This is simply going to be a thumbnail version of what I did last week. No time for all those fancy charts and graphs, but I'd feel remiss if I didn't give it my best shot.
Alabama is one of just a couple of states where Obama’s polling averages have not moved in the wake of South Carolina. My head says that this is some kind of anomaly, since Obama has shown decent forward movement in neighboring Georgia, but my gut-instinct points toward Clinton. Perhaps her organization on the ground there is stronger than recognized – she does have the endorsement of the Alabama Democratic Caucus. Anyway, I’m taking advantage of the even number of delegates and calling it a draw. If there’s a good metric for Obama, it’s that the strong majority of undecided voters are African-Americans. Either way, Obama partisans should not be worried if we lose this one; it hasn’t been polling especially well for him.
There has been no real news out of Alaska, although I did come across a couple of local stories that implied enthusiasm for Obama. Delegates stay as they were previously.
Arizona has tightened some in relatively sparse polling, although it wasn’t polled at all over the weekend. However, since my Arizona projection was already probably a little bit optimistic toward Obama, and since it’s an early voting state, I haven’t moved the numbers.
No polls and no change in Arkansas.
If we step back and look at California, we see that the Field Poll had Clinton +2 with a lot of undecideds, and much of that data is now about a week old. Since that time, Obama has received the Shriver endorsement, the endorsements of tons of newspapers like La Opinion, has been out-advertising Hillary, and has had time to work on his ground game among Latino voters. That’s enough for me to conclude that he’s since developed a lead of a couple of points. There is also some evidence that Obama has some small, built-in advantage because of the way the CD math works out, which could be worth another several delegates.
Now, if you absolutely have to pick and choose between the Survey USA data (Clinton +12) and the Zogby data (Obama +13) that everyone has been fighting about, I think the Zogby data tells us a bit more for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it’s 24 hours more recent, and Obama evidently had a very good day in Monday polling to spike up by 7 points. And in this case, there’s a specific event associated with that spike, because of Maria Shriver’s endorsement. For another thing, Survey USA’s internals look screwy both to me and to a veteran observer. For a third thing, even if these pollsters are a little off, the trendlines count for something. Survey USA, which has liked Clinton in California all year, showed essentially no trendline, whereas Zogby showed a sharp, and very late-breaking trendline toward Obama. Polls rarely break that much without there being something there.
Anyway, it’s anybody’s state. And I certainly don’t expect Obama to win it by 13 points. But even if he loses it, his campaign deserves a lot of credit, because he’s taken what looked like it was going to be a 50- or 60-point delegate swing toward Clinton and wiped it down to nothing.
The fundamental way I’m looking at Colorado is that Obama led by 2 points in a pre-South Carolina poll by a pretty good, conservative pollster, and if we apply the roughly 10-point bounce that he seems to have received elsewhere, that gets him in the range of a 12-point lead. That’s where we had him previously and that’s where I have him staying.
In Connecticut, Obama has been tied in the Rasmussen poll and held 2- and 4-point leads in the two Survey USA polls since South Carolina, and there are reports that Clinton’s organization in the state is weak. The DeLauro endorsement may also be worth something. Still, I’m not comfortable doing anything more than calling it a toss-up and splitting the delegates.
I’d made an arguably optimistic call of Delaware for Obama before, and I feel more confident about that after his rally there the other day. There was an ARG poll here that showed the race too close to call. Still have the state at Obama 8, Clinton 7.
I’m calling Georgia pretty much in line with the polling averages, at Obama +15 points. This required me to shift two delegates his way.
Still no recent polls in Idaho, but I feel more confident in my 12-6 split toward Obama after his huge rally in Boise.
Obama’s lead appears to be expanding rather than contracting in the latest Illinois polls, with two polls showing him with as much as a 36-point advantage, and with Rasmussen showing him with favorability ratings in the 90-percent range. More anecdotally, the weather is supposed to be bad downstate tomorrow but OK upstate, which will hurt Clinton, and there are literally no signs of Hillary Clinton presence here in Chicago. Moved one more delegate toward Obama and am projecting a 39-40 point victory.
No changes in the fundamentals in Kansas, which still look strong for Obama.
I remain fairly dissatisfied with the data we have to work with in Massachusetts, in large part because the Survey USA polls that have shown Clinton with a large lead appear to be based on a registered voter list that does not include independents, even though Massachusetts is a semi-open primary. If I give full weight to the Suffolk and Rasmussen polls and half-weight to the SUSA poll I get Clinton +5, and I’m projecting it just a smidgen closer than that because Obama should have the headlines in the morning papers with his close there last night.
I’ve given another delegate to Obama in Minnesota based on overall momentum – the state hasn’t been adequately polled – but it should still be regarded as a toss-up.
Missouri has tightened, but how much is an open question, with the Survey USA numbers trending away from Obama yesterday, while the last Zogby tracker showed him ahead by 2 points. Based on those polls alone, it should probably go to Clinton by a margin of 2 or 4 delegates, but I’ve always liked the fundamentals for Obama, especially his endorsements and strong fundraising. Too close to call, so we'll split the delegates evenly.
New Jersey, on the other hand, is a state where I expect Clinton to do very slightly better than her polling averages, mostly because it’s one place where her support among the state machine should give her the GOTV advantage.
There actually is a New Mexico poll out that shows it Obama +6, but it was based on a small sample. I’ve reduced Hillary's delegate margin from 4 to 2, but still think the fundamentals are too strong for her here to consider it a true toss-up.
The polls have tightened just a tiny bit further in New York, but as in New Jersey, Clinton has substantial institutional advantages, so I’m leaving the numbers where they were before.
No news and no reason to change the numbers in North Dakota. There was a non-scientific poll showing Obama with a large advantage.
Oklahoma polls don’t show any tightening at all -- arguably the opposite -- and I’ve transferred another delegate to Clinton.
Same story with Tennessee. No movement for Obama in the polls and Clinton’s gotten another delegate. It does seem like the fundamentals shouldn’t play that badly for Obama in this state, but he’s essentially ignored it, and I’m a big believer that "being there" counts in primary elections.
In Utah, the latest iteration of the Dan Jones poll showed showed Obama with a large lead, but as before, it’s of limited utility because of small sample sizes. However, it’s enough when coupled with Obama’s superior fundamentals for me to give him an extra delegate.
Based on some overnight reports, there is evidence that Obama may perform quite strongly in the Democrats Abroad primary, which makes a good deal of sense since ex-pats tend to be both wealthy and disillusioned with traditional American politics, and since the poll allows Internet voting. On the other hand, Hillary has the endorsement of American Samoa’s governor, and I figure that stuff matters on a tiny island where everybody is pretty much your next door neighbor.
General Thoughts: So, I’m now showing Obama with a 30-point lead. And the difference between this projection and the last one is really California; that’s the only state where I’ve moved more than two delegates from one candidate to the other. But keep in mind that this is a 30-delegate advantage out of 1,688. That’s really nothing, and can be explained by Obama’s organizational advantages in the caucus states, where I have him picking up a net +29 delegates, in a national race that is otherwise roughly tied.
Unlike in New Hampshire and South Carolina, I don’t think we’re going to see the polls come in particularly high or low across the national map. The last 48 hours of the news cycle have been incredibly dull and neutral, which was not the case in those earlier states. However, I’m sure that we’ll see some regional momentum and some unexpected results in individual states. It will be enough to keep us up late; that much I’m pretty certain about.