A steady stream of endorsements for Obama hold Clinton at bay.

Down and on the way out.
May 9 2008 2:32 PM

The Hillary Deathwatch

A steady stream of endorsements for Obama hold Clinton at bay.

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Superdelegates continue to trickle in for Barack Obama, and John Edwards says Clinton probably can't win. Polls continue to favor Clinton heavily in the next two primaries. But observers increasingly wonder, what's the point? Lacking inertia, Clinton dips two-tenths of a point to 2.1 percent.

Ever since Obama gained a solid lead in pledged delegates in the weeks after Super Tuesday, his supporters have leaked hints that he has won the private commitments of dozens of superdelegates, particularly in Congress. Every Wednesday morning after a primary, the media would await news of a major shift in superdelegate migratory patterns. It never came.

Instead, it appears that the supers are content arriving in twos and threes by the day, providing a steady stream of small-font headlines. Today, Obama snared three new endorsements, including one, Rep. Donald Payne of New Jersey, who defected from Clinton's column. Clinton picked up the endorsement of Rep. Chris Carney of Pennsylvania, for a net total of 3-0 in Obama's favor.

In an interview on the Today show, John Edwards was generally complimentary of Obama and optimistic about his odds of beating McCain in the fall, though he declined to actually endorse. Edwards' influence is diminished now that both Carolinas have voted, but he could still give Obama a bump in favorable media.


Meanwhile, Clinton is on course to crush Obama in West Virginia this Tuesday. She's polling in the 50s and 60s to Obama's 20s. Her lead is similarly lopsided in Kentucky, which votes a week later.

How her likely victories in these upcoming states will be received has a lot to do with whether the current trickle of superdelegates picks up. If one allows her a generous 65 percent of the vote in every remaining primary, Obama will still lead by 100 pledged delegates going into the convention. (You can test this yourself on our delegate calculator.) Such a result would mean he would need 358 superdelegates to win the nomination. DemConWatch estimates that he already has 263, meaning the high estimate for his magic number is below 100 and ticking down by the day.

For a full list of our Deathwatches, click here. For a primer on Hillary's sinking ship, visit our first Deathwatch entry. Send your own prognostications to hillarydeathwatch@gmail.com.

Chris Wilson is a Slate contributor.



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