Wasn't this supposed to be over by now? With the front-loaded primary season, the nominations should have been settled by now. It worked with the GOP; John McCain is the nominee in all but name. For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama keep on keepin' on. Tomorrow, giant contests in Ohio and Texas, plus primaries in Rhode Island and Vermont. The conventional wisdom is that Clinton must win both big states in order to proceed, and that Obama winning one could cripple her campaign and winning both would kill it.
But, if you read the various polls, it's clear nobody has a freakin' clue what is happening in either state. The two smaller states are somewhat predictable: Obama has a healthy lead in Vermont, and Clinton holds a steady lead in Rhode Island. Clinton opened both Ohio and Texas with huge leads, and has seen them steadily dwindle. Texas is deadlocked, and Ohio is a mess. One poll shows Obama with a one point lead, another shows Clinton with a nine-point lead.
Our prediction? Obama wins Texas in a squeaker and Vermont handily. Clinton wins Ohio and Rhode Island comfortably. Due to the way the Democrats split delegates, Obama's lead stays pretty much the same. Clinton will feel serious pressure to drop out, but won't until after the Pennsylvania primary in April.