IT'S EASY TO LOOK BULLETPROOF IF NO ONE'S SHOOTING AT YOU
A lot of people have been going to electoral-vote.com and seeing that, based on the most recent state polls, Hillary Clinton wins more electoral votes against John McCain than Barack Obama. I've been arguing that that's true for a simple reason: Barack Obama is being attacked far more -- by two campaigns -- than Hillary Clinton is.
Now here's some hard evidence to support that assertion. Nate at FiveThirtyEight.com has tallied up press-release attacks since September:
I looked at the press releases from five sources: the Clinton campaign, the Obama campaign, the McCain campaign, the RNC, and the DNC, and counted the number of times that McCain, Clinton or Obama was mentioned in the headline of the press release. (For Obama press releases, which tend to have vague headlines like "Barack Obama Statement on Iran", I also counted hits in the press release abstract). Then I sorted the hits by the month of the campaign from September onward....
Here are the numbers in tabular form. The higher the bar, the more hits the candidate received:
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Hillary Clinton looks like a stronger candidate against John McCain because she isn't being attacked by her opponents. And that would not be the case -- to say the least -- if she somehow managed to get the nomination.
Nate's numbers do show that Clinton is attacking McCain fairly regularly now, and has started to curtail her attacks on Obama. The numbers also show that the Obama campaign doesn't do a lot of attacking in press releases (I agree with Nate that this may be a mistake, though I think Obama's been getting in a lot of digs in speeches).
One way to read this is to say that Hillary's more of a meanie as a candidate. I don't want to get into that argument right now -- what concerns me is the false notion that Clinton's poll numbers now are what they'd be if the Republicans unloaded both barrels on her. That's precisely what would happen if she were the nominee, and it's already happening to Obama.