and then narrow defeat just show that we cannot really preict anything. All we can do as individuals is vote and be active in campaigns.

    Posted by: Xanthe | January 11, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

    The pollsters had no way to calculate into their analysis the dirty tricks campaign of the Clinton staff. The sad reality is that just prior to the voting process a flyer and subsequent follow-up phone calls were made to NH voters which deliberately distorted the pro-choice voting record of Barack Obama.

    Posted by: lavinsr | January 11, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

    So Hilary brings out the tears, and New Hampshire falls over. She's just a good actress who will dish out whatever she thinks whatever will reel in the fish. I only hope and pray that America sees through this sham.

    Posted by: Alex Zachariah | January 11, 2008 6:12 PM | Report abuse

    Aside from being a "hook" for viewers to watch tv, what good are exit polls?

    Does anyone know? Or care?

    Posted by: 90172 | January 12, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

    You got it wrong because you think you can know the unknowable. Even when the exit poll is wrong as to the vote, you quote it to justify your post-election analysis. Voting decisions are is not all rational any more than all economic decisions are rational. Stop pretending otherwise. She won because more people voted for her, and you will never know why they did because some of them don't know either.

    Posted by: Ashland | January 13, 2008 1:39 AM | Report abuse

    I don't buy any of the arguments presented in the main text, and doubt that the exit polling was really off. The vote has to be seen first and verified, as the New Hampshire Secretary of State has indicated will happen.
    Reporters should, in any case, stick to reporting, even if they are reporting on polls. The McClaughlin game of news predicting was a bad parlor game from the start; that it had such a nasty affect on the mainstream press is unfortunate. With Fox in the mix, the news industry and the political spinsters collided with infotainment and docudrama, now we've got misty-eyed candidates pleading that they're indulging depravity to save us from ourselves and Oprah moonlighting by hitting the hustings. Next, Tom Cruise will be jumping up and down on our couches to support the Scientologist candidate against the other religious messiahs who are slugging it out in 30 second commercials.

    Posted by: Rarignac | January 13, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

    PLEASE stop telling people how to vote and how to think. I could care less about polls. They are not scientific and I can think for myself, thank you. Oprah does not speak for me as a woman either. I NEVER particpate in polls and surveys but I do vote.

    Posted by: Baby boomer mom | January 13, 2008 10:50 AM | Report abuse

    WHY IS IT THAT ALL THE NEWS MEDIA HATE HILLARY CLINTON ? I FEEL LIKE THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO GET ME TO VOTE FOR OBAMA ,BUT WITH THAT SAID I NEED TO VOTE FOR THE PERSON THAT HAS DONE MORE FOR MY FAMILY THAN A POPULARITY CONTEST.
    CHANGE COMES WHEN PEOPLE SPEAKOUT NOT WHEN THEY SIT ON THERE HANDS WAITING FOR OTHERS TO THINK FOR THEM. I TRUELY THINK THAT HILLARY HAS DONE MORE FOR MY CHILDS HEALTHCARE THAN ANYONE ELSE, AND WITH HER AS A WOMAN CAN'T SCREW IT UP LIKE MOST OF THE PRESIDENTS BEFORE HER, AND INFACT THE GOOD OLD BOYS CLUB NEVER WILL GIVE IN TO REAL CHANGE.

    Posted by: jim | January 18, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

    Some say that the voting machines were fixed in the major cities. In the rural areas they used paper and Obama won. This is a question that should be asked to the Democratic machine.

    Posted by: coatesmoe | January 20, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

    I read some of MSM's comments on why they got it wrong in New Hampshire. Very interesting so why aren't people listening. Obama has these good old revival meetings where he does all the talking. He doesn't take questions because he's afraid he won't be able to answer them. This man has no substance so why are people voting for him. Everyone is afraid to say anything negative about an African American but they don't have any problems spinning everything Hillary says or does. If the media could elect a person, Obama would be it. No matter that the man is all talk. Let's listen to the debate on February 21 and see who looks like the most viable candidate.

    Posted by: Mary | February 13, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

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