Sunday, February 03, 2008


Or maybe both?

I'm seeing poll after poll after poll showing huge gains for Barack Obama -- and, yes, I believe he's surging. But on the Upper West Side of Manhattan this weekend I've been watching the button-buyers and button-wearers, and if what I'm seeing is a measure of the likely outcome on Tuesday, Obama's not only going to beat Clinton here, he's going to beat her by about an 80%-20% margin.

That really doesn't seem plausible.

So I can't help wondering if I'm seeing the political-button version of what Cenk Uygur, just after New Hampshire, called "the Hillary Effect":

...Today, a caller on our show made a great point as to why Hillary might have won in New Hampshire despite the fact that polls showed her losing by 10 points -- the Hillary Effect.

She said a lot of people don't want to say they are supporting Hillary Clinton because it is an unpopular thing to say and causes harsh reactions. So, they keep quiet about their support but vote for her anyway.

Then, we received this e-mail from Dawn, another closeted Hillary supporter:

"I have been supporting Hillary, and having to apologize for it, for a year. I can easily see myself being vague about it when asked by a pollster, but in the privacy of my voting booth I will vote for her enthusiastically."...

Actually, Uygur's caller was an Edwards supporter. But she was right -- supporting Hillary is decidedly uncool.

Obama's highly unlikely to win the Upper West Side 80%-20%, and I think it's just possible that there'll be a somewhat stronger Clinton finish than the polls are projecting now. But I haven't been the greatest prognosticator this election season, so we'll see.


UPDATE: Aimai thinks the Obama surge is as big as it looks -- and has mixed feelings about that.

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