Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Tuesday Preview

For a closer look at the Super Tuesday states, the New York Times provides a great breakdown. Also, the Fix discusses the dynamics of each race. While conceeding that the Republican delegates are McCain's for the taking, the Democrats are a different story:

On the Democratic side, it is state by state, hand-to-hand combat with neither Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) or Barack Obama (Ill.) optimistic that tomorrow's vote will decide much of anything. Both candidates have a big state or two he or she is sure to win (New York for Clinton, Illinois for Obama), but they are still fighting for a handful of other key states that could tip the margin one way or the other when the winners are being sorted out. Here's a quick look at five of the biggest battlegrounds:

* Arizona: Symbolic of the rapid gains of Democrats in the southwest, Arizona is the biggest prize in the region tomorrow. Obama has the endorsement of Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) as well as Rep. Raul Grijalva (D), an influential voice in the Hispanic community. Clinton made a stop in Tuscon on Saturday (where she participated in the MTV/MySpace candidate forum). A MSNBC/McClatchy poll shows the race in a dead heat, with Clinton taking 33 percent of the vote to Obama's 31 percent. One fascinating finding from that survey: NBC political director Chuck Todd notes that unlike in other states where Clinton is winning Hispanic voters by a 4-1 margin, it is Obama who is actually winning among that key voting bloc in Arizona.

* California: By virtue of being the biggest state - with the most delegates - voting tomorrow, the Golden State is sure to gets lots of attention. Remember: Democrats give out delegates by congressional district, so no matter whether Clinton or Obama wins the popular vote in the state, both are likely to pick up a considerable number of delegates. An MSNBC/McClatchy survey in California put Clinton in the lead 45 percent to 36 percent; a Field Poll had the margin far closer, with Clinton at 36 percent to Obama's 34 percent.

* Georgia: The crown jewel of the southern states voting tomorrow seems to favor Obama. He has a slight lead in the MSNBC/McClatchy poll in the Peach State (the only state where he currently leads the New York senator) and Georgia's significant black population - nearly 30 percent of the state's residents - makes it prime territory for Obama.

* Missouri: The Show Me State always seems to find itself in the mix in any competitive presidential election. In the last 100 years, Missouri has voted for the eventual president in every election but one - 1956. It's expected to be a battleground yet again in November, and both Clinton and Obama want to show that he or she is the Democratic candidate who can win Middle America back for the party. MSNBC/McClatchy has Clinton up 47 percent to 41 percent over Obama, but this race will go down to the wire and could well depend on how African American cast their votes.

* New Jersey: What once looked like a Clinton stronghold has become more competitive. The latest survey in the Garden State put Clinton ahead of Obama by seven points, but the way the delegates are awarded in the state - not by congressional district but by specially designated delegate districts could aid Obama, his allies believe. Any sort of weak showing in what is arguably Clinton's backyard could have symbolic importance well beyond the raw delegate apportionment.

Meanwhile, Political Wire provides some of the latest polls:

California: Clinton 47, Obama 39 (American Research Group)
Connecticut: Obama 48, Clinton 46 (SurveyUSA)
Georgia: Obama 49, Clinton 27 (Strategic Vision), Obama 53, Clinton 37 (Public Policy Polling)
Illinois: Obama 60, Clinton 30 (SurveyUSA)
Massachusetts: Obama 46, Clinton 44 (Suffolk)
New Jersey: Clinton 47, Obama 41 (Strategic Vision), Clinton 48, Obama 43 (Quinnipiac), Clinton 52, Obama 41 (SurveyUSA)
New York: Clinton 53, Obama 39 (Quinnipiac), Clinton 56, Obama 38 (SurveyUSA), Clinton 51, Obama 32 (Public Policy Polling)
Tennessee: Clinton 56, Obama 34 (Public Policy Polling)
Utah: Obama 53, Clinton 29 (Deseret Morning News)

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