Post PA, On to NC: The Neverending Story
Clinton, as of the Little Dork’s bedtime, is up 10% (9.5 according to Field hands). Pat Buchannan is on MSNBC curiously claiming that Clinton has “momentum in her favor.” Despite the near mathematical impossibility of her winning, and perhaps much to the pleasure of the press corps, we continue to call this a contest.
I don’t find it necessary for alarm bells to ring, as many are, asking whether Sen. Obama’s campaign is in trouble. People (Buchannan, I guess) are pointing to the differences in the polling in the last couple of days and Clinton’s margin of victory. The last minute undecideds often swing to the candidate with whom they are most familiar. Even with that, a swing from +8 to +10 is not anything to trumpet as significant. I know Bevan at RCP and Buchannan are buying the Clinton spin that “He spent so much money, why didn’t he win?” This begs the question, “Why can’t Clinton raise money? Will that hamper her chances in the general election?”
The only outcome that would have had the Clinton team on its heels would have been a very small margin of victory or a loss. I predicted a +5 win for Clinton which would have signaled to me she is done, but that was just me. She lives to fight another battle.
Now that that’s done:
North Carolina will be the offset in terms of delegate count and popular vote to Pennsylvania. Hippy Hill, the Triangle, Charlotte, Fayette-nam and Greensboro should help Obama take the state and the majority of delegates. There’s the Gantt Effect to remember, however, I don’t think it will change the game the way it did for the unfortunate Charlotte mayor.
However, Tim Russert announced a potential scoop, that the state Republican party is planning to air television ads highlighting “controversial figures” in Sen. Obama’s past. I don’t doubt him for a moment on this, knowing what we know about their ease at pushing the Willie Horton button. The state org has in fact started to hit Obama a’ la Hobbs with some ineffectual press releases.
What reason would they have for doing this? It could be simply that the Republicans are terrified of facing Obama in the general election. It could be that they hope only to cause havoc in the primary by upsetting expectations in NC, attempting to ensure that there is a fight on the convention floor. Or, they like the media attention and are bored and want to grandstand. There are some active races in the state, the governor’s seat up for one, and it likely helps the GOP candidates a little to have attack ads on Dems up and running.
That notwithstanding, NC is a safe bet for Obama. With Superchunk and Arcade Fire playing a benefit for him, all he needs now is for Jordan to make an endorsement.
Indiana will be a closer race according to all and polls. Even if Obama wins he won’t increase his delegate margin by much.
After tonight, the only thing that’s clear is that the Superdelegates will decide the race. Clinton still has a long way to go to have enough evidence to make a convincing argument to the Supes that they should overturn the popular vote, and time and money are not on her side. She may get lucky and find a picture of Obama smoking a bowl with Farrakhan whilst spray painting “I hate Whitey” on the side of a building. Not too likely, is it?