Sums don’t add up, but Hillary not ready to call it quits yet

May 20th, 2008 - 10:46 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, May 20 (IANS) An expected split verdict in Kentucky and Oregon Tuesday is unlikely to alter the arithmetic loaded against her, but Hillary Clinton still insists the Democratic presidential race is “nowhere near over.” “I’m going to make [my case] until we have a nominee,” the former first lady told supporters at a campaign rally in Kentucky, “but we’re not going to have one today and we’re not going to have one tomorrow and we’re not going to have one the next day.

“This is nowhere near over, none of us is going to have the number of delegates we’re going to need to get to the nomination,” she argued even as a new CNN “poll of polls” indicated Clinton holds a 30-point lead in Kentucky while Obama is up by 10 in Oregon.

The split verdict in Kentucky with 51 delegates at stake and Oregon with 52 up for grabs would make it impossible for Clinton to catch Obama in pledged delegates.

Obama, who would be America’s first black president, has already garnered the support of 1904 delegates, including 292 super delegates or key party officials not bound by primary results, and is just 121 short of the magic number of 2,026 to clinch the nomination.

But despite trailing Obama across all fronts - pledged delegates, super delegates, states won and the popular vote - Clinton with only 1717 delegates, including 274 super delegates, has refused to heed growing calls to drop out of the race.

Explaining Clinton’s argument that the race is not quite over yet, her campaign spokesman said Clinton believes neither candidate will have the necessary 2,210 delegates by the last primary on June 3, the number she says is needed because she argues Michigan’s and Florida’s delegates must be counted.

The Democratic National Committee has set the number of delegates needed at 2,026 after stripping those states of their delegates for moving up their primaries against party rules.

Obama too appears to be in no hurry to declare victory in the Democratic primaries, but his campaign speeches of late clearly indicate that he has already set his sights on the November presidential election by training his guns on presumptive Republican nominee John McCain.

“Everybody is surprised that I am standing here. Lets face it, nobody thought a 46 year old black guy named Barack Obama was going to be the Democratic nominee. The reason this has worked is because of you.

“You decided you wanted to take your government back and that is what we are going to be fighting for all the way through November,” the Senator from Illinois told the crowd at a rally in Oregon Sunday.

“Senator Clinton and I have had a terrific contest and she has been a formidable candidate,” he told reporters easily slipping into the past tense as if the race is already over.

In Kentucky, opinion polls suggest Clinton is winning 58 percent of the vote while Obama is at 28 percent. Kentucky has a broad swath of working class white voters - the demographic that has long supported Clinton and propelled her to a 41-point victory in West Virginia one week ago.

Her large margin in Kentucky appears to indicate those voters are sticking with Clinton, even as Obama appears to be the presumptive Democratic nominee.

In Oregon, Obama is winning 50 percent of likely Democratic voters there while Clinton is at 40 percent. With a large population of young voters and those who are college-educated, that state has demographics that have long favoured Obama’s candidacy.

Meanwhile, amid reports that the Democratic Party’s leaders and largest fundraisers are beginning to take steps to try to bring their party together after a long, hard-fought primary campaign, the latest Gallup daily tracking poll suggests Democratic voters are beginning to coalesce around Obama.

Obama holds a 16-point lead over Clinton in Gallup’s latest daily tracking poll released Monday. He has the support of 55 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters while Clinton’s support is at 39 percent.

Previously, Obama’s largest lead over Clinton was 11 percentage points, in daily tracking polls conducted in mid-May and mid-April, according to Gallup. Prior to 2004 Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards’s exit from the nomination race, Clinton held a 20-point lead over Obama in mid-January.

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