Many people were surprised that Senator Barack Obama lost in the New Hampshire primaries, despite the fact that he had gone into the voting as a favorite. Several polls gave him a double-digit lead before the primaries began. But some reports say he may have underestimated the political organization of his rival and former first lady, Senator Hillary Clinton. Professor Christopher Zorn is head of the Department of Political Science at the University of South Carolina. English to Africa reporter Chinedu Offor sought his views on Senator Obama’s loss.
“I think it is less of what went wrong for Obama as what went right for Clinton. She had a very good set of circumstances happen for her while in New Hampshire. She had obviously been campaigning extensively there but the turn-out was very high; the weather was very good, which is very interesting, as we now know from studies that weather makes a very big difference, especially in primaries, and one of the thing the weather can do is to turn out the party’s base.”
Zorn says to some extent, Senator Obama underestimated the political organization of Senator Clinton. “I think he may have. On the other hand, it is good that he had tried to lower expectations just a little bit going in. Some poll numbers had him as much as 10 points ahead in New Hampshire. If you talked to his campaign people, they tended to downplay that lead just a little bit and in this case it was a good thing. I think the next few races work in Obama’s favor.
Zorn says there might have been a disconnect between people who said they were Obama supporters and those who actually voted for him. “I think that came into play a little bit. Honestly, I was a little more concerned about that prior to the Iowa caucuses than I was once the Iowa caucuses happened.”