Tsunami in Sight
Polls here show wide leads for Obama among the lingering Democrats, Clinton and former Sen. Mike Gravel, and McCain over Romney, Huckabee and Paul in the remaining Republican field, but the contest is close in several of the two dozen or so other states where the major candidates have set their sights. The contest between Clinton and Obama is particularly interesting and difficult to call. Obama has closed the gap with Clinton in national polls and should fare well in sparsely populated states like North Dakota, Alaska, Idaho and Kansas tomorrow. Clinton may sweep the northeast, although Massachusetts and maybe New Jersey are in play. California is increasingly up for grabs, although with the proportional representation of delegates at work there and in most Democratic contests, look for Clinton and Obama to divide delegates roughly equally tomorrow.
The Republican side is a bit easier to predict. McCain holds wide leads in the polls in most of the 21 contests slated for tomorrow. Expect McCain, Romney and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, to score favorite son victories in their respective home states (AZ, MA and AR), and for McCain to sweep the balance of the Northeast with winner-take-all primaries. Romney should win convincingly in Utah, and the southern states of Missouri, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama remain competitive, three-way contests. California once appeared as a lock for McCain, but Romney is surging there and recent polls show him with a narrow lead.
What I can predict for certain tomorrow is that it will be a long evening of complicated election returns. The various state nominating processes also vary by party, and "delegate math" adds yet another layer of confusion. I expect Hillary Clinton to emerge on Wednesday morning with more delegates than Obama, but Barack may end up winning more states given his emphasis on smaller caucus states that trend "red." McCain should clean up on delegates with his substantial lead in the winner-take-all states. A win for Romney in the Golden State would provide him with additional leverage to stay in the race, and Huckabee could make a similar case should he sweep the South.
Check back here on Wednesday for a thorough analysis of tomorrow's developments. In addition to this blog, I will also record another podcast with Nathan Richie and also participate in an evening program at the Freedom Museum titled "Smart Mouth," where four young "movers and shakers" will pontificate on the state of the race one day after Tsunami Tuesday. Admission to the program is free, but please RSVP here or call 312.222.7871.
Hope to see you Wednesday, and if you are a registered voter in one of the 24 states in play tomorrow, please exercise your civic duty and weigh in on who should be our next President, not to mention the candidates down the ticket. Happy Election Eve!