A Democratic State Of The Race Report

I have to admit, I’m scratching my head a little bit about John Edwards’ decision to drop out of the Democratic race.

Granted, he didn’t have a chance to win, but he has essentially been out of it since he lost Iowa. Moreover, weirdly, as Mickey Kaus points out,

Comes now news that Edwards is dropping out. That was sudden, no? It seems like only yesterday–because it was–that his Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince was quoted boasting to reporters that in the “worst case scenario” Edwards would control 20 to 25 percent of the delegates at the convention and would probably play a decisive role. … Alert reader D.E. reports that the headline in his print edition of today’s Los Angeles Times is “”Edwards, onward He’s told skeptics before, he’s in it ‘for the long haul.'” … More: Edwards was still sending out fundraising appeals Tuesday morning. …

In any case, whatever Edwards’ motivation is, his pull-out from the race could be a game changer, although it’s less clear today than it once was what that change will be.

According to Gallup, Obama has been creeping up nationally on Hillary. Rasmussen has them separated by a smaller margin, about 9 points, but that’s still a considerably smaller gap than the 16 points Edwards is currently pulling in.

Conventional wisdom is that Edwards’ supporters will gravitate towards Barack Obama, because they’re more similar candidates, but given how racially polarized the Democratic race has become, you have to wonder if Hillary will take a larger share of Edwards’ voters than people initially thought because white liberals won’t be able to bring themselves to vote for the “black candidate.”

Still, Clinton has a big enough lead in key Super Tuesday states like New York, New Jersey, and California to probably beat Obama even if most of Edwards’ supporters move over to Obama.

Still, Obama isn’t giving any indication that he’s going to get out after Super Tuesday, and if Obama’s numbers continue to be better than Hillary’s in a general election contest, it may enable him to gain steam over time.

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