Monday, February 04, 2008

Progressive Update--03/01/2007--Super Tuesday Eve

If you live in DE (or NJ, or NY, or …) VOTE TOMORROW (especially if you vote for Barack Obama)

I heard the following from my friend Matt Kerbel, political science professor from Villanova University (and commentator on a local Philadelphia TV channel)

Hi, Paul. I don't know how much time I'll have tomorrow, but i can share a few quick "pre-game" thoughts with you today. On the Democratic side, the momentum is clearly with Obama, as I'm sure you know. We see this in the way he has closed the gap in national polls (which are relevant for the first time as the campaign moves into wholesale mode) and in a number of specific states. We see it in the size and enthusiasm of the crowds he is gathering and in the key endorsements he's been getting. I don't see any evidence that the debate last week slowed this momentum, which has been building since his lopsided win in South Carolina.

Remember that the calendar tomorrow favors Hillary. Both her home states (Arkansas and New York) go to the polls, along with states in her home region (New Jersey and Connecticut). She has an institutional advantage in California. Her plan was always to finish things off on Super Tuesday in the event that she wasn't able to finish them off in New Hampshire. But that won't happen, and if the Obama surge translates into huge turnout and the undecided voters break his way (which is indicated by the trends but not guaranteed), he could find himself in the driver's seat on Wednesday. Watch California. If Obama picks off a win there it will be stunning, and he will emerge as the new frontrunner (with a favorable calendar later in the month). If undecided voters break for Obama nationwide, this will become his race to lose. Like I said, it hasn't happened yet. But it wouldn't surprise me if it does.

On the Republican side, Huckabee's presence in the race is killing Romney (with voters and his kids, who feel he's wasting their inheritance on a fool's errand!), allowing McCain to edge ahead in primary states where he still has significant conservative opposition. But because the Republicans have so many winner-take-all states, McCain looks to win more delegates than his relative strength among supporters would suggest. If the Republicans played by the same proportional rules as the Democrats, McCain wouldn't be able to build a commanding delegate lead tomorrow. But they don't and he will. The one wrinkle in all this is California, where the Republican base is very conservative and where Romney has moved ahead in late polling. If he pulls it off and wins enough delegates elsewhere to maintain some semblance of viability, and if Huckabee pulls out after playing spoiler in state after state, Romney may calculate that he can go head-to-head with McCain and win. And he may be right, but the delegate numbers have to be there.

So that's what I'd look for tomorrow.

No comments: