13 February 2008

Advantage to Obama?

That's the spin, pretty much everywhere. Let me offer a contrary view.

What has basically happened is that Obama has caught up and the race is now neck and neck. The RCP estimated delegate count is now Obama 1,260, Clinton 1,221. That's a difference of about 3%. The popular vote is similarly close.

Demographics favored Obama in the "Potomac primary". In Texas and Ohio, less than three weeks from now, they will favor Clinton. (For a detailed demographic-based analysis of the race, see here.)

The status of the Michigan and Florida delegations remains unre-solved, but in the end, I think it's inevitable that the Democratic party will seat them rather than risk offending voters in two major states -- especially the critical swing state of Florida.

Finally, there are the "superdelegates". If they end up deciding a deadlocked race, they are likely to realize that Clinton's chances in the general election are better than Obama's, and vote accordingly for the good of the party.

Regardless of which candidate is nominated, the party's biggest problem will be retaining the loyalty of the other candidate's supporters, who will be disappointed and perhaps angry. The only effective way I can think of to reunite the party is for the winning candidate to offer the loser the VP position. Right now that looks unlikely, but it is interesting that both Clinton and Obama have drawn back from the brink and toned down their mutual hostility at times when it threatened to get out of hand. And whichever candidate loses will know that the Vice Presidency will make him or her the presumptive nominee in 2016.

Both of these candidates have generated tremendous enthusiasm. If we can keep both groups of supporters united, the Republicans will have cause to tremble.



Blogger Unknown said...

I am not sure that Clinton’s base will hold in Ohio and Texas. In data coming out of Virginia and Maryland there are signs that her base is starting to shift. If they continue to shift Obama will take both states. With the desire to end the race they may shift in greater numbers Obama so that the winner can move onto election.

If there is some movement, Democrat Superdelegates going to Clinton will start to switch their votes. While the Religious Right of the Republican party keeps fueling Huckabee, the Democrats could end up taking the gas out of the Clinton campaign.

13 February, 2008 19:53  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

That's pretty much the conventional-wisdom scenario, and it certainly could happen, though obviously I hope not. Here's another view.

13 February, 2008 20:03  
Blogger Ute said...

After all the "dirty laundry" that those two have washed in the past, I would be highly disturbed to suddenly see them as running mates. Yikes!!

15 February, 2008 15:32  

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