Monday, March 3, 2008

Super Tuesday II preview

Ok, folks ... here's your Super Tuesday II preview:

  • The latest RealClearPolitics average (a combination of all major polls) show Barack Obama with a slight lead over Hillary Clinton in Texas, while Clinton leads Obama in Ohio. I'm no pollster, but I'd counsel some caution while viewing the Ohio numbers: The RCP average factors in one poll that shows Clinton with a 12-point lead. Others show her lead to be in single digits. The 12-point poll no doubt skews the average, which comes out to +5.4 points for Clinton.
  • Turnout, and the disparity thereof, continues to be one of the biggest backstories to the primary season. According to CNN's numbers, Democrats have cast 22 million votes in primaries and caucuses this season, compared with 14.1 million for Republicans. "Ohio, it appears, will be no exception in a presidential primary season punctuated by remarkable Democratic intensity and some signs of a shrinking or changing Republican base," CNN says.
  • Here are the Democratic fundraising numbers through two lenses; one, an update on where the candidates are financially going in to March 4; the other, a report on the wary eye GOP leaders are casting toward their counterparts -- and the excitement that fundraising indicates. From the latter article:

"Since the midterm election of 2006, Democrats have had an enthusiasm gap with Republicans," said GOP strategist Scott Reed. "They have big crowds, raise more money and appear to have more excitement on the campaign trail. Couple this with turnout numbers, which are off the charts, and Republicans are going to have a big challenge in the fall."

Obama raised $36 million in January. Clinton aides said she raised $35 million in February, and estimates for Obama place his haul for the month at more than $50 million. McCain, who raised about $12 million in January, is on a similar pace for February, according to his campaign.

Such a money advantage could mean that for the first time since post-Watergate campaign finance laws, a presidential candidate may forgo public financing for the general election. That would mean turning aside $85 million for September and October on the assumption that he or she could raise more.

  • Courtesy of, with-it.aspx" target="_blank">here's a useful primer on the labyrinthine primary/caucus (the "primacaucus" or "Texas Two-Step," according to locals) hybrid that the candidates' supporters will navigate in the Lone Star State on Tuesday. "We have grown men crying over it," Clinton told the New York Times. But not everyone will be at the caucuses ... More on this one later.
  • We talked yesterday about the ground game and how it works. The link I gave you used Barack Obama's Ohio operation as an example. Clinton's ground game has been called into question by some longtime Clintonistas (the poll numbers in the second half are outdated).
  • Clinton campaign mastermind Harold Ickes made news recently for his insistence that Clinton would win the nomination with superdelegates and that Obama's state victories would be "irrelevant." But even that strategy seems to be shaky. Georgia Rep. John Lewis, one of the last major civil rights leaders and one of those highly sought-after superdelegates, has switched his support from Clinton to Obama, citing the 3-to-1 ratio with which his constituents supported Obama on Feb. 5.
  • Finally, it's never too early for hindsight. Here's Democratic strategist and Hillary Clinton supporter Susan Estrich on what you won't be hearing from her if Clinton fails to land the two big wins on Tuesday night. The gist: "For all those who say Hillary should have been the candidate of change instead of the voice of experience, the force for unity instead of a symbol of division, the face of the future instead of a reminder of the past, I have only one answer: Get real." Ah, Susan. You have such a way with words.