Showing posts with label decisive contests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label decisive contests. Show all posts

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Will lightning strike NC again in presidential race?

Paul Johnson wonders about the likelihood of North Carolina playing a role in the Republican nomination race and the general election in 2012 in the High Point Enterprise.

This weekend is apparently the time for local media in May 8 presidential primary states to consider the what it will take for the Republican nomination race to stretch to that point in the calendar (see Indiana). [Add to that the fact that Ohio's May 8 date isn't necessarily set in stone. West Virginia, care to weigh in?] For the record, FHQ is in agreement with Martin Kifer and John Dinan -- two political scientists we know and whose opinions we value. That is, we all take the cautious approach. Look, it is just too early and we don't have enough information on the field of candidates, much less the calendar, to be able to definitively say one way or the other that North Carolina or Indiana will matter in the 2012 Republican nomination. One can either put on the 2008 glasses and see that cycle as a seachange in the fundamentals of presidential nomination politics or look back on the history of post-reform nomination races -- particularly the evolution of the process over that period -- and come to completely different conclusions.

The answer probably lies somewhere in the middle. FHQ is of the opinion that the Republican race is more likely to extend longer than usual -- perhaps not to May 8 -- because of the way in which primaries and caucuses are spread out over the calendar in 2012 compared to the past. If one were to take the current field of Republican candidates and plop them down in an environment that included the 2008 calendar, I suspect that the outcome would be largely similar: a nominee would likely emerge by the first week in March, give or take a week or two. But 2012 is different. Fewer states are clustered up against the opening of the window in which the national parties allow contests to occur. That is a function of several (Democratic) states moving further back to comply with the new national party rules and a handful of other states challenging the position the early four contests hold.

The race may, then, lengthen, but not necessarily to May. We just can't say one way or the other at this point. That answer will take not only a known field, but also a few actual contests being held, thus forcing the field to winnow further.

As for the general election, North Carolina seems more likely to be on the campaigns' big boards next fall than Indiana.1 But John is absolutely right: We'll have to wait -- probably until after this time next year (post-convention) -- to see which states "make the cut".

1 North Carolina has repeatedly behaved as a swing state in public opinion polling that has been conducted on the general election race. It has both mirrored the national atmosphere and moved in tandem with other swing states.

Will Indiana play role in 2012 GOP presidential primary?

Eric Bradner at the Evansville Courier-Press has the answer.

May 8 is a long time in political/electoral time from the Iowa caucuses and even further from August 2011. Compared to past years -- pre-2008 -- Indiana at least has a light at the end of this tunnel. With a more dispersed calendar of primaries and caucuses and the dynamics of a two or three candidate race taking shape (again, in August 2011), the Hoosier state can think big while at the same time realizing that a repeat of 2008 leans toward being a pie in the sky notion. That is different from past years when Indiana Democrats and Republicans could write off the possibility of casting consequential votes in a nomination race outright.

Still, a lot can change between now and then.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Primary Day: The Texas-Ohio Edition [Vermont and Rhode Island too]

Welcome to this, the 14th round of Primary Season 2008. With a week off, the contests in Texas and Ohio have received a ton of scrutiny from all angles. So much so, that there has been a kind of calm before the storm (Well, not between the top two Democratic contenders.) as today's contests approached. The media have said what they're going to say about the rules in Texas and changes in voting method in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. With so much time (and so much is a relative term here) the void has been filled by Clinton attacks on Obama. That has been the new story/news story. And the momentum seems to be with Clinton on this; her campaign has planted the seeds of doubt on Obama. Oh sure, the source there is her campaign, but the polls that have come out in Texas and Ohio the last few days back that up.

The Real Clear Politics poll averages in those states showed movement toward Obama late last week in both states. In Texas, those averages gave Obama a slight advantage (within the margin of error) after having been down double digits just two weeks prior. Now, while the Texas race is still a dead heat, the recent polls are giving Clinton that slight edge there (still within the margin of error and still susceptible to Obama's caucus success during the state's delegate selection night cap). In Ohio, Clinton's double digit leads shrunk to as few as four percentage points late last week. With the exception of the most recent Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll (showing a tie), the most recent polls in the Buckeye state stretch the Clinton advantage back to around seven percentage points. So while claims that the infamous "3AM ad" (and that link has a further link to the 1984 phone ad that Mondale ran against Gary Hart as well) is the reason for the momentum shift may be spurious, on its face at least (and in the media) it appears to have had an effect.

Is all the momentum talk moot anyway? That's the contention of the Obama camp; which is claiming that narrow victories by Clinton in these states doesn't get her any closer in the pledged delegate count. The expectations game has been played by both sides on this one and how these contests and their results are perceived will depend to a large degree on how the media reports things tonight.

For those following at home the night will progress like this: Vermont's polls close first at 7pm (all of these times are Eastern). Even given the scant polling that is available from Vermont, it looks as if Obama will kick the night off with an easy win. Ohio strikes next with voting being cut off there at 7:30pm. Call it a hunch, but I doubt this one gets an immediate call/projection from any of the networks. What you might hear is, "too close to call." The polls in Texas close next at 8pm and will most likely resemble the Ohio situation from a half hour earlier. An hour later, voting in Rhode Island stops. Now this one looks like a Clinton win, but what Rhode Island does is keep the media paying attention to results. All the while, the Texas caucuses will have been going on. And Texas Democrats have adopted a system similar to the one used in Iowa to get "unofficial" results from the caucuses out in a quicker fashion. Whether those "results" come out before or after Rhode Island or in relation to the Texas/Ohio projections is a matter that will be solved tonight. Either way you look at it, with these contests potentially proving decisive on the Democratic side, it will be a fun night to follow.

[UPDATE: For those of you like me out there--without suitable cable is streaming coverage of the returns tonight online. None of the three major networks is allotting any time to coverage of the presidential races tonight, yield to regularly schedule programming. ABC is awfully nice to give the online-only class a shot at actually seeing something on a primary night not named Super Tuesday.]