To give you a sense of how much more important the vote is in the big states compared to the medium-sized states consider the following example. In California, each additional percentage of the vote won by the candidates is worth 3.7 more delegates. In comparison, every 1% of the vote in Missouri is worth .72 delegates. If either Obama or Clinton win California by 3% tonight, the victory will net them about 11 delegates more than the other candidate. Yet, since the polling has been neck-and-neck there, the 3% win probably wouldn't be a big deal to the news media. However, in Missouri, the candidates would need to win by about 15% of the vote to get the same 11 delegate advantage from that state. Despite the fact that a 3% win in CA is equivalent to a 15% win in MO, you can bet that the media would make a much bigger deal of the 15% victory.
The other reason why this is important is because the candidates' home states of NY and IL are the 2nd and 3rd largest voting today. The media may not focus much attention on those states because they are not expected to be close and likely will not be. Yet, it makes a much bigger difference whether the candidates carry their own states by 70% rather than 66% than it does whether they win Connecticut by 2% or lose Connecticut by 2%. In the latter case, winning Connecticut by 2% rather than losing it by 2% will only translate into about a 2 delegate difference. On the other hand, if Obama wins IL by 70% rather than 66%, that would mean 6 additional delegates. If Clinton wins NY by 70% rather than 66%, that would mean 9 or 10 additional delegates.
Keep all of this in mind while you watch the returns tonight. And don't forget, check in to the blog as you watch those returns come in...I'll be posting early and often.