After Tuesday's election results in Wisconsin and Hawaii, Sen. Barack Obama increased his lead in pledged delegates over Sen. Hillary Clinton, with his 10th win in a row.
The polling group Zogby reported Wednesday, that nationally Obama has a 14 point lead over Clinton. Also according to the Zogby poll, voters currently favor Obama over McCain. Yet matched against Clinton, the poll showed voters chose McCain.
But if Sen. Obama seems to have harnessed the momentum, — for now — Sen. Clinton still has big wins in California, New York and Massachussetts in her corner. And with races in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island still to come March 4, the battle for the nomination is still very much in play.
"The change we seek is still months and miles away," Obama told a jubilant crowd at his victory speech in Houston. In the speech Obama focused as much on attacking Sen. John McCain as he did Clinton. "We're going to roll back those Bush tax cuts that went to all the wealthy people and we're going to give tax cuts to ordinary families…"
Sen. Clinton meanwhile is focusing on winning races in Ohio and Texas. Addressing supporters in New York, Tuesday, she repeated her contention that she has more experience and a stronger record of achievement.
"It's about picking a president who relies not just on words but on work, on hard work, to get America back to work, to get America working again for all of our people," she said. "We need to make a choice between speeches and solutions, because while words matter greatly, the best words in the world aren't enough unless you match them with action."
The two Democratic contenders will meet to debate Thursday evening, Feb 21, in Texas.
With 370 pledged delegates at stake the March 4 primaries could be decisive. Analysts say that if Sen. Clinton wins both Texas and Ohio, she could regain the momentum, although she will have to win by a large margin in order to take the lead in delegates. If Sen. Obama wins either or both states, analysts say his momentum will continue – possibly all the way to the nomination.
Sen. McCain consolidated his lead in the Republican nomination race, winning in both Ohio and Wisconsin. Washington state also voted Tuesday, but because both parties chose to allocate delegates to the winners of their Feb. 9 caucuses, few delegates were at stake. McCain, who had squeaked a victory over Huckabee in the Feb. 9 caucuses, won the Washington primary by a large margin – 49 percent to Gov. Mike Huckabee's 22 percent and picked up 19 delegates. In Washington's Democratic primary —- where no delegates were at stake because the Democrats allocated all 78 after the Feb. 9 caucus — Clinton lost narrowly to Obama.
Currently the Associated Press estimates the delegatecount in the Republican nomination race at 942 for McCain compared to 245 for Huckabee. In the democratic race the Associated Press puts Clinton's current total at 1245 compared to Obama's 1319. These counts include pledged delegates and the 408 superdelegates who have publicly committed to one or other candidate.
The 796 Democratic superdelegates, who are not pledged and can change allegiance at will, may play a key role in deciding the Democratic nomination if both candidates remain in contention up to the party's national convention in August.
Of Washington's 17 Democratic Superdelegates, eight have not declared support for either candidate. U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, King County Executive Ron Sims, former House Speaker Tom Foley and U.S. Reps. Jay Inslee and Norman Dicks have declared their support for Sen. Clinton. Gov. Christine Gregoire, Democratic National Committee member Pat Notter and U.S. Rep. Adam Smith have declared their support for Sen. Obama.
Of Oregon's 12 Democratic Superdelegates nine remain officially undecided. Gov. Ted Kulongoski and U.S. Rep. Darlene Hooley have declared their support for Sen. Clinton and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer has said he will support Sen. Obama.