At least one, and possibly both, parties’ Presidential nominating contests could be over tomorrow, so this could very well be the last prediction thread until after Labor Day.
So let’s get this one right.
Let’s get the easy one out of the way.
John McCain is going win tomorrow and he’s going to win big enough to get the remaining 100+ delegates he needs to clinch the Republican nomination. He has double digit leads over Mike Huckabee in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island. The smart thing for Huckabee to do tomorrow night would be to congratulate McCain and drop out of the race.
Once again, Ron Paul won’t win any delegates but it looks like he will win re-election to Congress.
If nothing else, I think we’ll see the end of Barack Obama’s consecutive win streak. Hillary Clinton has a double digit lead in Rhode Island and, barring a complete disaster for her, it looks like she’ll at least win that one.
Obama, on the other hand, looks to be headed to an easy victory in Vermont.
Let’s take Texas first. The trend has been clearly in Obama’s favor for the past two weeks and I think that will be enough for him to coast to a victory. His victory in the primary itself is likely to be narrow, but he will do well in the caucus part of the process and will come out of the day with the majority of the Lone Star State’s delegates.
As for the Buckeye State, this one really ought to be put in a too-close-to-call category, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that Clinton manages to pull off a victory here, albeit an incredibly slim one. Even if I’m wrong and Obama wins, I think the margin of victory will be under 5 percentage points, which will be important when it comes to allocating delegates.
It’s the delegate count that matters, of course, and here’s where we stand right now:
- Barack Obama — 1193 delegates
- Hillary Clinton — 1038 delegates
Obama + 155
- Barack Obama — 1389 delegates
- Hillary Clinton — 1279 delegates
Obama + 110
As with past primaries, all of the Democratic primaries award delegates on a proportional basis, and Texas awards part of it’s delegates based on the results of the Tuesday evening caucuses. Barack Obama will get the majority of Vermont’s 15 delegates, and Hillary will get the majority of Rhode Island’s 21 delegates. In Texas and Ohio though, they’ll split the delegates much more evenly and any advantage that Hillary gets from winning Ohio could very easily be wiped out by the net gain Obama gets out of Texas.
By the time the dust settles later this week, I think we’ll see that Obama is still ahead in pledged delegates by at least 150 and leading in total pledged delegates by at least 105.
After this there are only two races — Wyoming on March 8th and Mississippi on March 11th — between March 4th and the Pennsylvania primary on April 22nd. I have no idea what will happen in Wyoming — if it is, as I suspect, a caucus, then Obama will probably win — but I think it’s fairly clear that Obama will win Mississippi. Unless Clinton can pull off something truly convincing and surprising tomorrow, which seems unlikely, the logic of her remaining in the race seems to be less and less tenable.