Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

To Super Tuesday.... and Beyond!

The Republican and Democratic races are finally starting to shape up. Each has a presumed front-runner now--Hillary Clinton and John McCain--but each also has a strong challenger--Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. On February 5th, Super Tuesday, about half of the delegates will be effectively awarded. After a month of questions, as that date looms we are finally getting some answers.

On the Republican side, rumors are swirling tonight that Giuliani, who managed only third place (his best showing in any state) will drop out and endorse McCain at the Reagan Presidential Library tomorrow. There is also a rumor afoot that McCain has offered the Vice-Presidential slot to Huckabee on the condition that he not drop out of the race yet. (A Huckabee pullout is thought to favor Romney.) Thanks to a number of winner-take-all primaries, February 5th is likely to make McCain the presumed nominee.

On the Democratic side, Hillary's large victory in Florida has largely gone unremarked, but it is a bellwether for the rest of the nation since (as in Florida) most people have seen and will see little active campaigning before next week's showdown. Unless John Edwards drops out tomorrow to endorse Obama, Hillary's current large leads in the polls in the largest states are likely to place her significantly ahead of Obama in the delegate count after Super Tuesday... But thanks to the Democrats' proportional primary system, Obama should remain competitive.

Just four days later, on February 9th, Louisiana holds a primary and Nebraska and Washington will caucus. These races are likely to favor Obama, and give a boost to his campaign after Super Tuesday. Unless Hillary wins massively on Super Tuesday, I expect the race will continue for several weeks to come.


Raised By Republicans said...

Dr. S. Of course Hillary's "victory" in Florida is going unremarked. She was running unopposed in a state in which she and everyone else had previously pledged not to run in at all. Even with all those advantages she still couldn't beat Obama by the same margin that Obama beat her by in South Carolina, a state in which the competition was vigorous to put it mildly and in which Hillary actually led until quite recently.

Florida may not be a bell weather but I fear that the ideologically homogeneous, TV dependent voters in California and New York will go for Hillary in droves. I doubt very much though that Clinton will win by 20% points - even in California.

Raised By Republicans said...

John Edwards is going to make an announcement in New Orleans today at 1pm. The speculation is that he will drop out of the race.

That he is dropping out before Coastal Elitism Tuesday is great news for Obama. In all likelihood those people who still support Edwards were doing so because they won't support Hillary. Count on Obama getting more of those votes than Clinton except in the most racist demographics in the South (older, Southern Whites).

On a related issue to the main post...Michigan and Florida were penalized because they violated the rules the party put down regarding primary dates. All the candidates, INCLUDING HRC, agreed not to campaign in those states. However, when it became clear that the primary process would be seriously contested and not just be a series of coronations for HRC, the Clinton campaign backed out of that agreement and campaigned vigorously in both Michigan and Florida while her opponents stayed out.

This is interesting because it is exactly the rap against her. That she says one thing and does another. It also speaks to the principled pragmatism vs. self-serving motive mystery. If she were motivated by principle she never would have agreed to not campaign in these states in the first place. But before the primaries started, she thought it was OK to penalize these states but when it looked like she might need those state's delegates (and free TV time of fake victories) to boost her electibility, she reversed her position and campaigned anyway.

Dr. Strangelove said...

It's a crock to claim Hillary was "running unopposed" in Florida. Nobody did any campaigning there until last week. Then Obama ran campaign ads in Florida last week (part of nationwide ads he purchased), while Hillary visited Florida once, two days before the primary (her campaign events were not open to the public). Neither last-minute move had any effect. In the end, Hillary's victory simply reflected the same 15 point lead the polls had shown for months.

The national polls show a fairly steady 10% lead for Hillary, and that's about what I expect to see in the large states. Edwards' imminent departure puts another 15% of the Democratic electorate back in play. Where they break 2-1 or better for Obama, it will shift some of the marginal states, but it should not change the outcome in the big prize states. I suspect the net effect will be to give more delegates to both remaining candidates (albeit slightly more to Obama).

"Coastal Elitism Tuesday"? Cute. But after Iowa's year-long love-fest from the candidates and the media, I wouldn't grouse, RbR. The rest of us get to weigh in sometime too.

The Law Talking Guy said...

With Edwards dropping out of the race, chances are strong that Super Tuesday will make a decisive winner of Clinton or Obama. Probably Clinton, which I find depressing as hell. I mean, what is this sheeplike devotion to voting for the Big Name? It's Gore or Mondale all over again. But I digress...

This is good news for the Democrats. With all the effed-up rules for delegates, superdelegates, and the rest, a brokered convention would be a nightmare. Imagine if Obama were leading in elected delegates, but won because Michigan and Florida were denied seating. Or lost because of party elders and superdelegates. Mississippi Freedom Party, anyone? Better to have a nominee than not. Unless the race dramatically tightens up, Super Tuesday will be decisive.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Goodbye, Rudy, we hardly knew ye? Rudy's departure frees up the cranky elderly Jewish New Yorker vote in Phoenix. Well, all six of them were all McCainites anyway. My favorite stat from the election is how many Floridians voted for Kucinich, Thompson, and others who have already dropped out. Is there something dumb in the water there? Maybe the Broward County Jewish really did vote for "that nice Irish boy" in 2000.

Poor evangelicals. Huckabee is a roob. McCain isn't one of them. And their best hope is... a Mormon. Perhaps they will continue to support Huckabee and, in so doing, help McCain win.

This is what I have feared for a year now. McCain is by far the strongest Republican in the general election (until the Iraq war goes south again). HRC is the weakest Democrat in the general, least crossover appeal you must all admit. Could we be seeing President McCain?

Dr. Strangelove said...

Some of the national polls are showing only a 6-8 point gap between Hillary and Obama now, and that's before Edwards' departure hits the fan. It may be a very tight race on Super Tuesday... Might not be decisive at all, unfortunately. I am having a hard time making a prediction on that.

USWest said...

I will voice the same concern over the potential out come that LTG has mentioned. I fear that in a Clinton vs. McCain fight, McCain wins. War veteran, white male will take the red south by storm.

Bell Curve said...

War veteran, white male - no - Republican candidate will take the red south by storm.

Fixed it for you.

Seriously, forget the south ... for now. Concentrate on Ohio and Florida.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Forget Florida. It's the mountain west and the midwest. New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio - these are the battleground states.

Raised By Republicans said...

OK, this is why the Democrats should not let California and New York pick their candidates. Bell Curve is right. This election is going to be won or lost in places like Ohio, Florida, Missouri and Colorado.

McCain would beat Hillary in all those states unless something disasterous happens in Iraq or to McCain's campaign - like he runs out of money completely and can't run ads for a month or something.

The point is that California and New York Democrats are significantly more liberal and less likely to interact with non-liberals than are Democrats in swing states like Ohio (or Iowa for that matter).

If you think that independents are going to determine the outcome then Republicans should give California and New York more influence than South Carolina and Democrats should give South Carolina and Iowa more influence than California.