Here is a continuation of my list of Super Tuesday states and what we should expect on election night.
(One correction: In yesterday's blog, I mistakenly listed John McCain as the favorite in Massachusetts, while of course I meant to say that Mitt Romney, the state's former governor, is ahead in the polls.)
New Jersey. John Zogby, whom many other pollsters don't trust, has Clinton and Obama tied; others show small Clinton leads. Obama is on New York and Philadelphia TV, hoping for an upset. McCain has a big lead in this winner-take-all state.
Oklahoma. Clinton is well ahead here. McCain has competition from Huckabee.
Tennessee. With a smaller black population than other southern states, mostly concentrated in Memphis, Tennessee is not fertile ground for Obama. On the Republican side, this is a three-way race for McCain, Huckabee, and Romney.
There will be plenty to chew over in the hour after 8 p.m. (We should also have the results of the Kansas Democratic caucuses; Gov. Kathleen Sebelius endorsed Obama last week.) Then at 8:30, the polls close in Arkansas. Clinton has cut a special TV spot for the state where she served as first lady for 12 years; she should win easily. Huckabee has been campaigning here, and (in the absence of recent polls) it looks like a race between him and McCain.
At 9 p.m., we'll have the polls close in two far-distant primary states and should be starting to get results from the caucuses in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, and North Dakota (New Mexico Democrats only). But just two primaries, with relatively little suspense:
Arizona. The nation's second-fastest-growing state is about evenly split between Clinton, who hopes Latino turnout will pull it out for her, and Obama. Some conservatives are chortling that McCain is winning less than 50 percent in polls in his home state, and it's true that some hard-shell Arizona conservatives hate McCain (and vice versa). But no one really doubts he'll win his home state.
New York. Clinton will carry the state that has twice elected her to the Senate. But Obama strategists hope to hold her delegate total down to Obama's delegate lead in Illinois. McCain is far ahead here.
At 10 p.m., the polls in Utah close. No one seems clear on what the relatively few Democrats here will do, but everyone assumes that the much more numerous and heavily Mormon Republicans will support Romney almost unanimously.
Then, the big enchilada: At 11 p.m., the polls close in California. Here the races in both parties seem to be tightening, with Obama and Romney moving up. In the latest polls, only SurveyUSA has Clinton with a large lead, and Rasmussen, Zogby, and Suffolk have Obama up, though by only 1 point in two cases. Obama is likely to carry the San Francisco Bay area solidly, but his large margins there are unlikely to produce any big delegate leads. Bay Area primary voters are underrepresented by the Democrats' proportional formula (Bay Area districts had an average of 15,580 2004 primary voters per delegate, while heavily Latino Los Angeles area districts had an average of 8,507 2004 primary voters per delegate). And districts with even numbers of delegates will most likely produce an even split between the two candidates. But that may also limit Clinton's delegate advantage in the light-voting Latino congressional districts in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties, all but one of which has an even number of delegates.
On the Republican side, there seems to be a Romney trend. SurveyUSA has McCain leading 39 to 36 percent; its previous poll had him ahead 37 to 25. Zogby has Romney leading 40 to 32; his last separate track had Romney ahead 37 to 34. Rasmussen has a 38-38 tie; his last previous track had McCain up 32 to 28. What accounts for this move toward Romney, if that's what it is?
Not paid media, which none of the Republicans can afford much of in hugely expensive California. Talk radio, perhaps, in a state where people are in their cars a lot. And, I think, the barely suppressed anger and exasperation of California Republicans. There are a lot of them in this state, but there are a lot more Democrats, and they lose just about every election. They helped elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, but when he lost his potentially game-changing 2005 referendums, he turned around and governed in tandem with the forever-Democratic legislature. They're unhappy with high taxes, and they're unhappy with high immigration. My guess is that Romney has some appeal to these voters, or at least the more affluent of them, especially in Orange and San Diego counties. They're powerless to swing state elections, but they're sufficiently numerous to swing a Republican primary.
Bottom line (I'm going to skip over the Idaho, Montana, and Alaska caucuses): Neither Clinton nor Obama is going to score a knockout blow, and Obama, especially if he wins in California, could hold Clinton to a standoff in delegates. But each will have cause (and cash) to go on. McCain, who has seemed for the past week in a position to clinch the nomination, might still do so, but he'll have to carry California and win in most or all of the states where he is challenged by Huckabee and (in Georgia anyway) by Romney.