Monday, May 19, 2008

Will Oregon Be An Ugly Surprise for Obama? UPDATE: Or Not!

Not too long ago, it looked (based on polls) as if Obama would crush Hillary in Oregon (while getting walloped in Kentucky) tomorrow. Now, it's not so clear.

Most voters in Oregon cast their ballots early, by mail. Accordingly, about half of the state's voters have already expressed their preferences. In other early voting states, Obama has done quite well with the folks who opt to cast ballots before election day, so you'd think by now he'd be well ahead of Hillary in Oregon.

But he's not. According to analysis of two recent polls by the CCPS blog, Obama and Hillary are dead even in the mail-in ballots. Those who say they still INTEND to vote heavily favor Obama, but with half the ballots already in, it appears his margin of victory will be fairly small, and that only IF those folks who say they still plan to vote actually do so.

Meanwhile, Kentucky clearly looks like a repeat of West Virginia, with Hillary likely to cruise to a 20+ point victory their.

It doesn't matter much in terms of whether Obama will get the nomination: after tomorrow, he will need fewer than 70 delegates to clinch the nomination (and his margin over Hillary currently stands at 182). Nonetheless, team Obama would surely like to do better than to limp across the finish line, so a strong Oregon finish is important.

We'll see what happens in this often surprising election season.
UPDATE: Two more polls out today show the opposite: Obama has a large lead in the early voting in these polls, from Public Policy Polling and Survey USA, both of whom have been pretty reliable this election season. Indeed, in the PPP poll, Obama has 59% of the early voting ballots, and they called it quite correctly in NC. So maybe Oregon will be an Obama blowout after all (consistent with his HUGE rally yesterday).

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