Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Obama Leads in Elected Superdelegates

many of the supers are remaining uncommitted to let the voters have their say first. here's a good superdelgate wrap story:

wsj: Among elected officials, Sen. Obama leads in endorsements from governors and senators. He is behind among House members by one, but both camps expect him to pull ahead unless he does badly in next Tuesday's Indiana and North Carolina primaries. If he doesn't stumble, enough elected Democrats are expected to back Sen. Obama after the last primaries June 3 to give him the delegate majority needed for nomination.

Many of them see Sen. Obama as more electable than Sen. Clinton. But even those who don't have been impressed by his grass-roots organizing and fund raising and the legions of new voters he has attracted, particularly younger and African-American voters.

The politicians -- especially Democrats with significant African-American populations or college campuses in their districts -- see benefit for themselves in these new voters. By contrast, many see Sen. Clinton's alienating some general-election voters.

A Democratic strategist to congressional candidates cites Sen. Clinton's high negative ratings in opinion polls. Politicians "all think Obama will stimulate African-American turnout, and they all know there's no way she gets independents or Republicans," says the strategist, who is unaligned in the presidential race.

Sen. Clinton still leads in endorsements from nonelected officials. Many have known her and former President Clinton since the couple's White House years, or worked for them then.

The Clinton campaign is counting on this group to be fertile ground to sow doubts about Sen. Obama's electability, citing his weaker showings in big states and among working-class whites, seniors and Roman Catholics.

The Obama camp late last week countered by emailing superdelegates a memo citing state polls to argue that either Democrat could beat Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican nominee, in the big states where Sen. Clinton beat Sen. Obama in the primaries, such as California and New York. But Sen. Obama, the memo contended, would "put new states in play."

His campaign also just announced a 50-state voter mobilization. That reflects another pitch to nonelected party officials: That Sen. Obama would work to build the party even in Republican "red" states, and has the money to do it, while Sen. Clinton focuses only on Democratic "blue" states and battlegrounds such as Ohio.

Interviews with party officials suggest this appeal has effectively exploited lingering resentments that the DNC, under President Clinton, abandoned the red states. "Obama has made it absolutely clear he's committed to the 50-state strategy, and the Clintons obviously aren't," says Nebraska party chairman Steve Achepohl, who endorsed Sen. Obama last week. "That's a major factor for all the party people in smaller states."

About 300 of the 795 superdelegates remain uncommitted; they don't have to endorse anyone until Aug. 27 at the Democrats' Denver convention. Party Chairman Howard Dean, among others, is urging them to go public after the primaries end.