Here comes the first post of mine concerning Super Tuesday. I’m sure, as a bazillion polls are released over the next week, that I’ll be blogging more about the monumental day in the primary race, but for now, I wanted to get the ball rolling. For two reasons mainly – to document where we are at now, a little under a week out from the 5th; and to show how the polls change and move around, sort of evidence of political evolution.
There is one thing in the schedule that has the ability to change the polls some. Florida. Yes, it won’t count, but the voting will still happen there for the Democrats. Why? Well, maybe they hope that the D.N.C. will change their mind. Maybe they think that their vote is still important anyway. Whatever happens, the vote will make for some interesting news. Hillary Clinton still polls first among the Democrats, a 20 point lead over Barack Obama, 49% to 29%, in the latest SurveyUSA poll. That number is pretty stable across polls, perhaps a little high, but consistent with the state’s trends over the past months. It has always been a Clinton state by the polls, and for some reason, Obama-fever never really caught on there. But the figure could be inflated, so you never know how close a race it could be there.
I will now turn my attention to report now, after the fallout from the South Carolina vote, and in the wake of the Kennedy endorsements, on the polls for a dozen (or so) states that fall into the Super Tuesday basket.
And first up, the grand-daddy of them all: California. It’s the biggest state that’s up for grabs in the primary. 441 delegates up for grabs in total, with 370 tied to the primary vote, and without the ‘winner takes all’ system, each candidate is likely to get a slice of the action. The latest poll, SurveyUSA, from this state have Clinton up by 11% against Obama, 49% to 38%. Coming in 3rd is John Edwards at 9%, leaving a 4% uncommitted. Since the start of the New Year, this state has received much polling attention – before, it had little. So these figures, and averages, are probably reasonably accurate. Speaking of the average, it’s Clinton at 44.2%, Obama at 32.2%, and Edwards at 11%. The polls in California have been showing Clinton firming as favourite since the 14th of January (Rasmussen), where Obama was only 5% away from her, 38% to 33%. Steadily she had gained up to a 17% lead, though since South Carolina, and all the antics leading up to it, that lead has dropped to 11% in recent polls. I expect this to be a very tight race, with both finishing in the 40’s. Obama 44%, Clinton 48%.
The next biggest state on the 5th is New York, and by all accounts and pundit’s predictions, a Clinton win. Though, again (and I don’t want to harp on about it), without the ‘winner takes all’ system, Obama can still pick up a sizable amount of delegates here. the state has 281 delegates available. Though Clinton’s “home state” (only because the Democratic Party dropped her into an extremely safe Senate seat), she polls at, in the latest poll (USA Today/Gallup) at 56%, while Obama pulls in 2nd at 28%, and Edwards at 10%. This is an extreme jump from previous polling data from the state. Having been taken over the days leading up to South Carolina, it may, in fact, be inflated. Previous polls, had her at 51% (Quinnipiac – Obama 25%, Edwards 11%; and Rasmussen – Obama 30%, Edwards 10%), 48% (WNBC/Marist – Obama32%, Edwards 9%; and Siena – Obama 23%, Edwards 10%), and 47% (Zogby – Obama 26%, Edwards 9%). These all bring the average lead for Clinton to 22.9% – her 50.2% to Obama’s 27.3% and Edwards’ 9.8%. I feel that the state may have some polls to bring this to an average lead of less than 20% by the end of Super Tuesday, though I still expect Clinton to get 52-54% of the vote there. Thus, while she will recieve half the delegates (in theory), Obama will receive a third of them, maybe as high as two-fifths if things go well (38% I predict) – not too bad in her home state.
Moving to the next most delegate-rich state, and we find ourselves in a real home state – Obama’s. Illinois has 185 delegates, and while significantly less than the previous two, still important in that it’s one of the many Great Lake states that will vote on the day. The problem (well, not a real problem) with Illinois is that it has been ruled such a pro-Obama state that there has only been 3 polls taken there since July ’07. The first poll, American Research Group, taken last July, had only a 4% lead to Obama against Clinton, 37% to 33%. Edwards pulled in 3rd at 10%. The next poll, by the Chicago Tribune in early December ’07, had Obama 25% up on Clinton – 50% to 25%. Edwards again came in 3rd at 7%. Finally, the latest poll from Illinois by Research 2000 has Obama up again against Clinton by 29% – 51% to 22%. Edwards pulls up third once again with a much improved 15%. This is how a home state should be won – with a 30% lead. Not something less than 20% like New York. Obama will be looking to take a big majority of the delegates here, while Edwards might be hoping for a 2nd place finish. There’s a chance Edwards could get that with the way the Clinton camp has attacked the state’s own. If the voters are motivated, and take it as an attack on themselves, and factor in a few more slip-ups by the Clintons as well as minimal campaigning there, then Edwards could pick up a nice 2nd place finish. But either way, it’s an Obama win this state. I expect a 34% margin win here after the South Carolina showing.
New Jersey comes in as the next most delegate-rich state at 127, though with only 107 delegates up for grabs with the primary vote. This, much like New York, has been a Clinton favourite state. January came, and the pollsters dropped into N.J., like California and New York. The latest poll out of the state, Quinnipiac, gives Clinton a 17% lead over Obama – 49% to 32%. Edwards in at 3rd on 10%. This data was gathered before the South Carolina fiasco (on the part of the Clinton’s) so I would expect Obama’s numbers to come up a bit from the 9% uncommitted. Rasmussen conducted their research on the 15th of January only, one of the days that Quinnipiac did their 7 day collection, and managed to get 866 respondents – 402 more than Quinnipiac. Their data had Clinton at an 18% lead on Obama, though different numbers – 45% to 27%. Edwards was at 11%. This meant that the uncommitted was around 17% – a very high number for a state that is generally regarded as Clinton’s, and expected to follow New York. The averages are probably to be trusted for when the data was gathered (the 9th of January through to the 22nd), as the two other polls contributing are the highest lead for Clinton (25% by Research 2000 – 48% Clinton, 23% Obama, 11% Edwards) and the lowest lead for her (12% – 42% Clinton, 30% Obama, 9% Edwards). The averages are 46% for Clinton, 28% for Obama, and 10.3% for Edwards. This still leaves a huge 16% uncommitted. Since South Carolina and the Kennedy’s endorsements, and with the hope of some more good fortune, Obama stands a good chance at gobbling this up and pegging this to a single-figure win for Clinton. If that were to happen (the single-figure win for Clinton) then Obama would split the delegates (getting more than he was bargaining for) with her (presumably), and penetrate one of the strongholds the Clinton camp thought they had.
Massachusetts is the next state with the most delegates. It’s a state that, with recent endorsements by John Kerry, Teddy Kennedy, and Caroline Kennedy, Obama stands a chance of winning a majority in. It has 121 delegates up for grabs with the vote. I’ll make it known now: I reject all the polling data available for the state at the moment. Three polls, conducted through January (between the 9th and the 23rd), with two of them coming from the same company with extremely similar sample data. The first poll to come out the state is from State House News, and that has Clinton with a lead of 12% over Obama – 37% to 25% – with Edwards coming in 3rd on 14%. The next two polls are from SurveyUSA – the first has Clinton with a 33% lead to Obama, 56% to 23%. Edwards comes in 3rd on 14% again. The second poll has Clinton with a 37% lead on Obama, 59% to 22%, while Edwards pulls up 3rd on 11%. There isn’t much I can say about Massachusetts if I don’t believe the whole three polls available, other than with the endorsements previously mentioned, more campaigning, and some good campaigning by Edwards (because this is a state he should poll better in), Clinton’s lead could narrow to something not so ridiculous as 37%. Seriously, if she isn’t even getting that big of a lead in her own “home state”, how can she get it from Massachusetts? Anyway, anything I say is a stab in the dark here – Obama with 34%?
Georgia is a bigger state than it is given credit. It’s the biggest Southern state up for grabs on Super Tuesday. 103 delegates are up for grabs, and the proportion of the ‘black’ vote in the state is similar to that of South Carolina. This, my friends, will also be an Obama state. The latest Rasmussen poll suggest so to, and while taken on the 22nd of January, and a 571 sample rate, it still gave Obama a 6% lead over Clinton – 41% to 35%. Edwards came in 3rd at 13%. I really do expect Obama’s figure to go up past 10% in the next rounds of polls from this state (if there is any?). He won South Carolina, the first Southern state. He has romped in the ‘black’ vote each time. He has gained serious traction, and it should be a state he gets good numbers in. The 41% number, I believe, was accurate for the time, as the polls had been turning for some time, while always being a competitive state. Back in April ’07, Strategic Vision (R) had Clinton up by just 3% on Obama – 25% to 22% – and Edwards at a whopping 20% (note the large amount of undecided). Strategic Vision was the only company to poll the state, and in October polled Clinton with her highest lead of 13% to Obama – 40% to 27%. By now Edwards’ 3rd place was back to a regular 11%. Come December, her lead was 7% (34% to 27% to 12%). Then, in a Mason-Dixon poll, Obama was leading by 3% to Clinton – 36% to 33% – Edwards at 14%. Then came the previously mentioned Rasmussen poll. What is interesting to note here is the large amount of uncommitted, and the higher numbers that Edwards has polled – the 20% he got, the 12% – 14% in recent polls. While he isn’t in a good enough position to snag 2nd place from Clinton, he is in a good position to keep delegates away from her as he eats up bits of the vote. Some favourable turns for Edwards and he could get up to one-fifth of the delegates with a 20% vote. And if Obama could manage over 50% of the vote, then half are his alone. Anyway, I predict a 48% vote for Obama here.
And those are the ‘Big 6’ from Super Tuesday. They are the only states that have more than 100 delegates up for grabs. The next highest are Minnesota and Missouri, both with 88 delegates. But that, and the next few states, are for another post. I expect people have skimmed most of this post, if not just clicking to the very end to see if I have anything exciting to say. Alas, I do not. It’s too early. Come closer, I’ll reevaluate my predictions, tell you them, then tell you how many delegates that will get each candidate. Hopefully it doesn’t make me look the fool.