04 March 2008

Election Day Again

Today, voters expressed their will in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island and Vermont. There won't be really meaningful results until after I've gone to bed for the night. Clinton has taken Rhode Island. Obama has won in Vermont. Ohio is leaning strongly to Clinton in early results, but some of the remaining results include urban areas where Obama support is stronger, so her margin of victory is likely to fade a bit. Texas primary results narrowly favor Obama at this hour,and Obama is likely to do better in the Texas caucuses held today than in the Texas primaries culminating today.

While not exactly a wash, the candidates won't be much differently situated relative to each other in pledged delegates tomorrow than they were yesterday.

The Democratic caucuses in Wyoming this weekend, and the Mississippi primary a week from today both favor Obama. The next major contest is the Pennsylvania primary on April 22, 2008 where Clinton is favored. It would take not just a Clinton win in Pennsylvania, but a win by an overwhelming majority in Pennsylvania, to make a dent in Obama's likely lead in pledged delegates after today.

Rumors of an Edward's endorsement for Obama and a major block of superdelegate commitments for Obama waiting in the wings are making the rounds, but we'll see if anything comes of them.

McCain is the mathematically certain Republican nominee after today's voting for the Republicans, and Obama comes away from today as the odds on favorite to be the Democratic nominee, although not an entire sure thing.

Recent polling shows Obama crushing McCain in a general election, and Clinton edging out McCain by a smaller margin in the general. Obama is the most probable next President of the United States by a substantial margin. Indeed, the ultimate general election result has not been nearly so clear eight months out in a very long time.

A lot can happen in eight months, but reading the headlines a plunge into a recession, which is rarely good for the party that holds the Presidency at the time, and continued lack of progress in Iraq seem like the most likely developments in that timeframe. It isn't even clear what a victory in Iraq big enough to help McCain, an avowedly pro-war candidate, would look like.

UPDATE at 11:45 p.m. with the net pledged delegate impact of today:

Texas Caucus +5 Obama
Texas Primary +4 Clinton
Ohio +17 Clinton
Rhode Island +4 Clinton
Vermont +3 Obama

Daily Impact Overall: +17 Clinton

These are back of napkin estimates, but should be quite close to the mark. This puts a great deal of pressure on Clinton to not just win, but win big, in Pennsylvania on April 22, as Obama will likely regain a little ground in Wyoming this weekend and Mississippi a week from today

UPDATE II at 3-5-2008: More informed sources than I suggest Clinton's net gain from yesterday's races is more like +1 delegate net, with about 38% of a remaining 1000 pledcged delegates distributed yeserday. She needs about 158 delegates to overcome Obama in pledged delegates.

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