While Delaware is starved for delegates, head-scratchingly small, and often maligned for not being a “real state,” its demographics are unique, and may be key to predicting Tuesday’s winners. Twenty-one percent of the state’s population is black, 7 percent Hispanic and over 20 percent lives in rural areas. The transitory culture (Senator Joe Biden has commuted to Washington regularly since the 1970s) and business-oriented industry may favor Eastern establishment figures Clinton and Romney, while the big black vote may push Obama over the finish line.
Delegates: Democrats, 15; Republicans, 18
Format: Closed, proportional primary for Democrats; closed, winner-take-all primary for Republicans
Recent Polls: This tiny state has been sorely neglected in the horse-racing of the past several months; the last round of polling in Delaware appears to have taken place in early October. Then, Clinton, Obama and Edwards split the vote 41-17-7. Similarly, the Republican race in Delaware has not been gauged in months: In October, Romney stood at 10 percent and McCain at 14 percent. The undecided number--12 percent in October for the Democrats, and 21 percent Republicans--and the newly-narrowed race may end up making the difference.
In-State Fundraising (through third quarter): Hillary Clinton: $74,473; Barack Obama: $38,366; John McCain: $57,404; Mitt Romney: $19,170
Demographics/Organization/Endorsements: None of the major campaigns have had a presence in the state--all the candidates have made under a dozen appearances combined--but in the tight race on the Democratic side, the 15 delegates at stake could tip the scales down the road. While Delaware’s black population is not as prominent as in neighboring Maryland or New Jersey, black voters are estimated to make up as much at 35 percent of the primary votes. Perhaps seeking to court this demographic, Michelle Obama campaigned Thursday in Wilmington along with Obama supporters James Baker, mayor of Wilmington, and leading Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jack Markell. Hillary Clinton picked up the endorsement of sitting Democratic Governor Ann Minner, who had supported Biden until early January. Other major endorsements are few and far-between; there are only three people in Delaware’s entire congressional delegation. Labor support may also play a factor: State AFL-CIO president Sam Lathem introduced Michelle as "the next first lady."
The reliably democratic state holds little potential for Republicans in November; and as a result the leading candidates made only a perfunctory effort to campaign here in 2007. McCain has been endorsed here by Congressman Mike Castle and the state's Speaker of the House Terry Spence, and was the victor of a state Republican Party straw poll conducted last weekend. The victory over other competitors was razor-thin, however--31 points to Romney’s 30 and Rudy Giuliani’s 29 percent. Of course, Giuliani's recent endorsement of McCain could pile votes into his camp.
Get a rundown of other states at play at TNR's Super Tuesday Primer, updated with new states every day leading up to February 5.