Friday, May 30, 2008

Waiting for Godot

Paul Kane of the Washington Post gives us some valuable insight into what undeclared superdelegates are doing.

Post Politics Hour -
Washington: Looking at the most recent Rasmussen daily polls, I see that Hillary manages a tie today against McCain, but Barack is down by five points to McCain. What piqued my interest was that while Hillary had a "highly unfavorable" rating of 32 percent (i.e., as I see it, people who never will vote for her) Barack was at 35 percent. On Jan. 30, as we entered primary season's main show, Barack's "highly unfavorables" were 20 percent and Clinton's were 35 percent. Is this something superdelegates may be watching?

Paul Kane: I've spent the past several months talking to as many super-delegates as any reporter in America, I'd guess, since I cover on a day-to-day basis about 280 of them here on Capitol Hill.

I hate saying this, because all the Clinton people are going to flip out and say, You're biased, you're biased, you're biased. So go ahead and flip out if you want, but the simple basic truth is that the super-delegates stopped paying attention to the Clinton-Obama race about a couple days after the Indiana and North Carolina primaries.

They've stopped paying attention to the primary, and instead they're focused on an Obama-McCain matchup in November. That's the basic, simple, definitive reality that has happened in this race. The "undecided" super-delegates at this moment are not going to "decide" any time soon, because to them the race is over, they're just waiting for Clinton to drop out.

I used to think that, once the primaries were over (June 3rd) there would be a flood of superdelegates to Obama. But Kane's answer suggests that many of them will continue to hold out in the hope that Clinton will finally "see the light" and just drop out. They don't want to be seen as forcing her out of the race.

The question is this: if Clinton doesn't go peacefully and threatens to disrupt the convention in Denver, will that force them to finally force her?

I've never been as concerned as some about the convention in chaos scenarios because I just don't believe that many people want that, even Clinton supporters. Thus, if it starts looking like it might go that way I expect to finally see that flood of endorsements. I even expect to see a few more Clinton supers switch sides. This report doesn't overly change my thinking on this. I just think it means it might take a couple more weeks than I previously thought.


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