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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Night of Suspense

(Our next general body meeting is Sunday, February 10th, at 5pm in the Meyers Hall multipurpose room. Don't miss it!)

Well last night was fun, even though we all went home before we really knew what it all "meant." The results have become a lot clearer in the light of day, however, and here is where the race stands. Or, more accurately, here is where the race stands in the opinion of a bunch of bloggers and pundits whose judgment I respect.

First, it's important to retain perspective on the race. Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama emerged from Super Tuesday with extraordinarily close delegate counts. NBC News is projecting that last night Obama won 840-849 delegates, while Clinton won 829-839. TPM Election central has a round up of the different media organizations different methods of adding up the delegates, but NBC's numbers are being widely circulated as a solid projection, which means that Obama won the delegates last night.

Remember, going into the contest, Obama's team was trying not to lose. They wanted to lose by fewer than 100 delegates, and hopefully win one or more of some key states, including NJ, CA, MA, or MO. Well, it was a mixed bag. Obama lost MA, CA, and NJ by double digits, although this was inline with most of the polling ahead of time. He did manage to squeeze out the narrowest of victories in MO though. Also, he won CT and DE, both east coast states that were going for Clinton not too long ago. The big story for Obama was that he won most of the other states; 13 in all, and 14 if Clinton's 115 vote lead (out of ~130,000 total) in New Mexico can't hold up to the absentee ballots. Clinton, meanwhile, won 8, 9 if she holds onto NM.

Furthermore, Obama won his states by much bigger margins than Clinton won her's, and in our proportional system that's important. Obama had 60% or more in 8 states, including 70% or more in 3 states. Clinton won only Arkansas, her home state, buy more than 60%. This was what allowed Obama to actually win the delegate count despits losing by double digits in CA, NJ, and MA.

Overall, this was probably a very big night for Obama, although that's a testament to how close this race is. Super Tuesday was a favorable landscape for Clinton to knock out Obama early, and he managed to hang around and stretch out the race, even emerging with more delegates.

The good news for Sen. Clinton was that she won pretty solidly in CA, and that her leads amongst women and hispanic voters are holding. She will need that coalition to remain strong in the race, and if she had bled much support from either of those demographics she would have had a REALLY bad night.

Going forward now, things get interesting. Obama has some favorable states ahead in February, and then on March 4th Ohio and Texas vote with their large delegate counts. Clinton has been leading in both states since the race began, but it all depends on how the race plays out. Does Obama rack up a bunch of wins in February and roll through March 4th (mini super tuesday) with the momentum of a freight train? Or does Clinton win some important victories in Wisconsin, Virginia, and Maryland and blunt his attack. We'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, it's worth pointing out that Clinton raised only $13.5 million in January, while Obama raised $32 million, which will allow him to advertise and campaign much more aggressively than her in the upcoming states. On top of that, today it was announced that she will loan her campaign $5 million dollars, which is a move that doesn't exactly telegraph strength.

Here is a quick roundup of blog-o-sphere thought on the state of the race. Check these out, they're worth a read, and I had to read a lot of analysis to distill the entire internet into these few links.

Kos says it wasn't a tie, and that the Clinton campaign is "reeling."

Chris has the total delegate breakdown for all the states that have voted so far, including pre-super Tuesday. He doesn't include the projected totals in the chart, only confirmed delegates, but does offer that "It look like Obama will win Super Tuesday by a handful of pledged delegates, and maintain an overall lead of about 20-25."

Booman is taking a very optimistic view for Obama, and lays out how he thinks it will go down. This is more optimistic than I would be, but Booman has been a consistently thoughtful voice, not prone to hyperbole or exaggeration.

Back at OpenLeft again, Chris has tempered his fears about a brokered convention. If you've been wondering how this will all play out with superdelegates and Michigan/Florida, this is a must read.

You can keep track of the final results as they trickle in at the CNN Election Center, but keep in mind how they are allocating delegates.

Oh yeah, I forgot about the Republicans. I guess I would write more, but it doesn't really matter who won last night. After all, does anyone remember which states Bob Dole won on Super Tuesday? Nobody will care about McCain's gains last night either once he loses to the Democrat in November.

Click "There's more..." for the rest of the post.