Ever wake up in Las Vegas the morning after a not-so-good night? Barack Obama has not yet gotten the chance to sleep off the Nevada caucus returns–and he’s not likely to be getting much sleep between now and Supersaturated Tuesday on February 5–but the Nevada results ought to be troubling for the Obama camp (even though the Nevada caucus was a rather odd affair). Exit polls showed that Hillary Clinton, who won by 6 points, scored well with women, Hispanics, and working-class voters fretting about the recession. The problem for Obama: this is a big chunk of the Democratic electorate.
Sasha Abramsky focuses on the lemonade: Obama was competitive with Clinton in rural white areas. But even if Obama can scoop up John Edwards voters in future contests–Edwards ran a distant third in Nevada, bagging about 5 percent of the vote–Clinton is sitting on a damn good base at the moment: women, Latinos and blue-collar Dems. It will be hard to win the Democratic nomination without those blocs.
Obama could well triumph in South Carolina, depending on how African-Americans vote. But his true political challenge is besting Clinton among the critical die-hard Democratic slices. And with February 5 fast approaching, he doesn’t have much time to win over these voters.