February 11th, 2008 admin
By Steve Scott (afternoon anchor at WCBS Newsradio 880).
This event was held at the New York Press Club on Tuesday, January 29th.
Democrat Hillary Clinton will face Republican John McCain in the November general election.
That was the consensus of the political experts at the New York Press Club’s “Handicapping Super Tuesday” event Jan. 29, held at the Press Club “Penthouse” on West 42nd Street.
Pollsters Maurice “Mickey” Carroll of Quinnipiac and Lee Miringoff of Marist joined Baruch College professor Douglas Muzzio and consultants Hank Sheinkopf and Joseph Mercurio on the panel, moderated by WNBC-TV’s Gabe Pressman. The group told about 50 NYPC members and guests that all signs point to a Clinton-McCain battle in November.
“The Clintons know how to win elections,” Muzzio said. He added that Hillary Clinton is “very smart”…but also suggested Clinton should be wary of what he called John McCain’s “cross-over appeal.”
Mercurio also sees Clinton emerging as the Democratic nominee, and predicted she will defeat McCain in November. But, he said the New York senator should be receiving a higher percentage of female votes than she’s been getting in the early primaries and caucuses. Miringoff agreed, saying many people simply will not vote for a woman or an African-American for president … meaning Clinton and fellow Democratic candidate Barack Obama have to run “error-free” campaigns to stand a chance of winning.
While Obama has gained some momentum heading into the Feb. 5 primaries, Carroll predicted Clinton will “grab a big lead on Super Tuesday.” He said Obama’s hopes rely on younger voters, and history shows young people often “lose interest” as the campaign wears on – a possible harbinger of trouble for the Illinois senator. Muzzio agreed. “Do young people come out? That’s the key (for Obama).”
On the Republican side, Hank Sheinkopf sees John McCain emerging as the nominee, and said the Arizona senator has the potential to win the White House in November. One reason: McCain’s well-documented military service and time served as a prisoner of war in (then) North Vietnam. “War heroes still have currency in American politics,” Sheinkopf said. “America likes war heroes.”
The panel agreed that polling, while helpful, is not perfect. Pointing to the polls that predicted a big Obama win in New Hampshire, Miringoff said, “The polls stopped on Sunday. The voters changed their minds in the last 48 hours (before the primary).” He suggested conducting a poll the Monday night before the election. “The media probably won’t be able to use it, but at least it will be more accurate,” Miringoff said.
Sheinkopf questioned the methodology used in polling, suggesting that many younger voters – who use cell phones alone and do not have landlines as home telephones – are often overlooked in the polling.
Somewhat surprising at a gathering of New York City journalists, the topic of a possible White House run by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg came up only briefly, near the end of the discussion. The majority of the panel members dismissed the idea of an independent Bloomberg candidacy. The lone exception: Mercurio, who, with his chin resting in the palms of his hands, said quietly that he thinks Bloomberg “could do it”… a comment that drew looks of amazement (and at least one set of rolled eyes) from his fellow panelists.
Note: Republican Rudy Giuliani and Democrat John Edwards each dropped out of their respective races on January 30th, the day after the Press Club’s “Super Tuesday” discussion. The panelists had given both candidates poor marks for their campaigns, although Mercurio said Edwards could prove to be a “King or Queenmaker” by throwing his support – and the delegates he accumulated – behind either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. As of this writing, Edwards had not endorsed either candidate.
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