Momentum times ten

Do you remember all the talk about the momentum expected to come from winning Iowa — one caucus in one state? Well, with Barack Obama’s victories in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC tonight, and his expected victory next week in Wisconsin, he’ll have won something like ten contests in a row, many of them primaries. If there’s such a thing as momentum in the primary season, Obama has it going on.
The Clinton campaign insists, however, that its candidate looks good in Texas and Ohio. This claim is plausible. In Texas, Hispanics represent a sizeable portion of the Democratic vote and in Ohio working class Democrats are a big factor. These are groups that Hillary has done well with this year. Moreover, she continues to run roughly neck-and-neck with Obama in national polls, so there must be some states where she’s ahead of her rival. More generally, I believe that individual state characteristics trump “momentum.”
Even so, it’s not easy to put a happy face on ten straight defeats, and I wouldn’t be surprised if doubt, bordering perhaps on despair, has penetrated the Clinton camp.


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