January 28, 2008


Obama Gains, But Still Lags In Big States (CHRISTOPHER COOPER and AMY CHOZICK, January 28, 2008, Wall Street Journal)

[F]or all of the attention Mr. Obama has garnered since his Iowa caucus victory at the beginning of the month, Mrs. Clinton has maintained her big lead in national polls -- and in polls in the big states with delegate prizes far greater than any state that has voted so far.

Among the major Super Tuesday contests, Mrs. Clinton has wide -- in some cases double-digit -- polling leads in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona, Missouri and Alabama. Mr. Obama leads in his home state of Illinois and in Georgia.

The demographics in many of those states also seem to play more to Mrs. Clinton's strengths, with big populations of Latinos and white women, groups that helped carry her to victory over Mr. Obama in New Hampshire and Nevada.

Mr. Obama's South Carolina win was pumped up by the 80% of the black vote he carried in a state where more than half the voters are African-American; he also received 25% of the white vote in a state not historically known for racial tolerance. On Super Tuesday, the black vote will dominate mainly in a handful of Southern states.

The sheer diversity of the states in play -- racially, regionally, geographically -- means that no candidate will have the cash or the leisure to engage in anything approaching the old-fashioned whistle-stop campaigning that has defined the races in most states so far. Mr. Obama had more than three weeks to build on his Iowa victory to chip away at Mrs. Clinton's lead in South Carolina and ultimately to overwhelm her. That will be much harder over the coming week.

All the GOP can ask is that Senator Obama win enough to stay in the race for the duration. And, while it won't happen, it's fun to imagine a brokered convention. It's been so long since we've had one that the back room dealing, rather than be recognized as perfectly healthy and normal political gamesmanship, would be found appalling and leave the losing side as apoplectic as all Democrats were in December 2000.

In open nomination, 'superdelegates' may hold key to victory (Carl Hulse, January 28, 2008, NY Times)

National party rules give special status to a select political group, including members of Congress, governors, members of the Democratic National Committee, past party officials, and former elected leaders like Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and their vice presidents, Al Gore and Walter Mondale.

Officially designated unpledged party leader and elected official delegates, members of this high-powered group are usually known by a catchier term: superdelegates.

If the primary season does not settle the nomination fight and it turns into a hunt for individual delegates, it is conceivable that this group of politicians and party insiders could hold the balance in awarding the nomination.

Ted and Bill will bring the cigars, you provide the conspiracy theories...

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2008 8:12 AM

Ted's coming out in favor of Obama.

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 28, 2008 8:45 AM

Do you think those who voted for Obama, and Obama won a plurality in delegates, then lost the nomination to Hillary's super delegates, would vote for Hillary in the general election? Do you think Obama would agree to the VP slot to placate his supporters? As long as Obama withheld "enthusiastic" support of Hillary, his supporters would stay home in 2008, and Obama could stage a "I shall return" comeback in 2012 as the front runner.

That is: if Hillary won with super delegates, she would be toast in the general election.

Posted by: ic at January 28, 2008 4:03 PM