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FiveThirtyEight

Politics

Sorry for the slow pace of things today. I’ve been dealing with both an internet outage and a construction crew that’s basically living in my apartment, so conditions have not been ideal. We will have the polling thread up momentarily.

In the meantime, I wanted to think about the following headline on Drudge:

HILLARY CAMPAIGN EXPECTS 25-POINT WIN IN S DAKOTA, TOP SOURCES TELL DRUDGE... DEVELOPING...

When I see something like this on Drudge, I assume that it’s somebody’s attempt at spin, not “OMG HILLARY’S TOP SECRET INTERNALZ!”. Yesterday’s American Research Group poll, whether or not it turns out to have any bearing in reality, provides cover for such a claim.

So … who benefits from this number receiving additional currency? Ordinarily, you’d say Obama because it significantly lowers expectations. In fact, because of this poll being out there (echoed by CNN and Drudge), a small loss by Obama in South Dakota might appear to be far more tolerable.

However, it could also be in Clinton’s interest to throw enough of a roadblock in front of superdelegates that they might think twice about endorsing Obama immediately. If all of the networks declare the nomination in a big, climactic moment for Barack Obama tonight — and that’s looking quite likely at this point — it will be completely impossible to walk that result back without Hillary looking like she’s ripping the party to shreds. On the other hand, if Obama’s clinch comes 24 or 48 hours from now on the endorsement of some random superdelegate, the outcome appears to be a tiny bit more technical and less written in stone.

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