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Saturday, December 15, 2007 - 3:15pm

Despite Sliding in Polls, Hillary Still Frontrunner

The Hillary Clinton camp has been backsliding for six weeks now, ever since her poor debate performance.  Senator Barack Obama has taken the lead in Iowa and has narrowed the gap in New Hampshire and South Carolina.  However, with only nineteen days to go before the Iowa caucus, Senator Hillary is still leading by double-digits nationally, is leading in Florida by a commanding thirty percent, and is still holding her own in the early states.

 

 As much as folks would like to declare Barack Obama the frontrunner, the fact is that Hillary is still the woman to beat.  Barack Obama could win in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina and still lose the nomination.  Senator Obama's numbers would clearly improve if he sweeps those early state elections, but it may not be enough to surpass the Clintonistas.

 

The Florida primary is being held on January 29th and has 185 delegates at stake, far more than any other early state.  In four recent polls, Hillary is leading in Florida by 28%, 30%, 30%, and 36%.  Those numbers are nearly insurmountable, even with early wins.  Florida is clearly the real firewall for Clinton.

 

Super Tuesday comes February 5th as many states hold primaries that day.  If Hillary has righted the ship by winning Florida, she could very easily win most of the states on Super Tuesday and win the Democratic nomination.

 

There are other factors involved, including the withdrawal of the other Democratic candidates.  The conventional wisdom is that when Biden, Richardson, and Edwards drop out, most of their support will go to Obama.  Whether that will be enough to challenge Hillary on a national level remains to be seen.

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