Pending the appeal

The opinion polls are closing... and I should have put down my misgivings.


In my view, the least reliable opinion pollster is Zogby: let's just say that the next time one of his polls overstates the conservative vote please send me a copy so I can frame it.

Guess who predicted, most loudly, that Hillary Clinton had lost New Hampshire? Until the New York Senator came back and won, that is.

And who has been talking up the Barack Obama lead in Texas, and the gap narrowing in Ohio?

OK, here's evidence:
1) Reuters Zogby poll: February 16 Obama leads Clinton by 14%.
AP/Ipsos has Clinton +5% on the 10th.
Hotline/FD has Clinton +2% on the 17th.

2) Reuters Zogby poll: January 13 Clinton leads Obama by only 1%.
Same day: USA Today/Gallup says Clinton +12%.
Pew Research say Clinton +15%.

3) Eight opinion poll margins between Clinton and Obama in Ohio, listed in date order by RealClearPolitics (survey dates range from February 26 to March 2).
Guess which is the Zogby poll?
a) Clinton +8%, b) Clinton +4%, c) Clinton +4%, d) Obama +2%, e) Clinton +10%, f) Clinton +9%, g) Clinton +12% and h) Clinton +6%.

Truth is: the real counting starts tomorrow. I don't know what will happen, but I don't see a landslide for Obama in votes this time. My other thought is the Democratic party has set up at least two opportunities for the loser to take this whole process to court, maybe three or more.

First, the absurd rules for delegate selection in Texas. Yes, I know the Clinton camp should have looked into it a long time before the middle of February THIS YEAR. But come on! We have two sets of rules and a weighting system which, if it benefited white people in Mississippi at the expense of blacks the way it benefits black people at the expense of Latinos in Texas, would have people asking if its 2008 or 1948. Mind you, some of the character sniping against Obama would look a lot less out place coming from George Wallace and Strom Thurmond's presidential campaigns than from the high priestess of political correctness's acolytes.

To allow such a system to determine the outcome of the entire presidential candidate selection process, because that's effectively what Texas would come down to, is like having rival gangs of thugs outside Chicago City Hall deciding who gets past to choose the Mayor. It might have a vague coincidental similarity with the outcome one could have got in a free and fair election. Maybe.

So if the votes come out with an Obama victory in Texas, because of a screwy voting system, I expect the Warren Zevon cry to go out:
Send lawyers, guns and money/
The s*** has hit the fan
If the system is changed after tomorrow to "restore" balance, a different set of law firms move in: how can one change the rules after the race?

Second, now take Florida. There's an offer to have a re-run (cheeky, if you ask me). But if Florida can have a second vote, why can't Michigan? And if there's a good enough reason to deny a re-vote, why not let Senator Clinton have her Michigan delegates? Or half of them, like the Republicans did with their renegade states?

You try settling that lot of potential pitfalls without ending up in court.

The nightmare for the Democrats must be an inconclusive outcome tomorrow: Hillary Clinton wins the popular vote in both Texas and Ohio, and she gets Rhode Island, leaving Obama with Vermont. But Obama gets a disproportionate delegate allocation from Texas, and one of the camps demands a decision on Florida Governor Charlie Crist's (Republican) offer of a Florida re-run.

The NAFTA spin over Canada has hit Obama's credibility with the media. This in turn may trickle into the public arena.

What are the odds the Supreme Court of the United States (with a conservative majority - HEH!) Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and company get to rule on these issues (or worse, refuses to rule) some time in, say, September or October, on who the Democratic candidate is? As a precaution, will some states have to print ballot papers with BOTH Obama and Clinton, as well as McCain, to add to Nader and the Libertarian candidate? How divisive or confusing will that be?

I guess the televised debates would be tricky: John McCain has a go against each of them?

You want more confusing? Imagine both sides agree to have the other as vice president (Yeah, that shouldn't be hard to arrange!). So the ballot papers say "Clinton/Obama" and "Obama/Clinton" and "McCain/GOP-VP". But only one set of Democratic names counts, in some states. In others, both permutations count.
Pending the appeal.

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