Tuesday, March 04, 2008

End of the Line or "Just Getting Started" for Clinton???

It wouldn't be a Tuesday primary if I didn't chime in with my picks. With two weeks gone by since the last vote, two debates, and lots of debacles, I am honestly not sure where the votes lies. Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island vote in primaries today. Vermont has always been an independent state and there is no doubt in my mind they will vote overwhelmingly for Obama. Rhode Island - I know nothing about. In the past Clinton has done well in the Northeast primaries, and the few polls out there show Clinton with a modest lead over Obama - so I'll give RI to Clinton.

Texas and Ohio are real unique beasts to figure out. I've spent all night and all morning trying to put myself in the mind and mood of the typical Ohio and Texas voter. I have also poured over some poll data and statistics (not as much as I'd like).

Overall, I am not sure at all how Texas and Ohio will vote. Honestly, I don't think anyone knows. I'd say there are two possibilities.
1) Obama wins big in both states because he has the momentum and Democrats want this thing over. The debates were essentially tied, and all the media buzz around a Clinton comeback is all for not. The voters reject Clinton's 3am attacks on Obama.

2) This thing is super close and Clinton eeks at minimum a victory in Ohio, and possibly both Texas and Ohio. She accomplished this by "chipping away" at Obama's momentum and invincibility. The "kitchen sink" strategy worked on concerned and fickle voters alike.

I tend to believe the latter is more likely, as we've seen a roller-coaster campaign so far. Democrats and Independents really do seem to be divided on what they perceive as a choice between two good options.

Here is my prediction (this comes with a low-certainty warning) -

Texas - Obama wins with a comfortable, but not large win in the primary. Obama will get a 3 point advantage over Hillary. In the Texas caucuses Obama will walk away with nearly all the delegates, with a vote percentage of at least 60%. Clinton has had some last minute scrambling and organizing for Texas caucuses, so the Obama landslide may not be as big as some Caucuses states.

Ohio - Clinton wins a nailbiter. Will it even be decided tonight??? For Ohio voters - it's all about the "economy stupid." The typical blue-collar working Ohioan strikes me as the "down-to-earth" realist type - an advantage for Clinton. Can Obama's message of Hope strike the hearts of the hopeless? Decidedly, it will go both ways in a tattered but proud state.

The Conventional Wisdom is that if Hillary does not win both Texas and Ohio she should drop out. I think if she loses them both she will bow out. But the million-dollar question is what will she do if she wins one and not the other? My guess is she'll keep on "fighting." I just don't think she knows how to accept defeat (for better or worse).

Here are some clever campaign ads that are bombarding the airwaves in Ohio and Texas: