By Staying in the Campaign, Edwards Helps Obama

As the arguments against Edwards begin to mount online, I want to point out something that should be obvious to Obama supporters, but which I have rarely seen mentioned. By staying in the campaign, Edwards is helping Obama in states with large African-American populations. Consider, for example, that Clinton would instantaneously pull even with Obama in South Carolina if Edwards were to drop out:

Meanwhile, on the Dem side, the poll has Obama with a nine-point lead over Clinton, 40%-31%. Just asking: With Obama way out in front of Clinton with African-American voters (56%-25%), but trailing both Clinton and Edwards among whites (39%-28%-20%), is South Carolina at least one contest where Edwards still being in the race actually helps Obama? It sure looks like Clinton and Edwards are splitting the white vote...
Obama is dominating Clinton among African-Americans nationwide, and even stronger in states where campaigning has actually taken place. Edwards draws very little of the African-American vote from Obama, but is competitive for white southern votes. This means that in states like South Carolina (Jan 26th) and Georgia (Feb 5th), Obama's lead is largely dependent on Edwards staying in the campaign. In Alabama (Feb 5th), and Missouri (Feb 5th), Obama has a chance to win both states, but probably only if Edwards stays in the campaign and stays in double-digits. Obama winning Kansas (Feb 5th) is probably also dependent on Edwards staying in the campaign. Further, Obama's delegate totals in all of these states will be improved by Edwards staying in the campaign. Further, while his winning or losing in Arkansas, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and Tennessee is not dependent on Edwards staying in the campaign, Obama's delegate totals from these states will probably be better with Edwards in the campaign than with Edwards out of the campaign. In every case, Edwards will take a larger bite out of Clinton's advantage among white voters than he will from Obama's advantage among African-American voters.

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