Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The US Elections: Indiana or Bust!

Here's a fact no-one will bother mentioning: Clinton won the Pennsylvania primary by 9%.

Prior to the results, just about all the pundits were pointing out that she needed a double-digit victory in the Keystone State. It was 10% or more - or bust.

She almost managed the 10% minimum, but not quite. By current calculations, she got 1,260,208 votes. Obama got 1,045,444 votes. In other words, she beat Obama by a margin of 9.3%. Rounded, that's 9% - and not 10%, as every media source in the world is exuberantly reporting today.

Does that matter? No, not really, but it's a interesting little example of how the media push a message which makes little sense, even to themselves.

In any case, it's on to Indiana. For what it's worth, I've considered this the truly key state for a little while now. And since perceptions tend to change - and change strangely - over time, I'm laying the down the current state of affairs in that state, as far as we know them.

Clinton's ahead in the polls. In the current RCP average, she's beating Obama by 2.2%. Pollster has her in the lead by 6%.

In other words, Clinton should win, certainly given the state's demographics (roughly similar to Ohio or Pennsylvania) and certainly given the boost her campaign will inevitably get from the Pennsylvania result.

But let's see what happens. If Obama has sufficient appeal with Democrats to be a viable candidate in the general election, he will overcome his current deficit, thereby convincingly cementing his advantage over Clinton in terms of pledged delegates and waylaying Clinton's popular vote arguments. If, on the other hand, Clinton has any real momentum, she should be able to maintain and indeed augment her present lead, and we will once more have a real battle unfolding.

If, come May 6th, the Indiana results simply reflect the current situation (a marginal Clinton win by 2 to 6%), I think it's fair to say the Democrats have a very real problem.


Edit I (April 25th): today, CNN's "poll of polls" has both candidates at 45%, with 10% unsure.

Edit II (April 28th): today, the RCP average too shows a tie, with both Obama and Clinton at 45.5%. The most recent poll to be included in the average, though - from Survey USA - shows a lead for Clinton 0f no less than 9%.

Edit III (April 30th): today, the RCP average is at + 2.2% for Clinton.

Edit IV (May 4th): RCP puts Clinton ahead by 5.8%.

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