Pennsylvania Democratic Primary Prediction
Tomorrow the long-awaited Pennsylvania primary will have arrived and I thought it might be a good time to launch fecklessly into a few predictions. As of this morning the polls are showing Sen. Clinton leading Sen. Obama by anything from six points (Zogby) to ten points (Suffolk). Sen. Obama’s strongest support is in eastern Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia and its environs, while Sen. Clinton’s is in western Pennsylvania. A lot will depend on turnout and in this I believe that Sen. Obama has a distinct advantage. His supporters certainly seem to be more enthusiastic than Sen. Clinton’s.
I think the greatest likelihood is a narrow victory for Sen. Clinton. Anything less than five points will be construed as a victory for them by the Obama campaign and they’ll be right since Pennsylvania will not have arrived at a decisive choice. That’s very much the way this entire primary season has gone—despite the impressions you may be receiving, Sen. Obama’s delegate lead over Sen. Clinton isn’t overwhelming.
In the unlikely event that Sen. Clinton wins Pennsylvania by double digits it will bolster the view that Sen. Obama can’t win big states and make the remaining superdelegates even wobblier.
In any event I don’t really expect Sen. Clinton to concede or withdraw. She’ll take her fight to the convention and maybe beyond. There is no next year.
Say, fellow OTB contributors, anybody care to play?
Update (Alex Knapp): I’d say that I expect a sizable, but not double digit lead for Hillary Clinton in PA–probably in the 7-9 point range. This will be followed two weeks later by a double digit Obama win in North Carolina and another, albeit smaller, Obama win in Indiana. I suspect that after the Indiana win, enough superdelegates will have come out for Obama that Clinton won’t have a choice but to concede, but I could be mistaken. (And, in fact, probably am.)
Update (Chris Lawrence): My gut feeling is that Clinton wins the popular vote by a smaller margin than Alex expects; my internal dartboard says 5 points, ±1. She probably nets narrow win in terms of pledged delegates too (netting a gain of 5–10). This should be enough of a win for her to fight on to North Carolina and Indiana, although her upcoming victory in Pennsylvania seems likely to be sufficiently Pyhrric to bleed her campaign coffers to the point she won’t be able to afford to campaign effectively in Indiana.