Super Tuesday changes surprisingly little.

After a night that brought the expected, the unexpected, the suspected and more, all that we can say today is that the post-Super Tuesday picture is scarcely any clearer than that which saw us to bed on Average Monday. John McCain reaffirmed his lead in the Republican race, while Barack Obama continued to apply pressure on Hillary Clinton. Clinton nonetheless maintained a lead in the race for the Democrat nomination, and buttressed her lead with impressive victories in the delegate-rich hunting grounds of California and her de facto home state, New York. No candidate has pulled out of the race as a result of Tuesday’s voting.

While last night had no winners or losers per se, it did see Mike Huckabee enjoy much better results than were expected, while Mitt Romney performed disappointingly. Though Romney took Utah (an expected result given his Mormon faith) and Massachussetts, the state he once governed, he failed to pick up any surprise wins, and watched while the Chuck Norris-backed underdog Huckabee posted impressive victories across the South, giving him a mandate to stay in the race. This last fact is bad news for Romney, who seems to be losing votes to fellow social conservative Huckabee. This in itself has led to rumours that a deal has been struck between McCain and Huckabee to marginalise Romney, who is much loathed by both candidates. Once the nomination has been delivered to McCain, it is mooted that he will pick Huckabee as his running mate. While the Southern Baptist’s own policies may be a turn-off to America at large, he does carry a certain folksy charm that would complement McCain’s consensus-building (as long as Huckabee stays on message and doesn’t do or say anything silly.

As for the Clinton-Obama race for the Democrat nomination, Hillary retains the box seat. Publicly, the Obama campaign has declared itself happy with last night’s results, but there must be some disappointment that Clinton snagged the two big prizes of the night. In the all-important delegate count, Hillary currently leads by a round 100, but neither candidate is anywhere near the finishing post. Contests a week hence in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC will be keenly awaited as the pendulum continues to swing, but the next huge contest will be almost a month from now when Ohio and Texas make their choices.

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