Sunday, January 27, 2008

Wide Open

The nomination of the Democratic party for the presidency of the United States is anyone's game. Barack Obama won an overwhelming victory in South Carolina last night. The next Democratic primaries of consequence occur on Super Tuesday (Florida, like Michigan, has been disenfranchised). Obama and Clinton both face real challenges if they are to win the White House. Obama is behind. Recent polls in many of the big Super Tuesday states show him well back of Hillary. Obama needs to translate what has been an effective ground campaign into an effective national campaign. If I was advising the Obama campaign I would tell them not to try to take Hillary head on in New York and California. There are some states that should play well for Obama and he should focus on winning those. There are only two states where Obama is ahead in the recent state wide poll: Illinois and Georgia. Illinois is a non-issue and requires little attention. Georgia should be bolstered by his win in South Carolina. Alabama was close (3 points) in the most recent poll and should also be a target. Obama should also be out beating the bushes out West. Arizona and California may be lost causes but Idaho, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico are all in play. Obama did well in rural Nevada and may be able to carry that success forward.

The Clinton strategy is all about holding on for dear life. Clinton needs to make sure the leads she has don't disappear once Barack Obama starts actively campaigning. Clinton has a national network at her disposal and is going to have to use it. She was in Tennessee last night and it states like it (where she holds leads in states that look vulnerable) that Hillary's fate will be determined.

Edwards' strategy at this point is a bit of a mystery. He is clearly no longer a viable candidate for the presidency. My guess is that he's hoping that this race will go to the convention floor where he could play the role of king maker. This would mean keeping both Obama and Clinton under the magic number of delegates. I don't know that he even has the support do this.

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