Yes, it's Earth Day today too, but for political junkies, saving the planet may be pushed to the back burner on a day that officially ends the six week drought of nominating contests. Remember that 3am phone call ad? Yeah, that was six weeks ago, though it feels like a hundred years and 100,000 bickering points ago. That all comes to an end today though. Well, the drought does. If Clinton wins as expected (the polls have had her ahead--by as much as 26 points--in the Keystone state since the focus shifted after Texas-Ohio), the bickering is likely to continue.
Who wins and loses in such a negative environment? See the comments from yesterday's post for some of those answers and add your own thoughts if you like.
Negativity and polling aside though, what can we expect on Pennsylvania Primary Day? Polls close at 8pm this evening and the quicker the networks make a projection the better the news will more than likely be for Clinton. The longer that projection takes to be made though, is a sign that Obama has potentially done better than expected. The other factor today is how the increase in registration ahead of this primary election will affect turnout today. As I mentioned in yesterday's post, attempting to determine which candidate wins in a high turnout environment has been a tricky enterprise during the 2008 cycle. Obama's ability to bring new voters into the process has caused many to think that high turnout bodes well for him. Then again the voters in New Hampshire, Texas and Ohio didn't feel obliged to follow that rule. Is Pennsylvania a part of the exception to that rule, giving Clinton a boost? Or does the Keystone state's increased participation give Obama the knock out punch he needs to end the nomination race? One thing's for sure: turnout will be greater than the 800,000 Pennsylvanians who went to the polls for the 2004 Democratic primary.
The number of the day looks to be 10. If Clinton wins by 10 points or more, she lives to fight another day. Anything less than 10 leaves a lot of questions to be answered. Translation: enter the spin room.
I may have linked this before, but for a deeper examination of today's contest (on the congressional district level), check out CQ's distrtict by district analysis of the race from last week.