Forbes.com reports on "America's Hardest-Hit Foreclosure Spots." Detroit's Wayne County tops the list, followed by Las Vegas's Clark County. No county from New England places in the worst 50, though parts of New York are there.
As of noon, the RealClearPolitics average of polls for the Democratic nomination has Hillary Clinton leading Barack Obama by 43 percent to 34 percent, but most of the polling was done before John Edwards dropped out of the race, and what will happen to his 13 percent may be crucial. Late January polls had Edwards still getting more than a quarter of the vote in Missouri and Oklahoma, but Obama whould have to inherit an overwhelming percentage of the Edwards vote to catch up to Clinton. The New York senator also has a 59-26 edge in a new poll from Tennessee. Obama can be heartened by his 43-35 lead in an aggregate of polls from Georgia and a surprising 40-40 tie in a poll from Connecticut. In the biggest state to vote next Tuesday, RealClearPolitics's average is 45 for Clinton and 33 for Obama, but the latest polls show a tightening of the race there.
On the Republican side, a big question is whether Mike Huckabee's support holds up on Tuesday. Recent polls have him above 25 percent in Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. If his voters drift into a choice between John McCain and Mitt Romney, how will they go? If McCain inherits the support of Rudy Giuliani and sweeps the Northeast primaries, Romney will somehow have to stop the Arizona senator from also picking up wins in the South.
The national average has McCain at 27 percent and Romney at 20 percent, with Huckabee still close behind at 19 percent. The average of California polls has McCain at 33 percent and Romney at 24 percent.
Today is all about California. Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are in Los Angeles for their first two-candidate debate, which will air at 8 p.m. on CNN. A Rasmussen poll has Clinton holding on to a three-point lead in the California primary, thanks to support from women, Latinos, and self-identified moderates.
Republican John McCain is expected to be in California to accept the endorsement of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mitt Romney is campaigning in Long Beach, Orange County, and San Diego. In the 2000 Republican primary, McCain ran strongest in the San Francisco area but also did well in San Diego; Los Angeles and Orange County were solidly for George W. Bush, and Romney clearly hopes that some anti-McCain sentiment remains there.
Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed budget for fiscal 2009 includes revenue from casino licensing fees, even though casino gambling has not yet been approved by the Legislature (see Boston Globe story by Frank Phillips). Now town goverments may follow Patrick's lead, if a story by Shauna Stavely in the Arlington Advocate is any indication. Stavely reports that Arlington town officials are basing revenue projections on the assumption that casino money will make up for any shortfall in aid from the state lottery. Town manager Brian Sullivan says that $657,000 in local aid "depends on the casino plan," adding that "if support can't be garnered for casino revenue, then [the governor and the Legislature] need to find it somewhere else."
Barring a last-minute surge for Mike Huckabee next Tuesday, or at least one brokered convention this summer, the next president of the US will be Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Barack Obama, or Mitt Romney. That means one or both of the following:
--The next president will be the first since John F. Kennedy to be elected directly from the US Senate (if it's Clinton, McCain, or Obama).
--The next president will be the first since Kennedy to be elected (not appointed, so Gerald Ford doesn't count) from the northern half of the country (if it's Clinton, Obama, or Romney).
Barack Obama is spending this Wednesday in pursuit of Western votes: He had a "community gathering" this morning in Denver. A recent poll gave Obama a slight lead in Colorado, which holds caucuses on Super Tuesday. Denver County backed Jerry Brown over Bill Clinton in the 1992 Democratic primary. From there, Obama heads to a rally in Phoenix. (Fun fact: Arizona is the only state outside of New England that has given victories to all four recent Democratic presidential candidates: Ted Kennedy in 1980, Michael Dukakis in 1988, Paul Tsongas in 1992, and John Kerry in 2004.)
Hillary Clinton is looking to the South, with a town hall this morning in Little Rock, Arkansas (a state she should have little trouble winning next week). Then she's off to Atlanta, where she will speak at the Georgia Democratic Party's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner. Georgia is another of the handful of states where Obama has caught up to her in the polls, but she may be hoping to do well in the northern part of the state now that John Edwards (from neighboring North Carolina) is out of the race.
For the boring, vanilla maps, go to The Boston Globe (Republican results here, Democratic results here). Our four maps below are pretty self-explanatory. First, we see that for all the brouhaha over the Republican primary, Democrat Hillary Clinton polled the most votes in most of the state:
Even more worrisome for Republicans, more people participated in the Democratic primary in every county, even though the Democrats did very little campaigning here (having pledged to boycott the state because it held its primary so early) and the front-running Republicans blitzed the state with campaign events and TV commercials. I will be posting an accurate map on Dem. vs. Rep. vote shortly.
Here is the correct map. There were about 200,000 more votes in the Republican primary (1.86 million vs. 1.67 million). Still, it's notable that the Democrats outpolled the Republican in the Gold Coast and in much of the Panhandle. The GOP is becoming more reliant on the Gulf Coast and interior (which is nothing to sneeze at, in terms of possible votes).
On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton got just shy of a majority (49.7 percent, according to the latest figures, to Barack Obama's 33.0 percent). Her victory was helped greatly by Broward and Palm Beach counties on Florida's "Gold Coast," which has large numbers of older voters and ex-New Yorkers. Her margin out of Miami-Dade County was not quite as impressive (she got 52 percent there, compared with 57 percent in Broward and 60 percent in Palm Beach), but it may indicate continuing strength with Latino voters. She did much less well in the northern part of the state, including Jacksonville's Duval County and Tallahassee's Leon County.
John McCain's victory in the Republican primary was also largely attributable to the votes from the Gold Coast -- especially in Miami-Dade County, which went almost unanimously for George W. Bush in 2000. (See map.) It should be noted, however, that the huge margin noted on the map was against Mitt Romney, who finished third in Miami-Dade. McCain's margin over second-place Rudy Giuliani was about 35,000 in that county, and it seems likely that if Giuliani had done better, a lot of his votes would have come out of McCain's hide. Romney may have been hoping that McCain and Giuliani were a lot closer on the Gold Coast, allowing him to win statewide on the basis of his strength on the Gulf Coast and in the Jacksonville area. It may be that Giuliani's fade in the closing days of the Florida campaign was a bigger boon to McCain than Giuliani's endorsement will be.
Averaging the six most recent national polls, RealClearPolitics has Hillary Clinton at 43 percent, Barack Obama at 33 percent, and John Edwards at 14 percent. According to polls in individual Super Tuesday states, Clinton is running best in Massachusetts (59 percent) and New York (50 percent); Obama is strongest in Georgia (41 percent) and Illinois (51 percent); and Edwards is highest in Missouri (28 percent) and Oklahoma (27 percent). California and New Jersey are the biggest battleground states, where Clinton is now running close to her national average.
On the Republican side, RCP has John McCain at 26 percent, Mike Huckabee at 20 percent, and Mitt Romney at 19 percent. McCain seems to be doing especially well in Super Tuesday states (unless there's been a very recent drop in national support that isn't yet reflected in state polls). He has 40 percent in Arizona, 31 percent in California, 39 percent in Connecticut, 31 percent in Illinois, 32 percent in New York, and 37 percent in Oklahoma.
Huckabee's support is concentrated in the South: Alabama (27 percent), Georgia (34 percent), Missouri (27 percent), and Tennessee (30 percent). Romney runs best in Colorado (43 percent) and Massachusetts (50 percent), but he's also expected to do very well in Montana and Utah (no recent polls available). That leaves Minnesota and New Jersey as key battleground states.
The prospect of the New England Patriots capping a historic undefeated season with a victory in the Super Bowl this Sunday in Arizona already has officials discussing plans for a possible victory parade next week. Such a celebration, the Boston Globereports this morning, would have to take place next Tuesday because players evidently couldn't make it back to Boston for a Monday parade and eight of them must leave on Wednesday for Hawaii to play in the Pro Bowl the following Sunday. But Tuesday also happens to be the date when Massachusetts voters (along with those in 21 other states) cast ballots in the presidential primary, raising concerns about whether hundreds of thousands of Patriots fans crowding the streets of downtown Boston might pose an obstacle to those trying to get to polling locations at Boston City Hall, the State House, and the main Boston Public Library in Copley Square. The state's chief election official, Secretary of State Bill Galvin, suggests that voting rights must come before any exercise of bragging rights:
"With all due respect to the New England Patriots - and I wish them well; I hope they win - holding the election of the next president of the United States is a little more important," said Galvin, who has been overseeing the Boston Election Department since dozens of precincts ran out of ballots in November 2006.
But Patriots mania seems to have a hold on others who perhaps ought to be sharing Galvin's concerns. "You can't have a parade without the players," Mayor Tom Menino told the Globe, explaining why Tuesday must be parade day. Thomas Patterson, an election specialist at Harvard's Kennedy School, even gamely suggests that a parade could boost voter turnout. "Being out and being in a crowd with people talking about the election and voting may in fact help spread the word," Patterson said. Uh huh.
Maybe a parade won't interfere with the primary (and of course if the Patriots lose there won't be a parade at all), but it seems like there's enough concern that the mayor should declare that any parade will have to wait until Wednesday. Patriots owner Bob Kraft could even charter a private jet to whisk the eight players off to Hawaii immediately after a Wednesday parade. You wouldn't think it's asking too much for a handful of football players to adjust their schedule a little to allow democracy to proceed unimpeded. But evidently it is.
It is not only here, however, that football seems to be winning out over the minutiae of electing a new president. This entry from a Houston Chronicle blog suggests the newspaper is similarly clear about its priorities, with pass patterns and point spreads deemed more worthy of coverage than the mundane matter of presidential succession.