Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Yahoo Political Dashboard

Webguild reports that the The Yahoo Political Dashboard is up and running, though Reshma notes several caveats in how you'd want to interpret this data.

The Yahoo Dashboard is very nicely done visually, and allows a lot of key comparisons quickly. The money raised column may be the most relevant in terms of the prospects of these candidates as we kick the primary season into gear in early January. Why? Campaigning in small states like Iowa and New Hampshire is not expensive, but in California and New York you need tens of millions to sway those pesky undecided voters who arguably are the key voters who determine the outcome in our market-driven elections system.

The following candidates won't have money problems if they can perform OK in the early primaries: Clinton, Obama, Romney, Giuliani, Edwards. I'd say McCain and Huckabee are at great risk regardless of performance because they'll need cash to continue, and unless they have huge showing early on I predict people will try to "bet on a winner" and donations will continue to flow to the frontrunners. Look for Romney and Edwards to fund their own campaigns heavily if their prospects look good. President Picker still predicts that Romney will win the Republican Nomination and Clinton the Democrat, but we acknowledge the Iowa and New Hampshire races have become closer than we thought they would be. Obama's strategy is almost flawless so far - he's taken a high road on the campaign which has made Clinton look petty and mean - the latter a key attribute her campaign is trying to counter even as it struggles to fine Obama's Achilles heel.

Ironically the Clinton campaign's new advertising is designed to make people feel more "warm and fuzzy" towards Clinton. I see this as a strategic error. Everybody knows she is a tough and seasoned politically and has a hard and intense personality. Suggesting otherwise appears deceptive because it is, and also because media are viewing this approach skeptically - skepticism that rubs off on viewers. These are not attributes the campaign should be diminishing, rather they should be promoting her as a potentially "tough as nails" negotiator and commander in chief. Obama's campaign has recognized correctly that their goal is almost the opposite - make him kind, gentle, and accessible to the indecisive female voters who otherwise would have gone for Clinton on the basis of gender.


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