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Democratic primary predictions: Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, Vermont

By Griffin · March 4th, 2008 · No Comments


After more than a year of some of the most intense campaigning in American history, the race for the Democratic nomination between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could very well be decided today by the voters in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  Several people within the Clinton campaign, including President Clinton himself, have either hinted or outright acknowledged that if Hillary doesn’t win both Ohio and Texas, her campaign will be over.

Since Super Tuesday, Obama has opened up a mathematically daunting lead among delegates with landslide victories in 11 straight states, including those in the February 12 Potomac Primary, where there were actually more combined delegates at stake than today.  With a pledged delegate lead of 150, an overall delegate lead of well over 100, and only 370 delegates at stake today, Obama would have to lose today’s contests by more than 30 points (a 65%-35% split for Clinton) in order for Clinton to pull even.  With the complicated way Texas proportions its delegates, the close race in Ohio, and a lead in the Vermont polls of nearly 20 points for Obama, it’s all but impossible for Clinton to close the gap today.  In fact, she could win both Ohio and Texas by single digits and lose the overall delegate count if Rhode Island or Vermont turns into the kind of Obama landslide we’ve seen repeatedly.

In Texas, early voting patterns are not looking good for Clinton.  While early voting is up 2-3 times the 2004 numbers in heavily Latino, Clinton-friendly areas such as El Paso and Corpus Christi, it is up between 5-10 times the 2004 numbers in the heavily African-American, Obama-friendly areas such as Dallas and Austin.  And while the polls show the state locked in a dead heat, many are making the same mistake that we saw throughout the month of February: using 2004 turnout figures in order to predict the 2008 race, which tends to badly undercount Obama’s turnout among new voters, African-Americans, and Independents.

Ohio should be a much closer race and will be Clinton’s best chance to finally win a state.  Though Obama has most of the endorsements, Clinton has more establishment support and more momentum.  Yesterday’s revelation than an Obama adviser did in fact speak with Canadian officials about NAFTA (regardless of what was actually said) was a win for Clinton, and could help push her over the top in the heavily anti-trade state.

Vermont and Rhode Island have significantly fewer delegates at state, but again it appears that Obama’s strategy is to focus on the smaller states, so that even if he loses in Ohio and Texas his campaign can say that they tied in states won.  There will also be the psychological effect of more potential landslides in these two states that will dampen whatever good news Clinton may get out of the larger states.

So the big question today is, will Clinton be able to do enough to stay in the race?  My prediction is she won’t, but she’ll stay in anyway.  She’ll lose Texas and Vermont by double digits, and the races in Rhode Island and Ohio will be close enough that neither will make a dent in the delegate math.  But despite losing one of the big states that her campaign has been saying for weeks that she absolutely must win, they’ll find a way to spin it and continue the race until April 22 in Pennsylvania.

Here are my state-by-state predictions of what we can expect from the results tonight:


OHIO (primary – 141 delegates)

Obama Key Endorsements:
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cincinnati Enquirer, Mayor Frank Jackson (Cleveland), Mayor Mark Mallory (Cincinnati)

Clinton Key Endorsements:
Akron Beacon Journal, Zanesville Times Recorder, Gov. Ted Strickland, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones

Latest polls:
Clinton up by 7

Prediction:
Clinton by 5


TEXAS (primary/caucus – 193 delegates)

Obama Key Endorsements:
Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, El Paso Times, Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, Rep. Mayor Will Wynn (Austin), Fmr. Mayor Ron Kirk (Dallas), Al Green, Rep. Chet Edwards, Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, Rep. Lloyd Dogget, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, Fmr. Cowboy RB Emmitt Smith

Clinton Key Endorsements:
Laredo Morning Times, The Daily Texan, Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, Rep. Silvestre Reyes, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Rep. Henry Cuellar, Rep. Gene Green

Latest polls:
Clinton up by 2

Prediction:
Obama by 10


RHODE ISLAND (primary – 21 delegates)

Obama Key Endorsements:
Rep. Patrick Kennedy

Clinton Key Endorsements:
Mayor David Cicilline (Providence), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. James Langevin

Latest polls:
Clinton up by 10

Prediction:
Obama by 2


VERMONT (primary – 15 delegates)

Obama Key Endorsements:
Sen. Patrick Leahy, Rep. Peter Welch, Ben & Jerry’s(!)

Clinton Key Endorsements:
Vermont Woman Newspaper

Latest polls:
Obama up by 19

Prediction:
Obama by 20

Tags: Barack Obama · Democrats · Hillary Clinton


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