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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

All About Indiana?

Many states have been called a “must win” for Senator Clinton, and she has shown a remarkable ability to rally when it counts, PA being the most recent example. In the weeks ahead, however, Indiana looms especially large for the Clinton campaign.
Shane D’Aprile’s Campaigns & Elections post “Is Clinton’s Pennsylvania Win a Game-Changer?” sets the stage for the May 6 primaries in Indiana and North Carolina. D’Aprile explains:

Clinton has an uphill fight to get just one win out of the next two states on the Democratic primary docket. Polls show a mixed bag in Indiana where Clinton stands the best chance on May 6. The numbers range from a 5 point lead for Obama in the latest LA Times/Bloomberg to a 16 point advantage for Clinton in a recent Survey USA poll.
In North Carolina, polls suggest an Obama landslide. A recent Insider Advantage poll gives Obama a 15 point lead, while the latest numbers from Public Policy Polling give the Illinois senator a staggering 25 point edge. That poll also shows Obama leading among women and within striking distance of Clinton’s 5 point lead among white voters.

“North Carolina is a lost cause,” echoes U. VA political scientist Larry Sabato in D’Aprile’s article.”Obama will win big because of the large African-American percentage” (about 22 percent in 2005). Sabato believes Clinton has a better chance in Indiana, where Senator Evan Bayh’s support may help, although it would be counterbalanced to some extent by Obama’s familiarity to Indiana voters, 20+ percent of whom are in the Chicago media market.
D’Aprile’s article quotes Democratic strategist Steve McMahon on the effect of Clinton’s PA win: “It makes her claim that she can win the nomination a bit more legitimate…but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a math problem that’s almost impossible for her to overcome.” But political analyst Rhodes Cook adds “She can probably pull out a victory in Indiana…And then even if she loses North Carolina, she still has Kentucky and West Virginia where she could conceivably win by 20 points each.”
One indication of how close it may be in Indiana is the stance of heartland rocker John Mellencamp, who has scheduled appearances for both Obama and Clinton next week. Tuesday he joins Obama at an Evansville rally and on Saturday he sings for Clinton in Indianapolis. Mellencamp has also performed at at fundraisers for John Edwards, Wesley Clark and Howard Dean. Mellencamp’s publicist, Bob Merlis said there was zero chance he would perform for McCain. “The Democratic Party is the agent for change (Mellencamp) has pinned his hopes on.”
Rock on, bad boy.

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