That's right. This is the sixteenth primary or caucus day of 2008 presidential primary season. And it may be the last, best chance for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama to make a statement in terms of delegates before this phase of the process concludes on June 3. Of the 492 delegates from the remaining contests, today's contests in Indiana and North Carolina account for nearly half (44%). A split (Indiana to Clinton, North Carolina to Obama) or a sweep of today's two contests by Obama really tightens the screws on Clinton in the delegate count. Once the committed superdelegates from final states are removed from that remaining total there are only 245 delegates available following Indiana and North Carolina. If the current delegate margin holds through today's primaries, for Clinton to make up the 135 delegate deficit she would then have to win almost 78% (190 of 245) of those delegates just to tie Obama in the delegate count. And with just six contests left, that's a steep climb, even with half or two-thirds of them being closed to independents and/or Republicans, respectively. That even accounts for the contests in friendly territory coming up in West Virginia and Kentucky.
Having said that, what will everyone be looking for tonight? There are plenty or scorecards already out there for tonight's returns and most of them cover the bases. Here, though, are a few links that may be of interest to the loyal readers of FHQ:
fivethirtyeight.com: This site popped up in the comments section of my first electoral college map post and is a great resource. On their frontpage today (linked above), they have predictions for North Carolina and Indiana. But the gadget that is getting the most buzz around the web is the North Carolina outcome predictor that allows you to manipulate the white/black vote percentages for both Clinton and Obama and the percentage of the Democratic electorate that is black to see how each affects the results in the state.
Social Science Statistics Blog: I posted a link to this blog in the comments to the R&B Committee post below, but the rest of the site is worth checking out as well. Both the regression analysis here and the analysis on fivethirtyeight have Obama winning by double digits in the Tar Heel state. SSS also shows a six point Clinton win in Indiana.
Finally, Arnie Fleischmann here at UGA, passed along to me this New York Times story this morning dealing with the concerns those running for down-ballot races in states that hold their state and local primaries concurrently with their presidential primaries. See, there is an advantage to having those two sets of primaries split and then frontloading the presidential primary. Sure, turnout would be increased in a competitive environment like 2008, but at what cost? Apparently, a lack of attention to those running down-ballot.
And on that rather apropos note, back to the dissertation.
The Rules and Bylaws Committee vs. The Credentials Committee
Obama's Caucus Strategy
7! 7 Votes in Guam!