James Forsyth

Hillary’s remarkable triumph

Hillary's remarkable triumph
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Hillary Clinton’s comeback win took everyone, including her own campaign, by surprise. The theories are flowing as to how she pulled it out. Some are claiming it is because people tell pollsters that they’re planning to vote for the black candidate then in the privacy of the ballot box don’t. This is certainly the simplest explanation for what happened but I’m wary of it as it lets people like me who predicted that he’d win big off the hook far too easily.

The other theories doing the rounds are that New Hampshire voters didn’t want to end the contest this early. Or, that they reacted against the media narrative.  One definite factor is that the Clinton campaign had the best field operative in American politics working for them.

Looking at the details of where Hillary drew her support from shows that she won what is called the beer track; voters without a college degree, union families and households on less than $50,000 a year broke heavily in her favour. This suggests that the weakness of John Edwards, who has been running as an economic populist, was key to Clinton’s victory.

There’ll be lots of talk in the next few days about how the media invented the ‘Obama phenomenon’. Having been on the ground here, all I can say is that the crowds, the queues to get in to his event were all there. The fact that the Clinton campaign were so convinced that it was going to lose that they had already started a staff shake-up shows just how real the Obama surge appeared to be on the ground.

What  the media may have missed is how many people were coming to Obama events out of curiosity more than anything else. But that still doesn’t explain the polls.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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