Monday, January 28, 2008

Superdelegates are almost 20% of the vote in Democratic primary.

Underreported in the mainstream media is the significant role played by Democratic "superdelegates" in the primary process. 20% of the delegates at the convention are superdelegates. A list of these delegates along with their endorsements so far is HERE. Considering Clinton's large lead in the polls her clear superdelegate lead is also very significant. In fact one could argue that the superdelegate approach - by design - helps give a significant edge to political insiders like Hilary Clinton.

Clinton v Obama on February 5th. Mainstream media analysis has gone from worthless to opportunistic.

President Picker still thinks Hilary Clinton will be the nominee of the Democrats, and that the victory will be clear next Tuesday after the national primaries. Obama's speeches are both inspired and we think he's credible, but several factors continue to favor Clinton:

Polling shows Clinton with substantial voting leads almost across the board. has the best polling coverage and Clinton looks fairly solid. It'll be interesting to see how the Kennedy endorsement of Obama today affects the tracking polls tomorrow, but I'm guessing this was a media event that'll have little national impact on Obama's poll numbers.

So why does the media keep gushing over relatively insignificant events and aspects of the race? Because they LOVE a horserace, and they've helped make one happen by overstating Obama's chances, overstating Bill Clinton's positive and negative influences, and overstating the tensions in what has been a remarkably civil and dignified campaign.

With several exceptions such as the always frank and honest Pat Buchanon, many Republican analysts appear to me to be nothing short of deceptive with their glowing pseudo-endorsements of Obama, hoping to either create a weaker opponent for their Republican preference or (more likely) begin the tear-down of Hilary Clinton as early as possible.

Predictions? As always we are happy to give them. Clinton will consolidate here position and effectively win the democratic primary next week. Romney and McCain will remain close and that race will go down to the wire, perhaps depending on last minute negative campaign tactics, and probably going to the Republican convenion for a winner.

Look for Clinton to win very graciously and bring Obama on as her VP nominee quickly, consolidating the votes of two key groups in the general election: Women and African Americans.

Kennedy Endorses Obama

Ted Kennedy has endorsed Barack Obama. Although most of the media, almost gushing over the announcement, suggests this is a very positive development for the Obama campaign, I think that on balance this may not bode well for Obama.

First, the Kennedy endorsement consolidates Obama's position as the most liberal of the two key players. Yet he was already very popular among the most liberal factions of the Democratic party. Strategically, how will this endorsement affect the votes of the suburban soccer moms and moderate Democrats? I'd suggest it will push them firmly into the Clinton camp. Also significant is that even if Obama wins the Democratic nomination it's clear that painting himself as a "left wing liberal" will not help in the general election. The Democrat is *almost certain* to get the liberal vote regardless of the candidate lineups on either the Democrat or Republican side. The key battleground in the election will be the undecided, indecisive middle of the road voters who I predict want to see balanced and moderate forces prevail. As GW Bush did in 2000, Obama has masterfully portrayed himself as a "reach across the aisle" candidate. Kennedy's endorsement will not lend much support to this assertion.