<Insights2008> February 5th, 2008: Super Tuesday Today is Super Tuesday and it is certainly shaping up as a 3. Huckabee and the Conservative Vote. It is battle royal – 24 states with primaries or caucuses with a no exaggeration to state that McCain’s path to combined total of 2,600 convention delegates at stake. the nomination has been the luckiest turn of events for any politician in recent memory. Of course, today is more than just Super Tuesday or Vilified by most conservatives and written off Tsunami Tuesday, it is also Mardi Gras. So, whose long ago, McCain has had numerous lucky supporters will be dancing in the streets and whose will be despondently picking at their King Cake? We’ll know in breaks. Two obvious heirs to the conservative only a few hours. But, as Barack Obama has noted, the mantle implode (Colorado Governor Bill results (especially on the Democratic side) could be more Owens) or are defeated for re-election (George mixed than conclusive. Allen (R-VA)). The Thompson boomlet fades. Huckabee upsets Romney in Iowa, throwing Things to look for tonight: the Romney campaign out of its blitzkrieg strategy. Giuliani does poorly and leaves New 1. Delegate Count. At the end of the day, it’s all Hampshire to focus on Florida. Governor Crist about convention delegates. We noted in our first endorses McCain on the eve of the Florida look at the election season how the delegate primary. Giuliani quits, leaving the moderate allocation schemes of the Republican (generally Republican states in the Northeast to McCain. “winner take all”) and Democratic (generally And finally, Huckabee stays in the race and proportional) primaries were critical. Well, we were divides the conservative vote so that McCain more right than we knew. This could (probably will) can slip by in red states. It is an amazing go down to the wire on the Democratic side. If it current of events. McCain is the political does, the voters will be treated to newspaper equivalent of a scratch-off lottery winner. inserts with arcane delegate apportionment rules by state. Between this primary season and the 2000 recount most American adults have received the This last point regarding Huckabee and equivalent of a refresher course in high school conservatives is important. If Huckabee civics. dropped out, most of his votes would go to Romney (or, if you like, against McCain). 2. California. The Golden State is still America’s Instead, Huckabee is staying in and dividing the pioneering state. It ushered in the property tax conservative vote enough to give McCain a revolt in the 1970’s that presaged the rise of chance to win in states like Georgia. In Reagan style conservatism, predicted America’s Georgia, the Republican primary vote is split increasing sensitivity to ecological issues, and three ways with the polling showing McCain in drives American pop culture. It also happens to be a slight lead. If Huckabee dropped out, the epicenter of Super Tuesday. Recent polling Romney would cruise to any easy win here. has shown the race to be close on the Democratic The same is true in Alabama, Tennessee, and side, with some data suggesting a late Obama Missouri. Conservative may dislike McCain surge. The race on the Republican side also looks intensely for his opposition to the 2001 tax cuts, close, with recent surveys suggesting a relatively his support for campaign finance reform, and tight race. Watch for Romney’s performance in this his immigration reform legislation (which many closed primary state. The closed primary should saw as amnesty), but with their vote divided, help him and hurt McCain since it does not allow they cannot defeat him. Independents to cross over. Romney needs a win here. On the Democratic side, watch for Obama’s performance in the California primary among Latinos. <Insights2008> 4. Georgia. On the Democratic side, this state is a 6. Super Delegates. Count the number of very interesting test case for the Obama camp on times super delegates are mentioned over African-American turnout. Using the South the next few days. I suspect that a Lexis- Carolina model, Obama could do even better than Nexis search will show a huge surge on the polling in Georgia suggests (ahead 49% - 29% Wednesday and Thursday. As we in recent polling). If Obama carries Georgia easily, mentioned in our kick-off coverage of the it means that any southern state with a significant primaries, Democrats have so called African-American population in the Democratic “super delegates” at their convention – primary should go handily to him. This could be federal elected officials, party officials, devastating to Clinton on February 12th where the Governors and past Democratic so-called “Chesapeake primary” is held in Presidents. These approximately 800 Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia – all unpledged super delegates represent 20% with very large African-American populations. of the total delegate pool of 4,049- nearly 40% of the delegates needed to clinch the nomination. As the fulcrum of power in a 5. Arizona. Recent polling has Clinton ahead of close nomination fight, the Obama in Arizona, but a late Obama surge could lobbying/courting of these delegates could make this very close. More important will be the be intense. If it comes down to super Latino vote in the Democratic primary. Past delegates, the losing side will ask why an research has suggested that Clinton holds an edge otherwise egalitarian nominating system with this group. Will she maintain that advantage? that relies on proportional representation coexists with the indirect system of super delegates. Robert Moran is Senior Vice President at StrategyOne and manages StrategyOne’s Primary Research Group in Washington DC. Before joining StrategyOne, he was Vice President at Republican polling firm Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates and Senior Project Director at Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies.