As I noted in my piece this morning, for all the talk about the volatility of the Democratic race, the outcomes of the nominating contests are incredibly predictable along demographic lines. I can disregard the all of the polls over the next six weeks and predict with a high degree of certainty that Barack Obama will win North Carolina, Oregon, Montana and South Dakota; and that Clinton will win West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico.
That leaves Indiana as the only swing state. It’s Obama’s next door neighbor, but it has many of the demographic characteristics that tend to favor Clinton, and she has the support of Sen. Evan Bayh. If, on May 6, Obama can run up the score and crush in North Carolina, while achieving even a small victory in Indiana, he should really solidify his grip on the nomination. Clinton may still continue after that point, so she can do her victory laps in WV, KY, and PR, but winning a competitive race in Indiana will at least give Obama one state with a significant working class white population. For Clinton, Indiana will be her last chance to shake up the race. A win there will cement doubts about Obama’s ability to win a key demographic group, and bolster her case to superdelegates.
So, all eyes are now on the Hoosier State.
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