Cause and Effect?

We commented extensively on the dust-up between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that was triggered by Hollywood mogul David Geffen’s attack on Hillary, both here and at our AOL site. I commented that I thought Hillary’s attack was a mistake, in that it made her look like a bully–an ineffective one–and violated the basic political rule, “don’t punch down.”
Following the exchange between Clinton and Obama, Clinton fell in the polls while Obama surged. The Washington Times has interviewed several pollsters, all of whom appear to believe that it was Hillary’s attack that caused Obama to narrow the gap:

“From a national perspective, there has been an erosion in Hillary’s support among Democrats and especially among independents, while Obama’s numbers have risen among these voters,” said pollster Del Ali of Research 2000, a media polling firm based in Rockville.
“I think the attack by her campaign on Obama was a negative for her because of a perception that it was calculated, that it was an attempt to break Obama’s momentum. Second, whether fair or unfair, it was seen as the typical Clinton attack machine, where she doesn’t do the attacking, but her surrogates do,” Mr. Ali said.

If the attack machine isn’t going to work, the Clintons may have to go to plan B. Only, I’m not sure they have a Plan B.
Republican pollster David Johnson had this observation:

Pollster David Johnson of Strategic Vision … said that his polls in key states — including Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin — showed Mrs. Clinton had “a basic support level of between 30 percent and 35 percent, but she’s never been able to go much beyond that.”

The Democrats have a real problem going into 2008, and it isn’t clear where the solution lies.
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