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Super Tuesday Preview: The Democrats

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The Democratic showdown in more than 20 states on Super Tuesday could be one for the ages. A national shift to Barack Obama has definitely taken place during the past week. Obama is in the lead or tied with Hillary Clinton in 3 of the 7 national polls taken during the past few days. Previously, Obama had tied or led in just 4 of the past 201 polls dating back to late 2006, with Clinton boasting double digit leads in the majority of them.

Due to the proportional system in which state democratic parties award delegates, it is extremely unlikely that a winner on the Democratic side will emerge on February 5th. The headline, however, will not simply be that Obama 'remained competitive' to stay in the race, but that the Illinois junior Senator won several key states in which Clinton had previously held the momentum. That outcome - even if the two candidates come out nearly equal in the delegate count - would be a severe blow to the Clinton campaign.

There are several states (at least 8) that are unlikely to be in play on Super Tuesday. Clinton is poised to do very well in her home states of Arkansas and New York in addition to Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Oklahoma is one of the few states in which the well-funded Obama campaign decided not to run any media spots. Obama, meanwhile, is running strong in Georgia, Illinois, and Utah.

Of the remaining 14 states, California is the big prize, and Smart Politics predicts Obama will win the most votes in the Golden State where Oprah Winfrey and the state's First Lady Maria Shriver campaigned on behalf of Obama this weekend.

Clinton once had the upper hand in Northeastern states like New Jersey, Connecticut, and Delaware, but recent polls in all those states show them to be up for grabs. Smart Politics predicts that although the races will be tight, Clinton will prevail in at least two of them.

Several states, especially in the West and Midwest, will be holding caucuses on Tuesday: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Dakota. Polling is very scant in these states, with the only recent poll coming in Minnesota (released last week by Minnesota Public Radio and the Humphrey Institute), which showed Clinton with a 7-point lead. Smart Politics predicts that Obama will prevail in a majority of these caucus states, including the Gopher State, where he has run a big ad campaign.

That leaves the Southern states of Alabama and Missouri and the Southwestern state of Arizona. Polls in all three states are very close and these are definite 'toss-up' states. Whoever wins them will not win a large majority of the delegates.

Missouri might be the bellwether state in determining who has the ultimate advantage as the campaigns move forward past Super Tuesday, as it is the neighboring state to both Clinton (Arkasnsas) and Obama (Illinois).

The final tally Smart Politics expects to see on the Super Tuesday Democratic scorecard: 12 states for Clinton, 10 states for Obama.

A Republican Super Tuesday Preview will be posted later today.

Previous post: California a Toss Up for the GOP
Next post: Super Tuesday Preview: The Republicans

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Remains of the Data

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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