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Home Stretch


I have a busy deadline day coming, but a few things to get us rolling:

1. Pollster Mark Blumenthal has a good rundown for poll junkies on what all the numbers we're seeing mean. Short version: There's a ton of uncertainty in a variety of categories. Money quote:

This high degree of uncertainty creates the potential for a volatility that the final tracking polls may not reveal. Many voters will likely carry their sense of indecision into the voting booth, so the news and events of the next 24 hours could prove crucial.

2. If Hillary has a bad night tomorrow, a quick rebound may not be easy

If the overall outcome is a muddle, as both campaigns increasingly expect, Obama aides see a playing field heavily skewed in their favor in the next round of contests. Three states hold contests on Saturday: Louisiana, which has a large African American population, and Washington and Nebraska, which are both caucus states. Obama appears to hold the advantage in all of them, aides said, a point that Clinton advisers did not dispute.

Obama also expects to win the Maine caucuses on Sunday, and his campaign anticipates that Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia will all break for him on Feb. 12. Clinton strategists plan on having her campaign in all of those contests but are banking on big victories on March 4 in Ohio and Texas.

"She's going to have to sustain losses on four different days in February, over two weeks," said senior Obama adviser Steve Hildebrand. "That's not easy, whatever happens on Feb. 5."

A Clinton adviser conceded: "We could be looking at what is a tough month for us."

3. Breaking news: Hillary misted up again in New Haven this morning, believe it or not. More details to come ad nauseam, no doubt.

[Getty Photo: Dusseldorf "Rose Monday" carnival parade]

--Michael Crowley