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Gaming Out Oregon

For those still hanging on every pledged delegate, FiveThirtyEight has an interesting, district-by-district breakdown of the way things are likely to shake out in Oregon tonight. In general, he argues that demographics should have made Oregon a toss-up, but that Hillary's recent strategic decisions have made it pretty safe for Obama:

My modeling was consistently showing Oregon to be a toss-up state -- leaning only slightly to Obama. And if Oregon had voted back in February, maybe it would have been a toss-up. It might be noted that in Washington's beauty contest primary (which the model does not use directly in its estimates), Obama beat Clinton by just 3 points. And Washington should be a couple of points stronger for Obama than Oregon, as it is wealthier and has a somewhat larger black population.

But now, that isn't how Oregon is likely to vote. Clinton smartly recognized that the states that were scheduled to vote late in the primary process were moderate or conservative-leaning states. As such, she has moved somewhat to Obama's right. That's going to work to her benefit in places like Kentucky, but she's liable to pay a price for it in the one Kerry state that remained on the calender, which is Oregon. Tack on a couple of points for the fact that Obama has engaged the state more actively, and he could be looking at a double digit margin. ...

Keep in mind that about 4-5 points of our projected margin stems from the fact that Obama has spent more time on the ground in Oregon. Without that campaign activity, the state looked to be just close enough that Clinton must have faced a tough decision about whether or not to campaign seriously there. It's likely, however, Clinton effectively decided her fate when she decided to move to the political center; an issue like the gas tax moratorium plays quite badly in Oregon. Her goal was to have a strong showing in North Carolina and Indiana, perhaps even running the table in every state but Oregon. But Oregon was probably going to have to be sacrificed to enable that strategy.

--Noam Scheiber