We have a batch of new polls today for a variety of states. The South Carolina Democratic
primary is today, and if the polls are right this time, Barack Obama will win handily.
This will help him appreciably going into Feb. 5. However there is also a fair amount of
bad news for him. New polls show him losing badly to Clinton in four other southern and border states:
Florida (Jan. 29), Alabama, Missouri, and Tennessee (all Feb. 5).
The difference between these states in undoubtedly the fact that blacks make up about 50%
of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina and far less in the other states.
The reason for this discrepancy that that South Carolina is probably the most racially
polarized state in the country, with the vast majority of whites being Republicans and
virtually all blacks being Democrats. Other southern and border states are not like this. In
Missouri, for example, whites are split between the parties almost 50-50 and blacks
are a much smaller part of the population.
After Obama's likely win today in South Carolina, all eyes will be on Tuesday's closed
primary in Florida. The Democrats aren't campaigning there because the party told them not to.
In theory no delegates are at stake (but see below) since the DNC stripped them all as
a punishment for Florida jumping the gun. The Republicans, in contrast, are campaigning
like mad there. In particular, this is certainly Giuliani's last stand and possibly
Romney's too. If Giuliani does not win, he's finished. Coming in second doesn't count.
In fact, if he wins by a small margin he is probably still out. He has to win by a
landslide, and that does not appear to be in the cards. For Romney,, Florida is also
crucial. Since he is paying the bill himself, he has enough money to go through Feb. 5
no matter what, but a McCain win in Florida would give the Arizona senator an almost
unstoppable momentum. A Romney win would break the race wide open. The polls show it
is too close to call.
Remember the credentials fight discussed here
Well, it has already started.
Hillary Clinton has issued a statement
saying the poor folks in Michigan and Florida want to be represented at the convention, so the
delegates they elected and will soon elect should be seated.
Coincidentally, she won Michigan and is likely to win Florida. It will be interesting to see
when Barack Obama comes out saying "They knowingly broke the rules and I am against amnesty."
Remember, you read this first here :-)
Actually, there is more to this than meets the eye. The subtext here is that Clinton
is showing she can play dirty and when the Republicans throw shovels full of mud at
her during the general election they are going to get buckets of it right back, and fast.
The implication is that if Obama turns the other cheek the charges will stick and if he
doesn't, he loses his allure as a candidate above the fray. She's trying to establish
herself as a battle-hardened street fighter who can handle whatever the new Karl Rove
Another Republican congressman is
This time it is Rep. Dave Weldon in FL-15, which runs along the coast from Vero Beach to Merritt Island and 50 miles inland.
Weldon said he wanted to go back to his medical practice and denied that his
daughter's recent arrest for hitting and wounding a man in a bar with a shoe was related to
his decision. The district is R+4, which means the Republican will have an
edge, but it is close enough that the GOP goes from a sure thing to yet
another battle. This is the kind of race where Chris Van Hollen's checkbook matters
(see yesterday's post by clicking on "Previous report" to the right of the map above).
CNN is keeping track of the delegates for the
and for the
Note that other sources may differ because CNN is trying to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and
Elected Officials) and when different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary,
but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.
Here is CNN's count: