The Democratic race – where are we?

The Democratic race – where are we?


As the chart, showing the Clinton-Obama fight in terms of the implied probabilities of odds on UK betting markets, illustrates the events of the past week have had an impact but not that much.

A number of visitors have expressed surprise at my continuing view that Hillary is still in with a shout even though the pledged delegate totals are against her. Perhaps the best articulation of my nagging doubts about Obama’s chances comes from the US blogger who, for me, has become the most authoritative guide to this fascinating election, Marc Ambinder.

Obama’s had a tough week, as numbers everywhere reflect, including the Gallup daily track (but not the Rasmussen track) and three state polls showing Clinton outperforming Obama against McCain in Ohio, Missouri and even making Kentucky somewhat competitive.

But the Obama campaign has met the challenge of Rev. Wright, perhaps sufficiently, perhaps not. But from the perspective of wavering superdelegates, it’s hard to find a level of panic among them. Obama has four weeks to recover until Pennsylvania; assuming that the bad news evens out the good news, the attitudes of these superdelegates will degrees to the mean and they won’t be a position to rethink the entire premise of Obama’s candidacy.

The see-saw numbers change every week; why would superdelegates put more stock in them now versus last week versus two weeks from now?

And Florida and Michigan aren’t going to re-vote. The chances for their Jan. 29 delegations to be seated intact are slim to shred.

Clinton may well win the political argument in Florida and Michigan, but she won’t win a single delegate from those two states until at least April, when the DNC’s rules and bylaws committee might decide to seat superdelegates based on the appeal of DNC member Jon Ausman.

To put it crudely, the analyst’s emotional brain feels momentum for Hillary; the analyst’s analytical brain can’t quite figure out how Obama loses.

The latest nomination betting is here.

Mike Smithson

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