Barack Obama surged to pull into a tie with Hillary Clinton in national polls ahead of Super Tuesday, when 22 states hold presidential primaries or caucuses. In a CNN/Opinion Research poll released over the weekend, Obama won the support of 49 percent of registered Democrats, compared to 46 percent for Clinton. A USA Today/Gallup poll gave Clinton a 1-percentage-point edge. (USA Today)
What the commentators said
The “front-loaded” primary system was supposed to crown Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee by Feb. 5, said Robert Novak in the Chicago Sun-Times. But thanks to the “unexpected reality” of Obama’s appeal, “there is no mathematical possibility” that either Democrat will win enough delegates on Tuesday to seal up the nomination. This race will go on “for months”—maybe even until the national convention in August.
You might want to check your math, said Michael Crowley in The New Republic Online. ABC analyst George Stephanopoulos calculated that Obama could be catapulted into the nomination with a win in California, where he recently edged into a lead in some polls. Still, even a big win in delegate-rich California wouldn’t do it alone—“Obama would probably also need to win a clear majority of states and come out more than marginally ahead in delegates.”
Obama certainly has the momentum, said Dick Morris in the New York Post (free registration), but it “has yet to carry him over the top.” Clinton “still clings to leads, sometimes narrow, in the bulk of the states in play,” and that includes California in some polls. Clinton’s powerful machine has faltered, but she’s still the one to beat, “particularly in the eight caucus states, where her control of the party apparatus gives her an edge.”