Tuesday, March 04, 2008

McCain locks GOP nomination, Huckabee drops out

John McCain is now the official and undisputed GOP nominee as he has enough delegates to win the convention and Mike Huckabee has bowed out.

Many pundits are foolishly suggesting that the Clinton Obama race is helping McCain. That race is still tight after Clinton victories tonight in Ohio and Texas and will almost surely go to the convention. However the Dems should be thrilled with this result - media attention has been squarely focused on Obama and Clinton for months and this will continue. McCain will be almost a news afterthought until the Democratic nominee is decided, so regardless of whether the Dems choose Obama or Clinton at the Convention the free publicity from an ongoing race is - almost literally - priceless as it places these two squarely in the minds of the undecided and apathetic voters who ultimately make the decisions in American politics - decisions based largely on name recognition, negative campaigning, and other trivialities.

Clinton Wins Texas

Exit polling is so close that they are not calling Texas for Clinton yet, but she's likely to win given the current totals which have Clinton up by about 2%. Exit polling is closer:

Exit polling shows this:

Male (43%) Clinton: 46% Obama: 52%

Female (57%) 53% Obama: 46%

Note even before the math that since there are more women voting than men and Clinton is winning with women more than Obama with men she's probably got it barring glaring exit poll errors.

The maths suggest the final tally is this:

Clinton: .43 x .46 + .57 x .53 = 49.9%
Obama: .43 x .52 + .57 x .46 = 48.58 %

OK, this is *so close* I can see why they are not calling it for Clinton. But President Picker is not so cautious, because we are a blog and have far lower journalistic standards than, say, Fox news. Wait .... let me rephrase that...

Clinton about to win Texas

Although the networks, cowed by exit polling errors in New Hampshire, are afraid to call Texas for Clinton it appears very clear she's the likely winner in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island with Obama winning Vermont.

Although one can reasonably question what relevance "win" has in a contest where delegates are propotioned according to vote rather than "all or nothing" as in many Republican races, media attention focuses so narrowly on "wins" that this is an important metric.

What is clear is what Tim Russert pointed out tonight on MSNBC - the race will continue for through the convention and seating of Michigan and Florida will be a very important issue, as will superdelegates.

Donna Brazille, a superdelegate and CNN analyst, seemed to make a FreudianEsque slip tonight when she suggested the superdelegates would lean to the candidate with the best chance of a Presidential win. Based on almost *every single poll*, this is Obama rather than Clinton.

It's mini-Super-Tuesday - have you won yet?

With Texas and Ohio on the line John McCain may lock up his nomination today, and certainly is well on the way to the Republican Nomination. A recent BBQ at his house had McCain sizing up some potential running mates, though it's not at all clear who he'll choose. Although Huckabee may be appealing to the right wing of the party it's not clear McCain would gain a lot of votes with Huckabee because conservatives are either going to vote McCain or sit out this election. A more likely strategy than to go for conservatives is probably to shift to the center and try to play the "liberal" card against the Democrats, painting Obama or Clinton as far left. This strategy worked very well for Richard Nixon vs George McGovern and to a lesser extent in Bush v Kerry in 2004, where the Democrats were painted as "unpatriotic" despite the fact both had served in active military where the opponent had not.