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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rolling The Dice In Vegas

George Wenschhof

Today, Nevada hold it's caucus and the results will soon be known. Senator Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) has led by substantial margins in polls taken over the last week. Click here to read the last four poll results including one that concluded yesterday.

As was the case in New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign is engaging in raw bare knuckle politics using all the established and institutional support they can muster. They want a win bad here for they know they are lagging in polls being taken in S. Carolina, the next Democratic primary on the 26th. A win in Nevada would give them two in a row and help blunt the surge that Senator Barack Obama is currently receiving in S. Carolina.

The Obama campaign is not about to roll over in Nevada and with the help of the Culinary Workers Union and the local SEIU chapter, they are aiming for a come from behind victory. Fresh off winning a battle with the Clinton campaign with a ruling by a judge declaring it was permissible to hold the nine scheduled caucuses in casinos, the Culinary Workers Union is fired up.

While former N. Carolina Senator and Vice-President candidate John Edwards is continuing a hard fought battle of his own. He has support of smaller trade unions such as the carpenters. The last two polls taken - (see above polling data) - show voters trending toward Clinton and Obama with Edwards receiving less votes. The earlier polls show that Edwards was in a statistical dead heat with Clinton and Obama.

As I have been saying all along in my posts, don't put too much weight in the polls. However, they are good for looking at trends and possible outcomes.

All three of these front runners have a lot at stake here in Nevada, but I would put the Clinton campaign in a must win category. A second place finish or below here would be a blow to her campaign and most likely ensure a loss in S. Carolina on the 26th. They would not want to go into super Tuesday on February 5th with two straight losses and three losses out of the four primaries to date.

The Obama campaign can survive a second place finish in Nevada but they must hope for a close second. Then they can go on to S. Carolina and solidify their front running status in that state. This would put Obama in a good position on super Tuesday, having won two of the four primaries and of course the most recent one prior to February 5th.

The Edwards campaign has put a lot of effort into Nevada and a third place finish with a small percentage of the vote would not bode well for his campaign. However, a competitive third place finish or a surprise second place finish would give his campaign the jolt it has been looking for since his second place finish in Iowa. Although Edwards won S. Carolina in 2004, he is polling in third place this time around. Look to see him possibly win some states on super Tuesday. If he stays in to the convention, he will have an important seat at the table.

As to my predictions on the winner today? I say it's a roll of the dice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If, and this is a big if, Obama wins, Clinton is in a really difficult position. She's played every sleaze card there is to play in the deck, and if she still loses in a state that, demographically at least, should be good for her, Obama will get momentum, follow it up in South Carolina and roll towards victory on Super Tuesday (might take till the next week to ratify that). The lawsuit was the single stupidest campaign tactic in recent memory.

It *might* be enough to put Obama over the top. If that happens, since recent national polls have shown a dead heat and recent polls in California have also shown a dead heat, I would anticipate Obama to get in front. All this said, I anticipate a tie between Clinton and Obama.