How can one predict what will happen in Super Tuesdays 20+ primaries?
The truth is noone can. February 5th is like no day ever in our country's political history.
It doesn't matter what James Carville, Bill Bennet, Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity, or even greats like Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw think. None of them know, because this is an historic day.
Saying all that there will be no predictions today as they will surely be wrong as I have been all primary season.
Even after the South Carolina win and Kennedy endorsement I thought that Clinton would win Super Tuesday fairly considerably if for no other reason substantial victories in California, New York, and New Jersey.
Yet, the week has shown a real movement towards Barack Obama. While I thought the debate was even, the fact he stood on the stage and more than held his own with a political institution like Hillary has proven powerful. The movement in the polls and the momentum for Barack has been pretty massive in short order.
One thing I caution is that the polls moved like this after Iowa and the voters in New Hampshire brought Obama-mania back to earth. This move feels different though than the post Iowa momentum. 15,000+ people at the eventin Boise, the electric Oprah/Caroline/Maria Shriver/Michelle Obama event in LA. Obama has some serious momentum and the ceiling is certainly higher for him on February 5th. He is within 10 points in New Jersey and is in a dead heat in California and Missouri and has made Clinton spend resources in New York.
If Obama wins California, and until the past two days that looked unlikely, it would really send a signal that Hillary's strength has been zapped by Obama. In California he has picked up the endorsements of the large SEIU as well as La Opinion, the nations largest Latino newspaper, and that of popular 1st lady Maria Shriver. While I don't feel that endorsements are everything, in this short a time frame, its the kind of positive news that keeps you in the news cycle.
One other reason to expect a better than expected showing for Obama is the financial resources he has at his disposal. Stories that I have read have made it sound that Obama has a bigger prescence in more states, the smaller caucus states in particular. The Idaho crowd is evidence of that. This will keep him competitive and most importantly healthy in delegates should Clinton have strong turnouts in the big states. That is the result of the massive haul of money Obama, $32million, took in during January.
Now to Hillary. As we all learned yet again in New Hampshire, the minute you count out the Clintons, they bounce back. After getting smoked in South Carolina she was in Florida showing her strength in a state that didn't count. She also has the added ability of having her husband able to cover the twice the ground while garnering equal press. While President Clinton was slammed for his campaigning in South Carolina. Yet, he is still a force and an opinion changer unlike anyone else in politics. Since we have not seen Bill Clinton in a week that means he has been positive, and that is when he is at his best.
Hillary is also coming off a strong debate performance watched by over 8million Americans. She has been talking issues and pounding away at healthcare which I think is still her strongest issue against Obama. Yet the polls show her on shaky ground even in states she banked on as sure winners. Rudy Giuliani was cricticized for his 'Florida Strategy', should Clinton lose the day her 'big state strategy' may well be criticized as well.
How Hillary survives is by winning the expectations game. The bar for success has been lowered for her in the past 72 hours. The momentum for Obama has quickly raised his expectations. If Hillary wins more delegates and holds on in California, she can and will be able to spin the day as a win for her.
The Obama craze has lifted expectations for his success. He far exceeded those expectations in South Carolina, he needs to meet them on Tsunami Tuesday and he will come out with a big win. It is no longer to good enough for him stay close to beating Hillary. To win the cycle and keep the momentum I think Obama needs to come out on top for Super Tuesday.
Can Romney survive Super Tuesday? That is the question of the day. The thought overall is that he will not. As I wrote late last week the winner take all states work in McCains favor. He will win New Jersey, New York, Arizona, Connecticut and Delware. This gives McCain a huge lead even if Romney wins California, and recent polling indicates Romney is looking particularly strong in California.
This makes one state a must for Romney. He must win Missouri, a winner take all with 58 delegates. It will still be tough for Romney to stay close, but wins in California and Missouri wins could keep him close enought to stay in the race.
Tsunami Tuesday is also the day in which we will find out if the Right Wing talk show muscle and pundits really have the impact that they claim. It has become a mission for Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and others to defeat McCain. They are resisting the party moving to the Giuliani-Schwarzenegger wing of the party. Its the '50 state Republican
Party' as Giuliani calls it versus the conservative base.
McCains lead looks big enough to maintain the barrage of Rush Limbaughs, et al. These folks have loyal followings though. What the Radio Republicans have against them is that Mike Huckabee's voters are the one's most usually influenced by the pundits.
One strategy of McCain's that confused me was his bouncing around the East Coast today. I understand those are 'winner take all' states and very important, but Romney has hardly campaigned in these states and outside of Massachusetts polls have McCain up 20+ points! Why would McCain not make a swing through the south and midwest where Romney is trying to steal delegates and states?
If this race is closer than people are predicting I think John McCain spending today on the East Coast could cost him more than the blow hards of right wing radio railing against him. Think the number for Romney is 200. If he can stay withing 200 delegates this would keep him in the race and a big factor. Not likely, but its possible.