Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Tuesday - Media Buzz and the Numbers

The media buzz on this contest leans heavily to Obama, but each time I've looked at the numbers I have seen Hillary clearly ahead - until today.

Chris Bowers of Open Left now sees at the least the possibility of an Obama win tomorrow.
The polling picture for Super Tuesday is starting to fill out now. With only 34 hours until polls close in California, it appears virtually certain that we will have a split decision in terms of delegates. Currently, by multiplying the average polling margin by the number of delegates in each state, I arrive at an estimate of Clinton 889 delegates, Obama 799 pledged delegates earned from Super Tuesday itself. However, in virtually every state, more recent polls show better results for Obama, which should improve his standing almost across the board. At this point, a 90-delegate victory for Clinton on Super Tuesday is probably her best-case scenario, and the margin should less than 50 delegates in either direction. A narrow Obama victory on Super Tuesday is even within his reach now.

UPDATE: This chart from MyDD illustrates why I say that when you look at the numbers, Clinton is ahead.

TC has mixed feelings about all of this. While both candidates would produce progressive presidencies it appears that Obama is clearly more progressive on foreign policy. For example, Ezra Klein argues:
From the early arguments over negotiating without preconditions to his more recent statement that "I don't want to just end the war, but I want to end the mindset that got us into war in the first place," Obama is previewing an aggressive stance against the fundamental sicknesses in our polity that led to the war in Iraq, and will lead to future, equally ill-considered invasions. If he can lead the country towards, at the least, respecting an alternative foreign policy vision, he will have enacted great change.

However, Obama seems weaker on domestic issues, especially health care. For a Canadian the lack of accessible health care in the U.S. would seem to be their problem, but the pressures for privatized health care here might be more easily resisted if the U.S. was moving toward a more universal health care system.

Paul Krugman originally endorsed John Edwards' health care plan and thought Hillary Clinton's was almost as good but not so Obama's:

Obama’s plan fell short — but I was initially willing to cut him slack, figuring that it could be improved. But then he began making the weakness of his plan a selling point, and attacking his rivals for getting it right. And in the process he has systematically trashed the prospects for actually achieving universal coverage.

The Obama plan is still vastly preferable to plans that rely on tax credits and the magic of the marketplace. But from where I sit, a dream is dying — and progressive Obama supporters, caught up in the romance of his candidacy, don’t understand that he’s actually undermining their cause.

The whole contest is close enough that one sees many suggestions that it could go to the convention to decide. I think that is unlikely. My expectation is that tomorrow's results should be pointing us in the direction of the ultimate nominee, and the next U.S. President. I have written before that it looked like the Democrats would win this year. This looks to be more and more the case with each passing day. Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are strong candidates and while McCain is probably the best the Republicans can do this year, it won't be enough.

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