Wednesday, March 5, 2008

March 4th Primary Wrap Up

So, where do we stand now?

Well, we know one thing we already knew...John McCain is the Republican nominee. One thing we didn't know...he gets at least a seven week free pass while the Democrats battle it out.

And for the Democrats...

As I noted earlier, Rhode Island and Vermont end up as a push...Obama picks up 3 delegates in Vermont and Clinton picks up 3 in Rhode Island. Clinton should pick up around 15 delegates from Ohio. That leaves Texas. Currently, Clinton is projected to pick up 1 delegate in the Texas primary (this just shifted). It is still possible that Obama could pick up slightly more delegates based on his strength in certain districts that get more delegates, so we'll have to wait till all the votes are in before we really know.

The Texas caucuses are even more of a mystery, but it seems that Obama will not fare as well in these caucuses as he has in other caucuses (i.e. he won't win by a 2-to-1 margin). However, he is presently up 55-45% with 25% reporting. If that margin holds, then Obama would gain 5 or 7 delegates there. Thus, Obama will likely pick up a delegate or two in Texas. Bottom line, Clinton should pick up about 15 delegates tonight, probably not too many more than that.

Clinton finished strong...the exit polls showed her with a big advantage among those who decided late, and the early vote in Texas went to Obama while the election day vote was won by Clinton. So, how will this affect the way the Obama campaign approaches the coming weeks? Will they go on the offensive more? And can Clinton stay on the offensive for 7 weeks without suffering any backlash?

What is the story going forward? Obama should win in Wyoming and Mississippi which may help him re-establish some momentum, but after Mississippi we have 6 weeks until Pennsylvania. We will need something to talk about during all of that time, and the two main stories will be superdelegates and Florida and Michigan.

With regard to Florida and Michigan, I made the point way back on January 29th that Florida and Michigan could very well schedule new events to essentially re-vote. It appears as though this will be a major storyline in the coming days since it does not look like this campaign will be ending any time soon. I suspect that Dean may get the campaigns together to work something out on this front in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see what that solution is, particularly since the Clinton campaign will want to argue for primaries while the Obama campaign will want caucuses.

With regard to superdelegates, I have been using statistical models to predict which candidates the unpledged superdelegates will support. So far, the models have been right over 70% of the time. These models currently show that there are more unpledged superdelegates out there who would likely support Obama than there are supers who would likely support Clinton. But we will be updating the model and generating new predictions some time tomorrow, so stay tuned.

Finally, we had well over 700 visits on the blog today, our biggest day since Super Tuesday. Thanks for everyone who visited (and come back!).

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