voters and blue-collar workers, some of whom may have been influenced by his “bitterness” comments. “For those people who had no knowledge of Obama and rely on sound bites and what someone else tells you something meant, that comment hurt,” says Walton. “I think the shortcoming in his campaign was that he has not been able to emphasize adequately his own upbringing, which was not at all elite.”
Walton believes that if Obama’s campaign can do a better job of convincing voters that he understands humble beginnings in a state like Indiana, he can bridge that gap. “Clinton was able to grab that issue and paint him in a way that increased his distance from that group of voters in Pennsylvania and set him back with people who may not have had an inclination to vote for him,” says Walton.
If Obama hopes to beat Clinton in Indiana and North Carolina primaries, he will have to put greater focus on the bread-and-butter issues that appear to be most important to voters. Says Groff, “That’s what will drive the electorate in the fall. Clearly the war will be out there clearly, and the next president will have to deal with that, but the economy is really the issue and he’s got to hammer on that in Indiana and North Carolina,” he explains. “Everybody knows Clinton voted for the war and McCain still supports it to this day, but people are more concerned about paying $4 for gas, that they may lose their jobs, or that their house could go into foreclosure.”
To build on and maintain any momentum Clinton may have gained from the Pennsylvania race, “ideally, she’ll need to win the next two primaries,” says Robert Smith, a political science professor at San Francisco State University. “I don’t think she can win North Carolina and it will be closer in Indiana than in Pennsylvania, and she may even lose,” says Smith. “But that would be her strategy to win four or five of the last nine races and have a strong close.”