Originally written last night, but I forgot to post it. Honest:
On the Republican side, I’d like to see Romney do well, but he won’t. McCain will win a bunch of big states, and because Republican primaries tend to be winner-take-all, he’ll sew up the nomination.
On the Democratic side, no one will clinch anything. The Democratic primaries and caucuses tend to allocate delegates at small geographical units, so the split will be close to 50–50.
Brian Schaffner breaks down the delegates according to results from recent polls, and bears that prediction out, with Obama just 80 delegates behind Clinton at the end of the evening. Of course, if New Hampshire taught us nothing else, it’s that polls are flawed instruments.
Schaffner’s analysis doesn’t allocate Kansas because there’s no recent polling there, but the recent endorsements by the Governor and many other Democratic officials makes me think the Kansas caucuses will break hard for Obama, the native son. Obama draws a lot of love in Idaho and North Dakota as well, which makes me think their delegates will probably break his way also.
I also think that polling trends strongly suggest an Obama boom. Whether it’s too late, or whether it’ll peak, I can’t say. But I think Obama will outperform Schaffner’s predictions because of that, and for another reason.
Some time back, I volunteered to be one of Obama’s vaunted precinct captains in California. And without divulging any secrets, I have to say I’m seeing a lot of love for the man with the funny name, and a lot of people sitting on the fence. The Obama supporters are enthusiastic, while the Clinton supporters tend to be laconic. And I suspect that the undecideds will break for Obama, ceteris paribus. Voters know Clinton, and the ones who haven’t made up their mind yet are more likely to be uninterested in Hillary, and willing to give the new guy a shot. Under those circumstances, I think the Obama voters will hit the polls even if the weather stinks, while the Clintonites may stay home if they can think of an excuse. The undecideds who decide to vote will probably be Obama backers. [And surveys of late online endorsements bear this out.]
So I think the delegate count comes out close to 50–50, with Obama sweeping the red states, and the blue states breaking evenly. I’d like to hope my guy manages to win my state, but it’s too close to call. End result, no clear winner on delegate count, and the media will make a mountain out of whichever candidate ekes out a small win in California. If Obama wins New Jersey, it will signal big weakness in the Hillary campaign, and create a media account in which Obama has the momentum. Short of an upset like that, I think the winner of California will get the crown from the media, heading into the remaining primaries.
[Added on Feb. 5: I now think Obama will win CA, but it’ll be tight. I think that early vote-by-mail trends probably skewed to Obama and to candidates who’ve dropped out, even though early polls put Hillary up. And exit polls show Obama within striking distance, and ahead of expectations in bellwether states like MA, CT and NJ. I’m about to head out and do some final GOTV to see if we can’t make this a self-fulfilling prophecy. After that, the watch party/celebration in SF. See you there.]
Below the fold, my endorsements in the California ballot initiatives.
Prop. 91 was pulled by its supporters. Vote no.
Prop. 92 would allocate state funds on a strict percentage to “K‑14” education, requiring a fixed chunk of that money to go to community colleges. I think the backers’ hearts are in the right place, but this seems like a legislative problem, not a state constitutional issue. I worry that it ties the state’s hands down the road, so I’ll reluctantly vote no.
Prop. 93 rejiggers the term limits law, so that state legislators may serve a total of 12 years, rather than a maximum of 6 in the state House and 8 in the state Senate. Current legislators get to reset their clock, and remain in office for 12 more years. I think term limits for legislators are stupid. That means I don’t want to see the total amount of time in office decrease from 14 to 12 years, but the new system seems vaguely better, and the only argument anyone makes against the prop. is that it lengthens term limits, so I’ll vote yes.
Props. 94–97 change the details of Indian gaming compacts in ways that boost state revenue. Good deal, I’m voting yes.
Oakland is considering three local measures, and while I don’t know if I have any readers in Oakland, I may as well go down the list.
Measures A and B levy a property tax to pay for infrastructure work on Children’s Hospital, a private hospital in the area. If both pass, the one with more votes will be enacted.
Measure A gives requires the hospital to keep the new facilities built with public funds to be put to public use, and it allocates some of the money to pay for the county’s expenses in collecting the tax and administering the funds. Measure B extracts no guarantees about the use new facilities will be put to, and offers no money to the county to cover public expenses. I don’t know the area well enough yet to care if Children’s Hospital stays or moves, but if either of these measures is to pass, I’d rather it be the one where the public is guaranteed a benefit from projects we pay for. I’m voting for A and not for B. Vote for both if you think it’s important to keep the hospital here no matter what (and leave a comment telling me why I should do the same).
Measure G makes a local property tax permanent. The money from the tax is dedicated to the county’s public schools. I’m voting yes.