Super Tuesday Crystal Ball
This year Super Tuesday will be the closest thing America has yet seen to a national primary, with 24 states holding primaries or caucuses on this date. 52% of all pledged Democratic Party delegates and 41% of the total Republican Party delegates will be at stake. The GOP contests are often “winner take all,” whereas the Democratic delegate results are awarded by proportional representation, with a minimum 15% threshold required to receive delegates.
The leading candidates (Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democrats and John McCain and Mitt Romney for the Republicans) have been campaigning all over the country including the West. Their respective websites proudly list their appearances and endorsements. Here in California, my phone has been busy with calls from both the Republican and Democratic campaigns.
The conventional wisdom, polls, and fund raising by state suggest Hillary Clinton will do well in the East and Southwest and Barack Obama will do well in the Midwest and other parts of the West. The Clinton polling lead nationally has been eroding, and Obama has momentum. At least one poll has them tied, but the polls have missed some surprises this year. Given proportional representation, expect both Clinton and Obama to split the delegate totals fairly evenly. If Obama breaks through in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Missouri, New Jersey, or Connecticut and meets expectations elsewhere, then the momentum will have definitely swung his way. On the Republican side, the conventional wisdom and the polls have McCain leading, but Romney has pockets of strength in the West.
As noted previously, Western Democrats are rightly concerned about Clinton’s high negatives in the West. I’m voting for Obama.
Your Personal Note:
The results were pretty much a tie on the Democratic side and a serious disappointment to Romney on the Republican side. Whether a tie favors Clinton or Obama is a matter of spin and speculation. Obama did capture Connecticut and Missouri, but barely, and Clinton’s strength with Latinos and Asians showed up strongly in California. The next states in the primary calendar look favorable to Obama. In the West that means Washington and Hawaii, but Denver looks like a long march for both Hillary and Barack. A proportional delegate system rather than a winner-take-all system makes it hard for either side to deliver a knockout blow, but I like it. It seems more democratic. On the GOP side, John McCain seems poised to lead a divided Republican base, perhaps with Huckabee on the ticket to shore up the South.
Democrats can be heartened by their turn out and enthusiasm, even the reddest states. Yes, there are Democrats in Idaho, Utah, and Alaska, and the national party should be supporting them.
Posted by: Leo Brown | Feb 6, 2008 10:08:28 AM
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(and yes, we know that sometimes they're very, very wrong. Other times, they're right on.)