What Was Learned from Super Tuesday


    By Abigail Shaha

    With half of the state primaries yet to come and still seven months left until the national party conventions, McCain seems to clearly lead the Republican race while the Democratic race is closer than ever.

    Super Tuesday was a big victory for McCain. Winning big states like California and New York gave him 707 delegates. Romney was sorely disappointed with only 295 delegates, and Huckabee won a surprising 195.

    Romney”s campaign suspension put McCain even farther ahead and narrowed the race to the ultra-conservative Huckabee and more liberal McCain. Romney said when he dropped out it was in an effort to unite the party and avoid Clinton or Obama winning the election.

    But despite his clear lead against Huckabee, many Republicans don”t think McCain is conservative enough. His policies on the environment and immigration agree more with the liberal candidates, and aside from Iraq, ultra conservatives like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity say his policies have a shade of blue to them.

    Many analysts are pinning Huckabee as a vice presidential candidate and are accusing him of using the race thus far to frame himself as the perfect match for McCain. After all, if McCain is viewed as being too liberal, Huckabee”s determination to write a constitutional amendment making gay marriage and abortion illegal is seen as way too conservative, making them a moderate pair. But the pair would hardly compliment each other, and might instead work against each other on several key issues.

    Despite these vice presidential rumors, Huckabee”s campaign insists their candidate is in for the presidency.

    “Governor Huckabee is not a quitter,” said Ed Rollins, Huckabee”s campaign chairman, in a news release. “He has always told us … that he is in this race to win the Republican presidential nomination, and to win the White House.”

    Nevertheless, McCain walks confidently on, reassuring supporters in a news conference Friday that he recognizes Huckabee as a “viable candidate,” and is meeting with Romney to discuss “how to unite the party and move forward to victory in November.”

    For Democrats, the story has fewer players but higher stakes.

    Super Tuesday brought Clinton”s 1,012 delegates unsettlingly close to Obama”s 933, and started to cast major doubts within the party about which candidate would gather more votes in the general election in November.

    Though they both preach about uniting the party, exit polls by CNN show Clinton and Obama have split it down fairly distinct lines: blacks vote for Obama while Latinos vote for Clinton; men vote for Obama while women vote for Clinton; Obama attracts the youth vote while Clinton”s established name resonates with the older generations; Obama reaches out to independents and Republicans while Clinton gains stronger ties among the majority of democrats.

    Things get even more complicated when Clinton and Obama are compared to McCain.

    Polls by the Opinion Research Corporation show Clinton and McCain in a statistical tie, but put Obama ahead by eight points. The polls also reported Clinton”s, “polarizing effect,” in which 44 percent of the public said they didn”t like her.

    But these numbers could shift with next big primaries, including Texas and Ohio, both of which project Clinton as the winner.

    However, there”s another problem facing the Democratic campaigns.

    According to opensecrets.org, Clinton put $5 million of her own finances toward her campaign for Super Tuesday. In the early days of the campaign, her deep pockets among women”s activists groups and her husband”s friends had put her well ahead in fund raising. But even though she managed to raise $6.4 million the day after Super Tuesday, supporters are starting to doubt whether her campaign has the funding to carry it through August.

    Obama on the other hand has never suffered in his fund-raising. All along he”s refused to accept any money from interest groups and yet has managed to raise his projected $30 million for January and is expected to meet the same quota for February. While funding isn”t everything, the extra money may give him the edge in the remaining state primaries with more publicity and airtime.

    Political analysts suggest that this struggle may help McCain more than anyone else by distracting Clinton and Obama from the general election in November to a funding race in the remaining primaries.

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