Clinton Cherry Picking Polls
Hillary Clinton continues to make her case to the undeclared superdelegates. The problem is, her arguments are misleading at best and dishonest at worst.
Claim #1: “I am the better general election candidate”
To back up her claim, her campaign released a set of poll data (note: PDF) last week. But in what can only be described as blatant misrepresentation, she cherry-picked the individual polls that showed her in the most favorable light, while ignoring others that showed Obama more favorably. Here’s just a few examples that compare the single poll Clinton gave to superdelegates versus the average of all recent polls (the most reliable metric), as reported by Real Clear Politics (i.e. -4 means trailing McCain by 4, while +4 means leading McCain by 4).
State Clinton data Polling average Ohio (20 EV) Clinton +7 / Obama -4 Clinton +8.3 / Obama +1.3 Michigan (17 EV) Clinton 0 / Obama -1 Clinton -3.0 / Obama -3.0 Virginia (13 EV) Clinton -8 / Obama -8 Clinton -10.4 / Obama -1.3 Missouri (11 EV) Clinton +2 / Obama -3 Clinton -2.0 / Obama -9.2 Wisconsin (10 EV) Clinton -4 / Obama -4 Clinton -3.4 / Obama +2.0 Nevada (5 EV) Clinton +5 / Obama -6 Clinton -3.6 / Obama -0.6
While Clinton currently has an advantage over Obama in Ohio, both are currently carrying the state, according to the average; yet she cherry-picked a single poll showing her winning and Obama losing. Likewise, in Michigan, she published a poll showing her tied with McCain and Obama trailing, yet the polling averages show both Obama and Clinton trailing by the same 3 points. In Virginia, she published a poll showing her and Obama tied, both trailing by 8; yet, the average has Obama trailing by just 1.3, making it highly competitive with Obama, while Clinton is far behind, by 10.4. Her picture of Missouri is also misleading; she cites a single poll showing her ahead and Obama trailing; yet the average shows that, while she currently has an advantage, both candidates are trailing McCain. Her evidence in Wisconsin is even more suspect; she shows a single poll with both her and Obama behind by 4 but the average shows Obama ahead by 2 and her behind by 3.4. Likewise, in Nevada, she shows herself up by 5 and Obama down by 6, an 11-point gap. Yet, the average shows Obama is actually neck-and-neck with McCain, trailing by just 0.6, while she is further back, trailing by 3.6.
These are just a few examples, but it illustrates the deception that the Clinton campaign is using to try to convince superdelegates that she is the better general election candidate. At best, she and Obama are evenly-matched, if not a slight advantage to Obama.
Claim #2: “I am winning the popular vote”
Yet, to arrive at this assertion, she must use creative math. First, she does not count the votes of Iowa, Washington, Nevada and Maine (this despite her rhetoric about counting all votes) - Clinton doesn’t believe caucuses are democratic. Secondly, she includes both uncontested primaries in Florida and Michigan, even though both states were flawed (neither were sanctioned by the party, neither candidate campaigned there and Obama’s name wasn’t even on the ballot in Michigan - so literally Obama gets zero votes in Michigan, since many of his supporters voted “uncommitted” and another 30,000 or so wrote in his name and were not counted).
According to Real Clear Politics, without including Florida and Michigan or the above caucus states, Obama leads by 460,958 votes. Including estimates for the above caucus states, Obama leads by 571,180 votes. Even if you include Florida, Obama still leads by 276,408 votes. The only case where Hillary leads the popular vote is if you include both Florida and Michigan (where Obama technically got zero votes and Clinton got 328,309 votes), where Clinton leads by 51,901 votes.