Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Get Out the Brooms

A couple of sweeps tonight in the s0-called Potomac Primary. On the Republican side, John McCain continues his shaky and inevitable path to the Republican nomination. McCain won all three states. However, he did progressively better as the states became less and less Republican. He won by only nine points in Virginia (a red state) while cruising to victory in Maryland and D.C. If the Democrats win in November, they should send Mike Huckabee a present. Huckabee has made it so that McCain will have to spend the extra time he has before the Dems sort out their nominee appealing to his base. McCain cannot win in states like Virginia and Colorado without the religious right. Tonight in Virginia, more people voted for Hillary Clinton than for John McCain.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama continues to build momentum. Obama's talking about momentum these days. As he should. Momentum has been elusive for both Democratic front runners. Clinton is now stuck putting all her eggs in three baskets: Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Obama is a long way from winning the nomination. However, for the first time since his victory in Iowa, he has to be viewed as the favourite. The most compelling reason to vote for Obama at this point has to be his electability. Not only do national polls show him more easily beating John McCain, he is wining in states Democrats need to win in November. Let's do a little forecasting. Where are the battlegrounds?
  • Florida: No real primary. Clinton won it for what its worth. She might be better with Latinos in a national election. However, I don't think it matters in terms of a national election which Democrat is on the ballot. I don't see Hillary getting that many more Latinos to the polls. I also don't see them staying home if Obama is the nominee.
  • New Hampshire: Clinton won this too. However, McCain is very popular in New Hampshire. I question if either Democrat can beat him here. Side note: The person who is happiest McCain won the nomination? Has to be Sen. John Sununu of New Hampshire. The senator is up for re-election and will likely face the extraordinarily popular former governor Jeanne Shaheen. Early polls showed Gov. Shaheen with a double digit lead. McCain may be able to carry Sununu on his coattails.
  • Ohio: Yet to vote.
  • New Mexico: Draw. They are still counting ballots a week later. The race is still too close to call.
  • Missouri: Draw. Obama by a point but on the Democratic side that doesn't mean much.
  • Arizona: Yes, Clinton won here too. However, there is no way she beats John McCain on his home turf. This isn't really a swing state, in spite of what the Clinton camp may be selling.
  • Iowa: Obama victory.
  • Colorado: Obama Victory.
  • Virginia: Obama Victory.
A real primary in Florida would help to clarify this picture. However, the bottom three results tell the tale in my opinion. States like Virginia and Colorado are where the electoral map is changing. McCain is going to have some appeal with traditional independents, so Democrats may be forced to expand their horizons. Obama is the candidate most able to do that. Arizona and New Hampshire are going to be tough slogs for either of them, so I discount those Clinton wins. Florida didn't really have a primary, so once again hard to give her credit. Thus, I really do think Obama has proven himself more electable.

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