What a Difference a Few Days Make

It is amazing the difference that just three or four days make. It is very lucky for Hillary Clinton and very unfortunate for Barack Obama that there were five contests this weekend.

Despite all five contest (Maine, Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington, US Virgin Islands) being massive landside wins for Barack Obama, the press coverage was minor. On Saturday CNN and MSNBC clearly had their B squad doing the coverage, and the Maine caucus went by on Sunday without any punditry and the usual hours of talking head spin.

Hillary Clinton really dodged a bullet in Maine. Maine’s demographics looked very favorable for her. So far she has done well in the northeast. Maine is also an all white blue-collar state with a high average voter age. The Washington Post even published an article (Women Could Give Clinton the Edge In Maine's Caucuses) the day before the caucus prediction a possible win for Senator Clinton. The Maine Democratic Party also allowed people to vote absentee if they could not attend their caucus, so Hillary Clinton could not level her common complaint against caucusing. Even with all the favorable indicators Hillary Clinton lost my 19 points. If the pundits had been talking about the Maine caucus the coverage would not have been favorable for Senator Clinton.

If the five contests this weekend had been just a few days earlier or later the impact would have been much more powerful. Had the four states voted on Super Tuesday they would created a clear victory for Obama. He would have won twice as many states as Clinton (17-8 instead of 13-8), and netted a positive ~60 pledged delegates instead of a plus ~5.

If this weekend’s primaries had been scheduled a few days later, the “Potomac Primary” it would be called Super Tuesday II instead. With 8 contests (4 primaries/4 caucus) representing a broad cross section of the nation. If Barack Obama had won all 8 primaries by double digit margins with the whole pundit universe watching results trickle in over several hours, I suspect Obama would be crowned the presumptive nominee that night. But fortunately for Hillary Clinton the loses will be spread over 4 days and the pundits are all looking to Texas and Ohio on March 4th instead. The irony is that this weekend had 185 pledged delegates at stake more than Ohio (141) and basically as many as Texas (191). But it is amazing what a difference a few days make.

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