Obama Bubble About To Burst By James Joyner

While Barack Obama handily won South Carolina and seems to be a sunny, fresh alternative to Hillary Clinton, he’s got an uphill climb to the nomination, Christopher Cooper and Amy Chozick explain in the WSJ.

Mr. Obama heads into the 22-state showdown as the underdog. The Illinois senator trails Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by large margins in polls in most of the big states voting Feb. 5. And he lacks the time or resources to campaign intensively in many of those far-flung races to close the gaps.

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But for all of the attention Mr. Obama has garnered since his Iowa caucus victory at the beginning of the month, Mrs. Clinton has maintained her big lead in national polls — and in polls in the big states with delegate prizes far greater than any state that has voted so far.

Among the major Super Tuesday contests, Mrs. Clinton has wide — in some cases double-digit — polling leads in California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Arizona, Missouri and Alabama. Mr. Obama leads in his home state of Illinois and in Georgia.

The demographics in many of those states also seem to play more to Mrs. Clinton’s strengths, with big populations of Latinos and white women, groups that helped carry her to victory over Mr. Obama in New Hampshire and Nevada.

Some representative polls:

Super Tuesday Polls – Democrats

In terms of momentum, Clinton is expected to handily carry tomorrow’s Florida primary. Unless she manages to reverse the party’s ruling, the delegates she wins won’t count; but it’ll still be treated as a victory in the news media and help rebuild the perception that she’s the odds-on frontrunner.

While it’s unlikely Super Tuesday will be decisive in a mathematical sense, the nomination will likely be all but Hillary’s by day’s end. Obama is both the candidate most appealing to the Democratic base and the one best positioned to win in the general election; a rare combination, indeed. He’s unlikely to be the nominee despite that, though, owing to the compressed schedule and Clinton’s superior support network.

This content was used with the permission of Outside the Beltway.

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