St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Polls says Clinton, Huckabee are strongest in Missouri

Two national polling organizations released results for the Missouri presidential contest today, with apparent differences but also some similarities. In short, Missouri is up for grabs.

In one-on-one general election queries, Hillary Clinton (the choice of Mayor Slay and Dick Gephardt) had a better shot at winning Missouri's pivotal electoral votes for Democrats than Barack Obama (the choice of Claire McCaskill, Russ Carnahan, Lacy Clay, Jeff Smith and Antonio French), and in a sudden reversal, Mike Huckabee competes better here than Rudy Giuliani (the choice of Kit Bond) for Republicans. Huckabee succeeds here without any high level endorsements (other than members of the legislature).

In a Clinton-Giuliani matchup, Clinton leads 49-43% in Survey USA and 45-39 in Rasmussen. But a Clinton-Huckabee matchup produces mixed results within the margin of error, Survey USA showing Clinton ahead, 49-47, while Rasmussen shows Huckabee with a comparable lead, 45-43. Huckabee benefits from the timing of the polls, released during his December surge in polling numbers. Whether Huckabee's surge continues or this is his peak remains to be seen.

Barack Obama also leads Giuliani in Missouri, but by less than Clinton. Oprah's candidate leads America's mayor by 5 points, 47-42, in Survey USA, and by just one point in Rasmussen. Huckabee beats Obama in both polls, 47-45 in Survey USA and 45-41 in Rasmussen. Obama thus competes slightly less favorably against the two current national Republican frontrunners than Clinton does in both polls.

Comparing the polls, Democrats poll better in the Survey USA poll (taken on behalf of a Kansas City television station), and Republicans do better in the Rasmussen poll (in partnership with Fox Television Stations, Inc.). Survey USA must be pushing undecided voters more for a decision, because its polls consistently show fewer undecided. That means its results are more susceptible to change.

Clinton outperforms Obama in Missouri in spite of the fact that, according to Rasmussen, Obama has a better favorability rating (52-51%) than Clinton. Those favorability numbers are lower than Huckabee (53%) but significantly better than Giuliani (45%).

Survey USA also tested Republicans Mitt Romney and John McCain (but not Fred Thompson or anti-war Ron Paul) against Clinton and Obama. McCain trails Clinton, 50-46, and Obama, 47-44. But Romney, in spite of the backing of much of the state's GOP establishment, including Matt Blunt and Jim Talent, gets his clock cleaned in Missouri. Survey USA show both Clinton and Obama leading Romney by 10 points. It isn't that Missouri voters are as intolerant to Mormons as they are to gay marriage, because Romney's underperformance in general election matchups is a consistent national trend.

Neither poll posed the question with John Edwards as the Democratic nominee. In prior polls, both nationally and in various states, Edwards ran stronger than either Clinton or Obama. Democrats' continuing tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory means that Edwards doesn't stand a chance to win the nomination.

Rasmussen also posted results for the governor's race, showing Blunt trailing challenger Jay Nixon, 47-42, after the same pollster had found Blunt ahead by a point in October. The governor's office email controversy was publicized between the two polls.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Mizzou fans should boycott FedEx

There is no real mystery who is at fault for #6 Mizzou not getting a BCS bowl bid. After Oklahoma got the automatic Big XII bid, the call who got the conference's second BCS bid belonged to the FedEx Orange Bowl selection committee. They looked at Mizzou's 11-2 record, which included wins over Kansas and Rose Bowl-bound Illinois and whose only losses were against just one team, #4 Oklahoma, and compared it to #8 Kansas, whose 11 wins came against the 11th easiest schedule (out of 119 teams) and whose loss was to Mizzou, and those geniuses somehow decided to pick KU.

The selection committee lamely explained that KU had a long connection to the Orange Bowl from back in the Big 8 days, an explanation that applied equally well to Mizzou.

Mizzou fans can express their disapproval this Christmas season with a message to the selection committee's sponsor, Federal Express. When sending Christmas presents (or business packages) this month, why not consider diverting your business away from FedEx to competitors like UPS and DHL?

And if the committee was thinking about television ratings, perhaps those of us in the St. Louis market should watch something else when the FedEx Orange Bowl is on, and see if the Wichita market can make up the difference.

A bigger mystery is how Mizzou got screwed a second time, by not getting a better opponent in the Cotton Bowl. The spot was reserved for either the #3, 4 or 5 SEC team, which (after BCS-bound LSU and Georgia) included #12 (and defending national champion) Florida (who instead will play unranked Michigan, loser to Appalachian State) and #16 Tennessee (who drew #18 Wisconsin). Instead Mizzou got a nothing-to-win and everything-to-lose matchup with Arkansas, which is not even in the BCS Top 25 and ranks no higher than 24th in any major poll. That isn't to say they aren't any good, because they are, as BCS Championship Bowl-bound LSU found out in its regular season finale. The problem is, Mizzou will get no year-end boost from beating this team, but would suffer greatly by losing to them. High risk, low reward. The Cotton Bowl, a traditional New Years Day bowl that is generally regarded as the best non-BCS bowl, seemingly could have and should have done better.