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inobd [Date : 2008-02-03 17:51:02 ]   
Subject Analysis: Is there life after Super Tuesday?
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, it is not the end, but it is more than the end of the beginning. It is perhaps the beginning of the end.

But with only two or three major candidates left in each party, and with more than half of the country voting, surely both races will be decided on February 5.

Maybe. Maybe not.

The race isn't over until somebody gets a majority of delegates, and both parties have rules that make it difficult to get to a majority.

The Democratic rules award delegates proportional to the vote, so if a candidate gets 40 percent of the vote, he or she gets 40 percent of the delegates.

The winner does not take all. The candidate who comes in second will continue to amass delegates. The candidate who comes in first has to win by overwhelming margins in order to get to a majority quickly.

That seems less and less likely. Polls show Barack Obama gaining momentum as Super Tuesday approaches. Crushing victories by either Hillary Clinton or Obama don't seem to be in the cards.

The fact that most delegates are awarded by congressional district makes it less likely that either Clinton or Obama will sweep the field. Each contender will be able to find pockets of strength in different areas of a state.

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