Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Exit Stage Left
For years, it was a big secret that election-day exit polls, the ones the networks use to "call" races, are available long before the close of voting in the various states. With the rise of the Internet, the secret became harder to keep. Daily Kos pointed its readers to today's poll data on Political Wire, which shows smashing wins for Kerry in Missouri, Delaware, and Arizona, a fairly easy win for Edwards in South Carolina, and a squeaker in Oklahoma--with Edwards, Kerry, and Clark all separated by a total of three points, which has to be within the margin of error.

Political Wire warns that the New Hampshire data at the same time last week indicated that the race was closer than it turned out to be, so caveat emptor. Still, I think we can make some off-the-cuff comments. I remain convinced that South Carolina is not as big for Edwards as he seems to think it is. In the expectations game, he's supposed to win that one, and he will. An unexpected win in Oklahoma would be much more important for Edwards. The news for Clark is bad if he doesn't pull Oklahoma out--he'd staked a lot of time and effort there and in Arizona. As for Howard Dean, he'd essentially conceded today's states in favor of a last stand later this month in places like Michigan and Wisconsin, but the news still isn't good--Lieberman's almost caught him in Delaware, for cryin' out loud. As for Kerry--he'll still be riding with Big Mo after tonight. He may yet sweep the board, but if he doesn't, it might be John Edwards who has the chance to stop him.

What kind of odds could you have gotten a month ago on Kerry and Edwards as the last two standing?

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