Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday

Some days you just don't need to over-complicate things with an inclusive title. Suffice it to say, today is a BIG day in the race for both parties' nominations. For a look back at Super Tuesdays past, have a look at CQ's take on the history.

Here's some of what's happening out there:
As I mentioned in a previous post, the year-end reports are in to the FEC. Here's a look at those numbers from The Washington Post (and a take from The Fix). The Democrats continue to hold a decided advantage in money raised (with Obama and Clinton both just north of $100 million raised for the year). So there are some interesting dynamics at play here. Countervailing forces, if you will. First of all, the leading indicators (presidential popularity, state of the economy, etc.) point toward this being a good election season for the Democrats. On top of that, there has been much more energy on the part of Democratic partisans to support and contribute to the Democratic pool of candidates than their counterparts on the GOP side have to Republican candidates. However, the way the race is shaping up, the GOP nomination could be decided well in advance of the Democratic choice. McCain looks to be in good shape to, if not wrap things up today, then to do quite well for himself while simultaneously putting his opponents at a large disadvantage. With things so evenly divided on the Democratic side, an even, or near even, split of states/delegates in today's contests could trigger a protracted battle between Clinton and Obama for the Democratic nomination. So while all the signs indicate a Democratic year, circumstances could boost the GOP's chances in November. For that to play out, the GOP nominee would have to unify the part behind him while the Democratic contenders continue to beat each other up, providing more general election fodder. Here's the take on the subject in a post from The Caucus yesterday.

Speaking of protracted battles, CBS News and The New York Times have polled the Democratic superdelegates again. Clinton continues to hold a 2-1 edge (204-99) over Obama in that count. However, there are still 493 superdelegates who either did not provide an answer or still consider themselves undecided. That's nearly 62% of the superdelegates. So while the argument could be made that Clinton is the establishment candidate because of the support she has among those superdelegates, there are a number who haven't decided yet and could break in the other direction. I need to check and see if comparable polls were done of superdelegates in previous cycles; just to see when a majority of them broke for one candidate or another. Again, Clinton has the edge, but there are enough left out there to swing superdelegate support to Obama.

I'm going to hold back on a full-scale analysis of the polls today and yield to the coverage by Real Clear Politics (A Freudian slip there. At first I typed in Real CleaN Politics. Wishful thinking?). Now, on Sunday I had a look at McCain's poll position in February 5 states with winner-take-all delegate allocation rules. Those links are still live so you can compare and contrast the changes in those polls since Sunday evening. You'll notice:
That Romney has pulled to within striking distance of McCain in California (A virtual tie despite the endorsement of Gov. Schwarzenegger.).
The three way dead heat continues in Georgia.
A continued competitive, three way race in Missouri.
McCain's leads lengthened in the mid-Atlantic (NY & NJ).

On the Democratic side, Obama has continued to inch up closer to Clinton in national polls following his South Carolina win. If you look at th graphic on that link Obama leaped both after his win in Iowa and again after South Carolina. Are all or most of the people who supported other candidates choosing Obama? There is a reason those folks didn't back Clinton from the start.

Also on Real Clear Politics, there is an article laying out the various scenarios that could play out as the returns start to come in this evening.

For those of you who are lurkers on the site, feel free to stop by this evening and discuss the results as they come in. I'd like to get a nice discussion going and there shouldn't be any lack of things to talk about.

Finally, if you're really bored this evening and have access to Newsource 15 (UGA's TV news station out of the Grady School) be sure and look out for me on their Super Tuesday special this evening at 10pm. Here's the link to the live stream. The boredom reference is more a reflection of my appearance than an indictment of the show/station itself.

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