The PA primary is just over a week away, and things are getting pretty stable in the polls. I think that Clinton will get about 55% of the Pennsylvania vote and subsequent pledged delegates. A margin of +10% is below her expectation, but not so catastrophic that she must leave. And if she is considering leaving, that’s too high for her to do so and maintain face, much less credibility.
So we’ll see the run go through May 6 – two more weeks – to get the numbers from Indiana and North Carolina. If Clinton is considering withdrawal in grace, this is her next viable opportunity. Now, Obama will win NC. I’m uncertain what the margin will be. I can give good argument that the expected margin is at least 15, but Obama’s camp was a lot more canny than Clinton’s in setting this expectation. Which is good, as the last poll I’ve seen – SurveyUSA – only gave him a 10% margin. And that was as of about a week ago. Regardless, if Clinton wants to grasp any straw to depart, that’s one. There’s a stronger one possible. By the same token, it may be clung to as a reason to continue.
Indiana, on the same day. In the polls at the beginning of this month, Clinton had a +10 or so lead. Historically, as the primary date approaches Obama gains – that’s happened in pretty much every state whether Clinton eventually won or lost. So Indiana should be considered a close one, and it’s possible it’ll go Obama. If it does, it gives Clinton a stronger reason to bow.
Let me add the devil’s advocate here. I’m not calling on her to resign. Quite seriously, I think her continued run through the end of June – heck, let’s say to the July 12 Nebraska primary – is overall a good thing for the party. Yes, I think there are some hardened loyalists who’ll decline to turn out if the “other person” wins. But historically, most stay. (This is not a new thing. Just not familiar in recent history.)
I am pretty sure that we’ll have a defacto candidate well before the convention. The candidate with the most states, most raw votes, and most pledged delegates is probably going to be the one selected — I figure most of the superdelegates will go that way as well. The reason is, well, it’s politics. These are ‘members of the machine’. They’re looking at not just the president as electable president, but at coat tails and personal gain. Obama appears to have the strongest coat tails. Personal gain… varies. Where the coat tails will affect the SD, the personal gain is obvious. Where it isn’t, well, it depends on far too many factors to include simple ego. That said, most of the superdelegates are coat tail dependent. That’s probably the big clue.
A majority – not overwhelming, but enough – of the superdelegates will declare for Obama. But they won’t do so till the “will of the people” is obvious – not just in delegates, but in carry. And that’ll mean that June is the earliest it’ll matter.
So bored and unhappy as it’ll make the gee-whizzers and short attention span heroes, we’re in for the long haul. I think – strongly, in fact – that Obama will win. But at the same time, the delay is and has been good for the Democratic party on a number of infrastructural and practical levels.
As for ‘giving it to McCain’ – bah. Most folk won’t really look at the D vs R fight till after the D is selected. The winner of the D will get a bounce in the polls, just like McCain did. That’s 4 for certain, 8 probable, and conceivably as high as 12 points. Since McCain’s national margin against Obama is even and against Clinton it’s a whopping 1 and a half percent…
Nope. no problem.