The Effect of Shifting Expectations

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


The numbers out of Indiana show a narrowing race — the difference between the candidates is roughly 33,000 votes out of just under a million cast. That’s a four percent lead for Hillary Clinton.

The response from the TV pundits: Is a two-point or three-point victory for Clinton effectively a loss? Does Clinton’s massive loss in North Carolina and her tiny victory in Indiana mean that she needs to exit the race? Will superdelegates take her seriously after those results?

What’s so interesting about this is that a week or two ago, a lot of polling showed Obama winning Indiana by one to five percent. Almost all of it showed him winning North Carolina by double digits. But Obama had such a miserable two weeks going into today’s vote that the expectations shifted. Ironically, the beating Obama has taken recently may have helped him.

Update: Just want to add something quickly. The Clinton campaign surrogates on TV tonight are latching onto Michigan and Florida as their lifeline. If only Obama hadn’t blocked a revote in Michigan and Floriday, they say, this would be an even race. I’m not sure that’s true. If you assume Clinton nets 50-70 delegates in those two states (and that’s being very generous), Clinton is still losing the pledged delegate count. That’s how large Obama’s lead is at the moment.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.