Ohio-Texas Two Step Predictions!
So, it all comes down to this.
After more than two months of primaries, caucuses and even the occasional state convention, today's contests in Ohio and Texas (as well as Rhode Island and Vermont) may offer the clarity the political class has been seeking since the process began on Jan. 3 with the Iowa caucuses.
For Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), it's hard to overstate the stakes. Clinton comes into the voting in Ohio and Texas having lost eleven straight contests to Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) and having fallen behind him in the chase for campaign cash. Polling shows Clinton with a small lead in Ohio; the race is extremely tight in Texas.
While both campaigns are certain to spin the results (whatever they may be), here's the straight dope: A "win" for Clinton likely means popular vote margins in Ohio AND Texas. Anything short of that could make it difficult for her to claim the momentum has swung back in her direction and keep the establishment from calling for her to step aside for the good of the party.
On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) could officially wrap up the nomination tonight. McCain currently has 1,014 delegates -- 177 short of the 1,191 needed to claim his party's nod. The four states voting today offer 265 delegates on the Republican side with Texas (140 delegates allocated as the result of the election) the biggest prize and Vermont (17 delegates) the smallest.
Former governor Mike Huckabee (Ark.) has vowed to stay in the race until McCain hits the 1,191 mark, but his decision to keep on keeping on has far more to do with positioning for 2012 than it has to do with any real belief that he can win the nomination this time around.
With that prelude out of the way, let's get to the predictions! In the comments section below, we want the order of finish (with percentages) for the Republican and Democratic primaries in Ohio and Texas. (Yes, we know there is a caucus in Texas and the district-level votes in Ohio but for the sake of simplicity we are sticking to the statewide primaries.) We also want to hear your take on the post-election storyline for the Republican and Democratic candidates.
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Polls close in Ohio at 7:30 p.m. ET time so no predictions submitted after that time will be accepted.
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