Will it be all over by tomorrow?

It’s March 4, what some have dubbed “Super Tuesday the Second”. For today is the last major multi-state primary/caucus voting day that will carry as many as 444 delegates (228 from Texas, 161 from Ohio, 32 from Rhode Island and 23 from Vermont) for the Democrats and 265 delegates (TX 140, OH 88, RI 20, VT 17) for the Republicans.

For the Republicans, all but Rhode Island are winner-take-all states, meaning John McCain should be able to secure enough delegates for the Republican nomination by tomorrow, if he’s able to win Texas and Ohio (or Texas and Vermont, or even possibly Ohio and Vermont depending on how many delegates he wins from RI). I’ve included a graphical representation below of the number of delegates each of the two parties’ two front-runners have right now, and John McCain, for the most part, just need the numbers to make it official.

Delegate count – before Mar 4 primaries

However, as you can see, the Democratic race remains tight, with less than 200 delegates between Sen Barack Obama and Sen Hillary Clinton. Speculation remains high that if Sen Clinton fails to win both Ohio and Texas, she will withdraw from the race. However, I don’t think she’ll give up that easily.

As the Democrats use a proportional representation system for all states, she could yet win enough delegates to remain within touching distance of Sen Obama. (Texas, however, has a very complicated system in which the winner of the popular vote might still fail to win more delegates than the other candidate.) After today, Pennsylvania on April 22 – the next big state – provides 188 delegates and North Carolina on May 6 provides 134, so she might decide to stick it out in the hope she’ll get enough delegates to catch Sen Obama.

However, Sen Clinton does still retain a lead (albeit a slim one) in polls in both Texas and Ohio, so will it be all over by tomorrow? We’ll just have to wait and see.

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