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Super Duper Shrove Tuesday - a diary

19:00 I return home and turn on C4 News. They have Obama ahead in California. Doesn't seem right to me. All those Hispanics - are they really gonna pump for him?

19:10 I mix 100g of flour with two eggs, a pinch of salt, 250ml of milk and a little butter. I love pancakes, but not the American kind.

19:20 Some UK politics has come on the TV - it all seems so mundane. I wonder where the darling wife is? I want to get started on those pancakes.

19:40 I have some soup to line the stomach. So Huckabee takes West Virginia off Romney, but only after McCain tells his people to back the former Arkansas governor. Perhaps he did this as a favour to his prospective running mate? Huckabee's conservatism would certainly balance McCain's appeal to independents.

21:00 Yum, those pancakes were good, especially with lemon and sugar.

21:30 Huckabee looks like Kevin Spacey if you ask me.

21:40 The Black Eyed Peas song "Yes we Can" is pretty catchy. Good use of Obama's voice.

21:50 All the pundits are suggesting that the Democratic race will not be decided tonight. I am thinking two things. Firstly, surely Clinton will claim victory if she takes New Jersey, New York and California, no matter what the delgate count is. And secondly, if it is the case that nothing will be decided, why am I staying up for this?

22:30 Obama is on such strong ground when he is bold. His opposition to war in Iraq, for example, is arguably his biggest selling point. He can legitimately draw a clear line in the sand against McCain or any Republican that he runs against. Why, oh, why then, is he so timid on other issues, notably healthcare? As Paul Krugman write in The New York Times, his healthcare plan would cost almost as much as Clinton's yet only cover half as many Americans.

23:03 The Washington Post has got its act together for this election. Its daily podcast is better and more informative than anything the New York Times can muster, and its 2008 election website is much easier to navigate. The live coverage on this site is also pretty good.

23:28 All the networks appear to be using the word "democracy". Then they follow this up by saying how complicated the Democratic race is. If the primary process was truly democratic, it would not be complicated - the candidate with the most votes would become the party's nominee. Instead, we have a ridiculous situation where some delegates are awarded on the basis of who has won the popular vote in the state while others are awarded on how many congressional districts a candidate has won. And then there are super delegates. Confused yet?

23:33 I'm plumping for some late-night cereal.

Midnight: Well, Georgia has been called for Obama - hardly a surprise.

00:30 Ted Harris, who knows a lot about losing having worked on both the Gore and Kerry campaigns, lends his two dollars worth on the Washington Post's live webcast. If McCain is betting on winning independent voters come November, he hardly wants a Democratic candidate who will poach them. Barack Obama could do just that. If those independents went missing, the Senator from Arazona would have to rely on the Republican Base. This is unlikely, if the comments of pro-life campaigner James Dobson are anything to go by. Despite McCain's staunch opposition to abortion, conservatives are less than enthusiastic by his candidacy.

00:42 An interesting statistic: according to the BBC 57% of voters in Democratic voters tonight are women. Logic suggests that this will help Clinton, but there is a major generational gap that needs to be taken into account. It appears that younger women prefer Obama. Thus far in the primary races, those on lower incomes have gone for Clinton, while those on higher incomes have opted for the Senator from Ilinois. Could it be that younger, college-going types are wooed more by visionary speeches of what could be, while the blue-collar workers prefer to be told how it is and what can be done about it?

00:57 Much has been made of Obama's use of the Internet to raise money. Perhaps his tapping into this medium has at the same time allowed him to connect with the voters mentioned above. If he has found a way of improving turnout amongst younger voters, imagine the imapact not just on his chances but on policy.

01:28 The most interesting exit poll so far is Huckabee's victory in Alabama - no one saw that coming. If he can win another state in the South then he'll seem even more appealing as a running mate.

01:41 It is still early days but McCain has so far only won northern states - he'll need a big victory in the South.

2:00 Clinton looks like she could be heading for a good night - New Jersey, Missouri and New Jersey all look good for her, as does Massachusetts. Obama has yet to land a significant punch. It's the economy, stupid.

2:26 The delegate count is still neck and neck between Obama and Clinton, so none the wiser. Yet I'm glad I stayed up.

A good night for Democrats

End the caucus