Despite being outspent 3-to-1 by her opponent Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton has won the Democrat's Pennsylvania primary by a convincing margin.
But for the second time in seven weeks, first in the Texas and Ohio primaries and now in Pennsylvania, Obama did not deliver a decisive blow against Clinton when he had an opportunity to bring the race to an end, despite heavily outspending her and waging an aggressive and negative campaign in the final days. His advisers had hoped to hold Clinton's victory margin to mid-single digits and appeared to have fallen short of that goal.
"He broke every spending record in this state trying to knock us out of this race," Clinton told her supporters in Philadelphia last night. "Well, the people of Pennsylvania had other ideas."
Obama's loss in Pennsylvania raised anew questions about his ability to win the big industrial states that will be critical to the Democrats' hopes of winning back the White House in November. In the coming days, Clinton's camp will try to play on those doubts with uncommitted superdelegates -- who have been moving toward Obama over the past two months -- urging them to remain neutral until the primaries are over.
As I wrote after Hillary's big wins on Super Tuesday, if the Democrats ran their primary as a winner-takes-all system like the Electoral College Obama would have lost a long time ago. Based on CNN's Democrat scorecard and 270toWin, my calculations give Hillary a hypothetical electoral vote lead of 284 to 202 for Obama, with 52 votes still undecided. Of course, it only takes 270 votes to win.
What's more, Obama hasn't won any of the critical battleground states: Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee, New Mexico, and others all went to Clinton. Obama tends to win in states that are already guaranteed to one party or the other in the general election. If The Democrats' primary system reflected the electoral college, Obama would be seen for what he is: a popular regional candidate with narrow appeal and little chance of winning the presidency.