What if it was Hillary Clinton v. John Edwards?

I want to engage in a speculative what-if scenario:

Imagine that the democratic primary race was between Clinton and Edwards, with Edwards leading Clinton in virtually the same way Obama is currently leading Clinton.  I wonder, would Hillary have engaged in the same-scorched, slash and burn earth campaign against Edwards as they have with Obama?  Would she still be campaigning Puerto Rico despite being hopelessly behind?  

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Obama Up 17 Points Ahead of Montana Primary

Via Markos comes news of Mason-Dixon polling out of Montana:

Barack Obama has a big lead over Hillary Rodham Clinton in Montana's June 3 Democratic presidential primary, a Gazette State Poll shows.

Obama leads Clinton by 52 percent to 35 percent among likely Democratic voters, with 13 percent undecided in the poll, which was taken May 19-21. The Democratic primary portion of the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

As Markos notes, Montana is an overwhelmingly White state. Likewise, it's one of the poorer states in the nation. So Obama's 17-point lead in the state seems to undercut the notion that he performs particularly poorly among working class Whites outside of Appalachia (a fact underscored by Obama's similarly large victory in Oregon last week).

And just to crunch the numbers, if the primary results look something like this come the first Tuesday in June, Obama should net something like 9 of the 16 pledged delegates up for grab, though and 8-8 split of delegates is entirely possible, too. In order to get much higher than that, Obama would have to get closer to two-thirds of the vote (or about 65 percent), which doesn't appear terribly likely at this point.

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Barack Obama Has a Majority of Pledged Delegates

Barack Obama is perhaps 70-90 delegates away from hitting the magic number of  2,026 (now that Travis Childers and Don Cazayoux are now in Congress). However, NBC News and CNN report that Obama has now clinched a majority of the pledged delegates, surpassing the 1,627 mark. What's more, assuming Obama is able to secure 30 delegates out of Oregon (which seems likely at this juncture given the spread in the state), Obama will have clinched a majority of pledged delegates including Michigan and Florida (assuming a halving of the states' delegations, which Chuck Todd is reporting is a likelihood).

What does this mean? Obama has not clinched the Democratic nomination, though his seemingly inexorable move towards securing the nomination was not slowed tonight. Nevertheless, Obama now has a claim to the majority of the pledged delegates under almost any scenario, meaning that the cadre of superdelegates pledging their support to the winner of the pledged delegate battle could move to Obama, and soon.

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Oregon Primary Results Thread

We have results:

√ Barack Obama: 319,164 votes (58 percent)
Hillary Clinton: 228,494 votes (42 percent)

84 percent of precincts reporting as of 4:25 AM Eastern

Update [by Jonathan Singer]: The Merkley-Novick Senate primary is close so far with Merkley now leading 47 percent to 41 percent with 54 percent of precincts reporting (12:43 AM Eastern).

Update [2008-5-21 0:56:36 by Jonathan Singer]: Per KGW, Steve Novick will concede within a few minutes. I'm with Markos -- this competitive primary race could turn out to be a boon for the Democrats, helping the party get ready to take on Gordon Smith in the fall.

Update [2008-5-21 1:10:37 by Jonathan Singer]: KGW news has called the Democratic Senate primary for House Speaker Jeff Merkley, and Steve Novick is now conceding the race.


Update [2008-5-20 23:24:29 by Jonathan Singer]: Per exit poll data on KGW, Portland's NBC affiliate, Barack Obama beat Hillary Clinton among those without college degrees, defying a bit of conventional wisdom that he cannot win that demographic.

Update [2008-5-20 23:27:49 by Jonathan Singer]: Also defying conventional wisdom, Obama is not only winning in the Portland-area but also more rural regions of the state, including places like Jefferson County in the middle of the state and Curry County down on the California border.

Update [2008-5-21 2:2:37 by Jonathan Singer]: Crunching the numbers, it looks like Obama should pick up 30 delegates out of the state to 22 for Clinton (though the numbers could move one or two delegates in either direction).

NBC News: Barack Obama Wins Oregon Primary

NBC News calls the Oregon primary for Barack Obama.

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