If It Looks Like Momentum
02-20-2008
Last week, I put up several posts asking whether the traditional notion of campaign momentum was still operative in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. These posts were predicated on the possibility that Barack Obama could win as many as 10 consecutive primaries and caucuses, during a two-week period in February. At issue was the question of whether such an unbroken string of victories would restore candidate momentum as the driving force in a contest that had otherwise seen few signs of it, and which had settled into a grinding, pitched battle over delegates.
 
Now that Obama has won all ten contests by double-digit margins, political observers appear increasingly comfortable with the idea that momentum has indeed returned to the race. This conclusion is not based simply on the number and margin of the victories, but on the extent to which Obama has cut measurably into Clinton’s core electoral constituencies – women, working-class voters, union members, etc. Political observers first noted evidence of these shifts in Maryland and Virginia last week, and last night’s victory in Wisconsin reinforced the trends, suggesting that some old-fashioned candidate momentum is at work.
 
So, Hillary Clinton’s task of building simultaneous firewalls in Texas and Ohio, prior to their March 4th contests, is now appreciably more difficult than it was just two weeks ago. As any political consultant will tell you, a much stronger barrier is needed to stop a campaign charging with a full head of steam.


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