Change/Experience

Change/Experience

Change/Experience

A campaign blog.
April 22 2008 8:43 PM

Change/Experience

When it comes to exit polls, I’ve taken it as a given that change and experience are just euphemisms for Obama and Clinton. If someone says they want change, chances are they’re an Obama voter; same with experience and Clinton voters.

But these exits show just how thoroughly change has infected the race, to the point that Obama no longer owns the term. (If he ever did.) Fifty-one percent of voters named it as the top quality they’re looking for in a candidate, according to CNN—more than any other quality. (Keith Olbermann says 73 percent of voters say they want to bring change.) Of those, 70 percent voted for Obama. Then take a look at the 26 percent of voters who say they value experience above everything. Ninety-three percent of them voted for Clinton. So while experience is still a signifier for Clinton, change is more ambiguous.

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Also: Note that only 8 percent of voters named "electability" as the most important quality. Given that Clinton’s case for the nomination rests largely on electability—how else to convince superdelegates to reject the pledged delegate count?—this isn’t particularly encouraging. Then again, who would say "electability" when asked that question? Does anyone really see themselves as that calculating?