Potomac Primary Predictions

Tomorrow, voters in Virginia, Maryland, and DC will vote in what are collectively being dubbed the “Potomac Primary” or “Beltway Primary” or, for the less creative, the “Mid-Atlantic Primaries.” At any rate, all indications are that front-runners John McCain and Barack Obama will win all three contests easily.

Mark Blumenthal and Charles Franklin report that,

McCain is looking to finally deliver a knockout blow to Mike Huckabee and is polling above 50 percent in both states, while Huckabee is mired in the mid-20 percent range. A Mason-Dixon poll suggests McCain is beating Huckabee among evangelicals, as well, which is a bad omen for the Southern Baptist minister.

On the Democratic side, Obama leads Hillary Clinton by 15 to 20 points in most polls and does well across all demographics, according to another Mason-Dixon survey. In Maryland, Obama edges Clinton among women and white voters, two of her key constituencies. Obama also leads among women in Virginia.

Potomac Primary Predictions - Poll Averages All of the polls have McCain and Obama winning Maryland and Virginia comfortably. Nobody’s talking about the District, for whatever reason, and RealClearPolitics isn’t even bothering to keep track of polling there. Given past trends, though, it would be a shocker if Obama didn’t win handily and one imagines Huckabee’s Southern charm will be lost on DC’s half dozen Republican primary voters.

It may well be true that Clinton badly needs [a] Virginia victory. It looks exceedingly unlikely, though, given the polls and the Demographics.

I’m more confident in Obama’s polling than McCain’s, given that the former is involved in a competitive race. As Steven Taylor observed after Huckabee won several states over the weekend, “Why give up a Saturday to vote for the guy who was already going to win? Given that there is a dedicated anti-McCain contingent in the party, a position to which they are passionately attached, it stands to reason that they would be the more motivated to go vote.” Still, the margin is sufficiently strong that McCain should win.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.