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Mississippi primary unlikely to change pattern of Democratic race
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07:54, March 12, 2008

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· U.S. Presidential Election 2008
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Democratic Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Barack Obama of Illinois remain locked in a neck-and-neck race for their party's nomination as the contest goes to Mississippi Tuesday.

At stake are the state's 33 delegates, which will be apportioned according to each candidate's share of the vote, and seven "super delegates."

Obama is expected to win the primary, given the demographic factors favorable to him.

African-Americans account for 36 percent of Mississippi's population, higher than any other state, and blacks constitute more than half of the Democratic electorate.

Obama has swept states with large African-American electorates so far and has been leading by between 6 and 24 percentage points in polls since last week.

If everything turns out to be as expected, the senator from Illinois will collect a majority of the 33 delegates at stake, while Clinton will also garner a share because the delegate allocation will be proportional, not winner takes all.

As a result, the pattern of the Democratic race will not change,with neither candidate able to mount a decisive surge from week toweek.

Obama had 1,553 delegates to Clinton's 1,438 as of Monday, according to CNN.

It will take 2,025 to win the nomination.

CAMPAIGNING HARD IN MISSISSIPPI

With Clinton's camp saying she has little chance in Mississippi, her campaigning there focused largely on national issues.

She aired both TV and radio ads Monday and has set up a 300-person steering committee in the state.

Over the weekend, the former first lady spent two full days campaigning there as have her husband, former President Bill Clinton, and daughter Chelsea -- though her husband tried to play down expectations with reporters in Mississippi.

"We got started late," he said. "We started behind organizationally."

For his part, Obama took nothing for granted and spent Monday campaigning in Jackson, Greenville and Columbus, and other key cities in Mississippi.

He has seven offices statewide and is running two TV ads plus radio ones.

The first-term senator from Illinois is hoping to capitalize on his enormous popularity among African-American voters and young people.

He won the Wyoming caucuses last Saturday, gaining seven delegates to Clinton's five.

Earlier, he easily won southern primaries in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Virginia.

Clinton's advisers are playing down the importance of Mississippi and are focusing on Pennsylvania, which holds its primary on April 22 and where she leads.

The state will award 188 delegates.

NOMINATION TO BE DECIDED BY "SUPERDELEGATES"

At present, neither of the two Democratic contender looks likely to get a nominating majority from pledged delegates who are chosen in primaries and caucuses.

This means the nomination is likely to be decided by about 800 "super delegates," mostly elected officials, party leaders and activists, and quite possibly by a "re-vote" of Democrats in Florida and Michigan with a combined total of 313 delegates.

Earlier primaries in those two states did not count toward awarding delegates because the contests were held too early, violating party rules.


Source: Xinhua



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