Matt Towery of Southern Political Report says that Senator Obama’s North Carolina win was bigger than expected because he picked up most of the last-minute deciders. This tells us something about momentum, maybe.
Of Indiana, Michael Tomasky writes,
The narrow Indiana margin was a stunner and is worth dwelling on. How did that happen? It’d be lovely to think that substance may actually have had something to do with it. That is, it may have proved that Clinton’s pander on the repeal of the federal gas tax really didn’t work that well, and that Obama’s willingness to stand up and call it clever politics but bad policy actually persuaded a large number of voters. Maybe it proved that Obama finally found a way to minimise the pastor problem (for the time being – it will persist into November). Whatever it was, Clinton expected and needed a lot more.
This morning, most reports I’ve seen suggest she’s not quitting yet. The vanity campaign will continue. However, Todd Beeton writes,
This is-it-over or isn’t-it division echoes the mixed messages we’ve gotten from Hillary Clinton herself tonight. First there was her speech, which, I have to agree with Timmeh, was at once a rallying cry and a valedictory; in it, Clinton made an awkward and blatant plea for funds, yet the post-primary fund solicitation e-mail her campaign sent out this evening was more “thanks” than “please;” and finally we have the news that Hillary Clinton will hold no public events tomorrow, yet we also get word from Andrea Mitchell that her meeting with superdelegates set for the morning is purely routine and she intends to be back on the campaign trail by Thursday after a fundraiser tomorrow night. What all of this accomplishes, of course, is to keep both options on the table so that they can see how the fundraising goes and how the media spins tonight before deciding whether to stay in or to drop out. There is a third option as well, which I believe was proposed on MSNBC earlier, which would be to do a sort of combination of both, i.e. campaign strongly over the next two weeks but more as an ally of Obama’s than as a foe until May 20th when they both will likely once again end up winning a state and use his likely majority of pledged delegate status as the tipping point to bow out gracefully.
We’ll see. If Senator Clinton continues to run a scorched-earth, negative campaign against Obama, we’ll know she’s completely unglued.
There’s also speculation that the undeclared superdelegates will declare for Obama in the next few days. This could put an end to the nomination fight before June. Let’s hope.
Obama cut into Clinton’s base dramatically. Hillary only won voters making less than $50,000 by a four point margin in Indiana. She also saw an eleven point drop in support among Catholics from Pennsylvania to Indiana. Additionally, as Tim Russert noted, Hillary’s slide among black voters continued to worsen. With 92% of African Americans voting for Obama in Indiana, one wonders which states Hillary thinks are winnable without the most loyal bloc of Democratic voters.
All eyes turned to Indiana and North Carolina to see what impact the Reverend Wright story would have on the race. Exit polls showed that, in both states, 48% of voters saw the issue as at least somewhat important to their decision. But that number fails to tell the whole story. Among blacks in Indiana, 44% viewed the Wright story as important. And yet, more than nine in ten black voters chose Obama. With voters citing Wright as important, but still voting for Obama, it would appear that, in fact, Obama’s response to the Wright crisis played as important a role in voter decisions as the initial controversy itself. Given his success, he clearly responded well.
Indiana voters trusted Hillary on the economy, but by a far narrower margin than previous primaries. In North Carolina, Obama won that category handily, suggesting that the fight over Clinton’s gas-tax gimmick ultimately favored Obama – and honesty. At almost every turn, voters rejected the politics of Hillary Clinton. By a twenty point gap, voters believed Hillary unfairly attacked Obama in Indiana, a reality that has no doubt contributed to the widening divide within the party.
C’mon, superdelegates, declare for Obama and put an end to this farce.