Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Clinton Rallies, But Does It Matter? - New York Magazine's Daily Intelligencer:

In attempting to counter Obama’s lead in popular votes and states won, the Clinton campaign has argued that superdelegates should be free to exercise their own judgment in deciding where to cast their lots, however pledged delegates are allocated. Problem is, superdelegates have been drifting away from Clinton ever since Super Tuesday. Every week, Obama has picked up a clutch of them, while Clinton has lured hardly any. Clinton’s superdelegate lead over Obama, nearly 100 on February 10, has shrunk to just 46, according to Democratic Convention Watch, which maintains handy lists of exactly which superdelegates are supporting which candidates.

The Clinton camp has also been holding in reserve the results from Michigan and Florida, where Hillary’s name was on the ballot despite DNC sanctions against those states for holding their primaries too early. But between Obama’s string of victories and his gains among superdelegates, his lead over Clinton is almost enough to survive even if Michigan and Florida are counted.

Consider this best-case scenario for Hillary: Freeze the superdelegates where they are and add all of them, plus all the committed delegates from Michigan and Florida, to the pledged delegates. Pretend Michigan’s 55 uncommitted delegates (which resulted from anti-Clinton votes) don’t exist and forget John Edwards’s 25 delegates, too. Do all that, and Clinton leads Obama, but by just 1,468 to 1,453.

Sometime soon — maybe not Tuesday night, but perhaps after Mississippi on the 11th or when another handful of superdelegates reading swing-state polls declare for Obama — that fifteen-delegate lead is going to vanish. And then Clinton will be out of trumps.

5:15 PM