With just a few days until the South Carolina Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders is all but writing the state off.
He hasn’t said that, of course, but his schedule reflects it.
Sanders was in Massachusetts Monday night and Virginia Tuesday morning. While he attended a televised town hall in South Carolina Tuesday night and followed with an early morning news conference, his itinerary Wednesday consisted of events in Kansas City, Missouri, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. After that, his schedule called for a trip to Ohio Thursday — with stops in other March-voting states likely to be added, an aide said.Smart thinking, as Nate Silver gives him a less than 1% chance of winning there.
But that's not the only state that he isn't contesting, as this graph of Super Tuesday ad spending clearly shows:
|(Click on the chart to see a larger version. Via Mark Murray)|
Let's break it down.
Looking at a combination of recent polls, ad spending and campaign appearances (for instance, Bernie hasn't had a Texas rally in 220 days), it is clear that Sanders is not contesting the following Super Tuesday states, all of which should be heavy delegate blowouts for Clinton:
Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia
However, both Clinton and Sanders are throwing a lot of money at these four states, which could go either way:
Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Oklahoma
Wow, the Sanders camp is spending like drunken sailors in Colorado! I guess they really want that one. Like Minnesota, it's a caucus state so it's hard to tell how those will go. Massachusetts another Sanders neighbor state and the polls are very tight. And Oklahoma will likely go for Clinton, but one recent poll put him well within reach of an upset.
If Sanders wins all four, it would give him a little bit of oxygen to carry on. But he could just as easily lose all four, which would be utterly devastating in terms of delegate count, momentum and morale. If I had to guess, he'll probably split them and barely net any delegates from these four states.
Meanwhile, Clinton appears only to have ceded Vermont...but even there they are spending a little bit of money!
I think we can all see where this is headed.
And unfortunately for Bernie, the rest of March doesn't look much easier.