Welcome to your handy guide (biased and slanted) to today’s primaries.
We have seven primaries today, which will greatly affect the chances of three and a half candidates. (If Kucinich, Lieberman, or Sharpton win any of the primaries, that will have an effect as well, but I’m dubious about their chances. Which is a shame, at least in one case.) Dean’s strategy is to spend all his money on Michigan and Washington in an effort to win both of those states. Winning Michigan would put him solidly back in the race. However, he’s not expecting to win anything today.
So we have Clark, Kerry, and Edwards. Kerry’s still in the race unless he suffers a catastrophic failure today. He needs to win at least three of the states he’s projected to win, and really wants to win all five of them to cement his status before the upcoming contests with Dean. Edwards and Clark both have to win the states they’ve targetted. Here’s the breakdown.
Not very tight race between Kerry and Clark, with Kerry leading. Clark would love to win this state but it seems unlikely. Dean would like to beat Edwards here. My guess: Kerry, Clark, Dean.
Kerry has Missouri almost wrapped up. Edwards wants to get enough votes here to pick up some delegates. Clark is nowhere in the mix. My guess: Kerry, Edwards, Dean.
This is Clark’s must win; unfortunately, Edwards and Kerry are pushing him hard. Kerry more than Edwards. If Clark loses this state he’s more or less out of it barring a really unexpected victory elsewhere. If Edwards wins this state he’s in excellent shape. If I had to bet money on this one, I’d say Clark, then Edwards, then Kerry.
This is Edwards’ must win. Kerry is polling well here. Dean would like to beat Clark here, but the race for third is neck and neck. It’s sort of bad that Clark can’t beat Kerry for second in a southern state; it weakens the argument that Kerry can’t win over southern voters. Edwards wins this pulling away, with Kerry a strong second.
Lieberman is making a stand here. He’ll come in second to Kerry. Fairly unimportant state this time around except insofar as it’s where Lieberman has spent all his time and energy and he still won’t win it. Lieberman’s campaign ends here.
Kerry has a fairly big lead over Clark. Edwards is a distant third. I expect that order to hold in the polls.
Dean recently said he could win this state. He’s running second to Kerry in the polls, with Clark nipping at his heels. Maybe he was looking at old polls? Maybe he has interesting internal numbers. I’d say Kerry wins it but only by a few percentage points.