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DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES AND CAUCUSES 2008 Click for Republican primaries and caucuses

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News: Updated Jan. 26

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News from the Votemaster

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 Thursday? 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 dreams up.

Another Republican congressman is retiring. 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).

State Pollster End date Clinton Obama Edwards Giuliani McCain Romney Huckabee Paul
Alabama Rasmussen Jan. 23 43% 28% 16% 8% 27% 15% 27% 3%
Florida ARG Jan. 24 58% 20% 15% 14% 31% 26% 15% 3%
Florida Insider Advantage Jan. 24 16% 23% 23% 13% 7%
Florida SurveyUSA Jan. 24 47% 30% 12% 18% 30% 28% 14% 6%
Florida Zogby Jan. 25 15% 31% 28% 10% 5%
Missouri Rasmussen Jan. 24 43% 24% 28% 7% 26% 18% 27% 5%
South Carolina ARG Jan. 25 36% 39% 22%          
South Carolina SurveyUSA Jan. 24 30% 43% 24%          
South Carolina Zogby Jan. 25 26% 41% 19%          
Tennessee Crawford Johnson Northcott Jan. 21 34% 20% 16% 2% 12% 7% 24% 2%

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

CNN is keeping track of the delegates for the Democrats and for the Republicans. 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:


Clinton 210 Obama 123 Edwards 52       Needed: 2025
Romney 72 McCain 38 Huckabee 29 Thompson 8 Paul 6 Giuliani 1 Needed: 1191

-- The Votemaster
WWW www.electoral-vote.com