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News: Updated Mar. 08

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News from the Votemaster

Today the Democrats caucus in Wyoming. Yes, Virginia, there are Democrats in Wyoming. Just not very many. Obama has won all the Western caucuses so far (in Nevada and Texas he lost the popular vote but in Nevada he got the most delegates and probably in Texas, too, although the caucus results are still not in). There have been no polls in Wyoming, but Obama is likely to win this one too.

The following quote came from a reader in Wyoming--which after all, is one of the reddest states in the country.

The University of Wyoming campus at Laramie is buzzing about the candidates. Bill was here in a 1200 seat house (left many people waiting in the cold, not happy campers) yesterday. Barack gets the big basketball arena tonight. Way more interest on campus than there was for the Republicans. Barack in particular seems really well organized.

Puerto Rico is switching from a caucus to a primary on June 1. Given Hillary Clinton's popularity with Latinos and the large number of Puerto Ricans who have family in New York and like her she is the heavy favorite there.

Eleanor Clift at Newsweek has a column entitled What if There is No Back Room? She says suppose the supers split the same way as the regular delegates and neither candidate is more than a few votes ahead in Denver. It is possible that all the supers will abstain from voting on the first ballot to see which way the wind is blowing. If it is very close, they could have the feeling that picking either Clinton or Obama will so antagonize half the party that McCain will win in a romp. So on the second ballot, they all go for a compromise candidate: Al Gore. Nobody doubts his readiness to serve on day 1. Furthermore, nobody doubts his ability to win the popular vote in a close election: he already has. Hillary Clinton would probably hate that, since it is doubtful she would get another shot at the White House. On the other hand, an Obama with 12 years experience in the Senate would be a potent candidate in 2016 (or 2012 if McCain wins this year).

Alan Abramowitz, a professor of politican science at Emory University has an interesting posting over at Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball. Abramowitz analyzed the 2006 exit polls and concluded that the defection of moderate to liberal Republicans cost the GOP their Senate and House majorities. These were voters who normally vote Republican but who were fed up with George Bush. Another ominous sign is the large number of Republicans who voted in the Democratic primaries this year (25% in Wisconsin), largely for Barack Obama and the tiny number of Democrats (2-3%) who voted in the Republican primaries. The message here is that Obama will pull Republicans away from McCain but McCain won't pull Democrats away from Obama. With Clinton, party loyalty becomes stronger.

On the Republican side, Ron Paul has dropped out of the race for the GOP nomination. John McCain appears to be all alone now. It is not known if Alan Keyes is still in the race since the press does not generally accompany him on his campaign plane (or bus or bicycle, whatever he uses). Paul didn't have much of a chance to get nominated, but he attracted a small, but intensely loyal following, who donated a huge amount of money to him. He was recently renominated for his seat in the House and will coast to an easy victory there in November.

There is a special election today in IL-14 to fill the seat of retiring congressman (and former Speaker) Dennis Hastert. The Democrat, Bill Foster is a former high-energy physicist working at Fermilab in Illinois and also a successful businessman, founding a company that now sells more than half the theatrical lighting in the U.S. The Republican, Jim Oberweis, is a businessman who started a successful mutual fund company and also also owns a chain of 43 ice cream stores. Normally, a race between a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican in a district with a PVI of R+5 that has sent a Republican to Congress for 11 consecutive terms would be a no brainer. However, change is in the air and this seat is being bitterly fought over. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chairman of the DCCC, who is sitting on a pile of money $34 million high is spending like a drunken sailor in this district, not only to beat Oberweis but also to force his NRCC counterpart, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), to match him. Cole's problem is that he is basically broke. The symbolic value of the Democrats taking over the former Speaker's seat would be immense, so the GOP is throwing in everything they have to help Oberweis.

Below are today's polls. It looks like Obama will win an easy victory in Mississippi in the primary there Tuesday, as he has in all the other southern primaries. Victories there and in Wyoming today will erase all of Hillary Clinton's gains in Ohio and Texas, leaving the delegate totals at the end of March pretty much as they were at the start of March, with Obama ahead by about 100. Rasmussen has polled Michigan and Florida since revotes in those states are being discussed and it is interesting to know who might win them.

State Pollster End date Clinton Obama McCain Huckabee Paul
Florida Rasmussen Mar. 6 55% 39%      
Michigan Rasmussen Mar. 6 41% 41%      
Mississippi ARG Mar. 6 34% 58%      
Mississippi Insider Advantage Mar. 7 40% 46%      

The polling results for all states are available as a Web page and in .csv format.

Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers (Democrats Abroad has 22 delegates, each with 1/2 vote). The sources differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention. Also, all sources try to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and unpledged delegates, who also get to vote at the convention. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.


Source Clinton Obama BHO-HRC Edwards McCain Romney Huckabee Paul
Washington Post 1462 1567 +105   1253   271  
NY Times 1394 1501 +107 12 1110 142 225 5
AP 1462 1569 +107 26 1282 257 277 14
CNN 1424 1520 +96 26 1289 255 267 16
ABC 1462 1570 +108 32 1222 273 272 14
CBS 1455 1563 +108 26 1205 149 231 10
MSNBC 1227 1366 +139 +26 1266 293 262 14

Needed to win: Democrats 2024, Republicans 1191.

Here is another source for delegate totals.

-- The Votemaster