Does Michigan take the wind out of McCain’s sails?

Does Michigan take the wind out of McCain’s sails?


    ..and what about Hillary after 40% of Dems voted “uncommitted”?

Another fascinating night for US primary watchers with Romney doing better than expectations in the GOP race to win with a thumping margin and a worrying result for Clinton in the Democratic election where she was the only main candidate.

Most of the pre-election polling had suggested that McCain was running Romney very close in in his home state with at least two firms suggesting that the Arizona senator was one point ahead. None of the polls predicted the scale of Romney’s victory – 39%-30% – though like in Iowa just over a fortnight ago the local pollster did best. There’s a lesson there somewhere.

Since the start of the year I’ve been doubtful about McCain and closed my position on him at a profit on the night of Iowa. He’s still favourite for the nomination but has moved out. The next test, in South Carolina on Saturday, does not look like good territory for him. A big question might be how he does against Mike Huckabee who did not have a good night in Michigan.

The Michigan Democrat race is hard to assess because the voting went ahead in defiance of the time-table set by national party who are saying that none of the delegates’ votes will count. Edwards and Obama pulled out but Hillary stayed in. If you wanted to register a vote against her then there was an “uncommitted” option which, surprisingly picked up a 40% share to her 55%.

There been little reaction in the US media apart from at CNN who are making their second lead on Michigan the rejection of the ex-president’s spouse by the young. In the 18-29 age group 48% voted “uncommitted” to 39% for Clinton. Of voters aged 30-44, 48% also chose “uncommitted” and 46% Clinton.

There are suggestions that by staying on the ballot while the other main contenders withdrew Clinton “circumvented the process”. This might develop and reinforces the argument I put last night that the current value bet might be Obama. In the UK betting Hillary’s price has hardly moved.

Mike Smithson

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