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Scott Galindez: Super Tuesday Preview

Super Tuesday Preview

By Scott Galindez
t r u t h o u t | Report
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/020408J.shtml

The race for the Democratic nomination for president will likely not be decided on Tuesday, unless recent poling by John Zogby is accurate. Pollster John Zogby: "A very big single day for Obama in California (49 percent - 32 percent over Clinton) and Missouri (49 percent - 39 percent in a single day). In California, Obama has widened his lead in the north and pulled ahead in the south. He leads among Democrats and Independents, liberals and moderates, men (by 21 points), among whites, and African-Americans. He holds big leads among voters who say Iraq and immigration are their top concerns. Clinton holds a big lead among Hispanics (though Obama has made some inroads), women and voters over 65, and has pulled ahead among those citing the economy."

In the three-day tracking numbers in California, Obama's lead over Clinton in California grew by two points, with 46 percent saying they would support him, compared to 40 percent for Clinton. Obama had a 4-point lead over Clinton among white voters, with 45 percent of their support to her 41 percent support. Black voters liked him 4-to-1 over Clinton (72 percent to 16 percent), while Hispanics preferred the former first lady, giving her 55 percent support to his 36 percent. The survey included 967 likely voters, and carried a 3.2-point margin of error.

On the Republican side, John McCain has what looks like unstoppable momentum. Since the Democrats have proportional voting and the tightest race, I took the time to prepare the following preview.

Sen. Barack Obama has put a premium on field operations, and his campaign has 90 campaign offices in the February 5 states, some in communities that seldom see a presidential campaign. Sen. Hillary Clinton only has 25 listed on her web site.

In the air wars, Obama, who is setting new records for fundraising, has outspent Clinton on TV and radio in the February 5 states. Playing catch-up with Latinos, he's aiming TV and radio ads at Spanish-speaking Democrats in California and other states. Obama is on the air in every state but Illinois, while Clinton is not on the air in six of the super Tuesday states, states in which she is trailing Obama. Obama raised 33 million dollars in January compared to 10 million for Clinton.

California is the big prize and Obama has had a great week there: endorsements from La Opinion, The Los Angeles Times, The San Jose Mercury, The San Francisco Chronicle, and the states largest union (SEIU). A surprise endorsement came in California on Sunday. California first lady Maria Shriver joined Caroline Kennedy and Oprah Winfrey on stage and endorsed Obama.

As noted below, the "open primaries," which allow voters from any political party to participate, favor Obama because he has strong support among Independents and Republicans.

Alabama - 52 Delegates

Obama is pulling out all the stops here. The state is 26 percent African-American, and he has the only major endorsement, that of up-and-coming Congressman Artur Davis. A Capital Survey poll after South Carolina had Obama ahead of Clinton 40 percent to 35 percent with Edwards at 16 percent. Following John Edwards's departure, Hillary Clinton has surged to a narrow lead in some daily tracking polls. In the South, the Edwards vote is moving to Clinton, So, Obama's campaign will have to get out his supporters, something they have done a good job at so far. Obama has four field offices in the state compared to Clinton's two. This is an open Primary, which means Republicans and Independents can opt to vote in the Democratic Primary.

Alaska - 13 Delegates

Obama has the organizational advantage, but we can't dismiss the possible effect of Mike Gravel, the native son. Kucinich got 28 percent of the vote here four years ago. Obama has a field office, while Clinton does not. That is very important in a caucus state, since you must get your supporters to the polls at a specific time. There are reports Clinton has written off the caucus states and is focusing on the bigger prizes.

Arizona - 56 Delegates

Early voting in the state gives the edge to Clinton. Many votes were cast before South Carolina. Twenty-nine percent of the voters are Hispanic; Clinton has dominated the Hispanic vote so far. Obama may have made inroads in the last debate, and has the endorsement of the governor, Janet Napolitano. Both candidates have been to the state often, which is a sign that they both think it will be close.

Arkansas - 35 Delegates

Clinton will win big here; she has campaigned heavily in the state where she was the first lady. This is a state where she must win big to meet expectations. Obama has only been here once in the last year, so there is no reason to expect it will be anything but a blowout for Clinton.

California - 370 Delegates

This is the big prize. Because of the system here, one candidate could win big, but not really gain that many more delegates than the other. The delegates are chosen by Congressional district. After Tuesday's primary, field organizers will spend the next two months recruiting candidates for delegate in all 53 Congressional districts. They will be allotted delegate slots based on the vote in each district. This means that one candidate could dominate some districts and win the popular vote statewide by a lot, but if they do poorly in enough districts the second place candidate could end up with more delegates.

Clinton consistently had a double-digit lead in most polls, prior to South Carolina. Sunday, John Zogby came out with a poll that showed Obama up four points, and followed on Monday with a poll putting Obama up six. On Saturday, the California field poll, the most respected polling organization in the state, showed Clinton up by only two points.

There is no way to tell if Obama's momentum post South Carolina will be able to overcome Clinton's hold on the Latino vote. That vote will be the key in many Congressional districts. For example, in Orange County and San Diego, the Mexican vote will be an overwhelming majority of the Democratic Party vote. That is why the Sanchez sisters can win in Orange County. Congresswoman Linda Sanchez and Congressman Xavier Baccera have endorsed Obama, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is in the Clinton camp and is investing a lot of his political clout in the campaign. A small Hillary win here will not meet expectations; an Obama win would be devastating to Clinton.

The folks that are polling for the Indian Gaming measures have also shown Obama pulling ahead in California in their daily tracking poll.

The endorsement of California's largest union, SEIU, on Friday is a big boost to Obama; they were previously supporting John Edwards. Obama also has the endorsement of the state's two largest newspapers, The Los Angeles Times and The San Francisco Chronicle. Obama also has the endorsement of La Opinion, the largest Spanish-language newspaper in the state. They cited Clinton's opposition to driver's licenses for illegal immigrants as the reason they could not support her. So, he may be making inroads into the Latino community.

This is also an open primary. Independents, or what they call decline to state voters, may vote in the California Democratic primary, and, according to Zogby, Obama has a huge lead among Independents.

Colorado - 55 Delegates

This is another caucus state. Obama has put a lot of resources here; he has seven field offices to Clinton's one. Again, the offices are a key since voters will have to be at their caucus site at a specific time. Senator Clinton is not running ads in Colorado. The latest poll here came out January 22, and had Obama up 34 percent to 32 percent. The poll was released by the Denver Post, which, on Sunday, endorsed Hillary Clinton.

Connecticut - 48 Delegates

This was considered a Clinton stronghold, but recent polls are showing an Obama surge. A Hartford Courant poll between January 9 and January 17, had Clinton up 41-27, but two recent polls by Rasmussen and Survey USA tell another story. Rasmussen has the race 40-40, while Survey USA has Obama ahead 48-44. While Edwards's supporters in the South are moving to Clinton, in the Northeast they are moving to Obama. It's a closed primary, which could help Clinton. Both candidates have only one field office. The spillover from New York could help Clinton. Obama will be in Hartford Monday, a sign that he thinks he can win it.

Delaware - 15 Delegates

There hasn't been a poll here since October, neither campaign has done much here. Michelle Obama was here last week and Senator Obama was in Wilmington Sunday, which could be enough to put the state in his column. It's a closed Primary. They each have one office in the state.

Georgia - 87 Delegates

This is a must win for Obama. The state is 30 percent African-American, and he has been leading the polls here since before South Carolina. Obama has eight field offices compared to Clinton's one in the state. The only poll I have seen post South Carolina and Edwards has Obama up 52-36 over Clinton. It's an open primary, so independents can vote in this race, which is an advantage for Obama. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has endorsed Obama. The Clinton campaign is not buying airtime in this state.

Idaho - 18 Delegates

Obama will trounce Clinton here: four field offices in an open caucus state. Every factor points to Obama, who is the only one campaigning here. I would not be surprised to see him get over 60 percent of the vote. The only poll I have seen was back in July, and Obama led then. Clinton doesn't have an office in the state and has written it off.

Illinois - 153 Delegates

This is Obama's home state. A recent Chicago Tribune poll has Obama up by 31 percent. It's an open primary, which means Obama's Republican supporters in the state can vote for him in the Democratic primary. Clinton has no operation here, which could be a big mistake since Obama is on the air and has 11 offices in New York. In the delegate race, it is likely Obama will have a larger net win in Illinois than Clinton will have in New York. This is the only state that neither campaign has advertised in during the closing days of the campaign, a sign that both sides think it is not competitive.

Kansas - 32 Delegates

The governor, Kathleen Sebelius, who endorsed Obama the day after she gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union, could be the key here. Obama has adopted this state as his second home. The state where his mother was born, and his grandparents met and fell in love. More importantly, it is another caucus state, and he is campaigning while Clinton isn't. I would not be surprised if Obama picked up 60 percent of the vote here. The Clinton campaign has not purchased advertising in this state.

Massachusetts - 93 Delegates

This could be an early bellwether state. The polls consistently favor Clinton, the most recent has her up 6 points. However, important endorsements and Edwards's exit could help Obama. He has both senators and the governor stumping for him. This is one to watch early along with Connecticut and New Jersey. If one candidate is doing better than expected it could indicate who really has the momentum coming out of South Carolina and Florida. They are both fighting hard for this state; it could go either way. The Boston Globe endorsed Obama in mid-December.

Minnesota - 72 Delegates

This is another open caucus state where Obama has seven field offices to Clinton's one. The Clinton Campaign is not running advertisements here. The only poll we have, shows Clinton up seven, but it only polls Democrats and not independents. Because of his organizational advantage, Obama is the favorite. But it should be close enough that neither candidate wins that many more delegates than the other. This is another state that the Clinton campaign has not run ads in.

Missouri - 72 Delegates

This is a battle ground state in this race that is now leaning toward Obama. Clinton had a lead in all the polls. Monday morning, however, Zogby released a poll that had Obama up five. Sen. Claire McCaskill has endorsed Obama, and he has raised more money here than Clinton. The key will be where the Edwards's supporters go. He consistently polled at 18 percent this time around, and got 25 percent here four years ago. The Zogby numbers indicate that Obama may be picking up the Edwards's voters.

New Jersey - 107 Delegates

While Obama is gaining here, he would probably need a couple more weeks to catch Clinton. Polls that had Clinton up 18 percent two weeks ago, now show her up anywhere from 6 percent to 12 percent. The close proximity to New York and Clinton's superior fundraising and endorsements give her the edge. This is one to watch. If Obama makes this close, that would be enough to win the expectation threshold. Independents can vote here in this open primary. UPDATE: I may be wrong about Obama needing more time. On Sunday, Zogby released a poll that only had Clinton down one percentage point. If Obama wins here, it could be a long night for Clinton.

New Mexico - 26 Delegates

The state is heavily Hispanic. Obama is pushing hard to challenge Clinton by opening eight offices in the state. All demographic factors point to a solid win for Clinton, and it will take a lot for Obama to overcome her built-in advantages. But if the rallies in Santa Fe and Albuquerque on Friday are an indication, it could be close.

In Albuquerque on Friday, an estimated 4,500 attended an Obama rally at the Convention Center, 2,500 in the Kiva Auditorium and 2,000 more in an overflow area with giant screen TVs. In Santa Fe on Friday, night another 4,000 attended a rally at the community college there, with hundreds turned away.

On Saturday, 3,000 people attended a Hillary Clinton rally. Bill Clinton will be in New Mexico on Sunday to watch the Super Bowl with Gov. Bill Richardson, who has not made an endorsement. The Albuquerque Tribune has endorsed Obama.

New York - 232 Delegates

Hillary Clinton is a senator from New York, and is endorsed by The New York Times. For Barack Obama this state is about surpassing expectations. Clinton will win here, but if it is not by more than the margin for Obama in Illinois, it could be a victory for Obama, who is on the air and has 11 field offices here. Clinton has all the endorsements and leads all the polls. It's a closed primary, which also favors Clinton.

North Dakota - 13 Delegates

This is a caucus state. Obama has three field offices, while Clinton has none. Senator Conrad has been campaigning for Obama for months. Obama has raised more money in North Dakota than Clinton. There are only 13 delegates, so neither candidate will gain much here.

Oklahoma - 38 Delegates

This state is solidly Clinton. Someone needs to tell the voters in the Sooner State that John Edwards dropped out. In a poll conducted between January 27 and January 30, John Edwards gets 28 percent of the vote to Obama's 17 percent, Clinton gets 41 percent of the vote. Four years ago, Wesley Clark and John Edwards tied here with 30 percent of the vote, while John Kerry got 16 percent. This state will be one where Clinton will grab a large share of the delegates.

Tennessee - 68 Delegates

Clinton should win here, but not by as much as Oklahoma. Obama has raised more money in the state, and has one more field office. Clinton headed to Tennessee while voters were still voting in South Carolina. The only poll post South Carolina had Clinton up 11. Obama has two field offices to Clinton's one in this open primary.

Utah - 23 Delegates

This one is a toss-up. Obama has the only field office. The Salt Lake City Tribune has endorsed Clinton. There are no polls, so it's hard to gauge. It's a solidly Republican state, and independents can vote in either primary, which might help Obama.

In conclusion, it's all about delegates, Obama is running ads, and has offices in New York; he is fighting for delegates there. And Clinton is ignoring Illinois, which has allowed Obama to spend no resources there.

It seems as if the Clinton camp was counting on California, New York, Missouri, Massachusetts and New Jersey. But with four of the five too close to call now, they need to beat Obama bigger in New York than he beats her in Illinois, or he could come out of the night with more delegates and more momentum.

*************

Scott Galindez is Truthout's Washington, DC Bureau Chief.

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