THE BLOG
01/18/2008 05:00 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Where Will the Chips Fall in Nevada?

The Nevada race has more clearly defined the fight-styles of Senators Clinton and Obama. The failed lawsuit filed by the teachers union to keep caucuses out of the reach of the Obama-endorsing Culinary union illustrated that Obama is capable of playing on the same tactical field as Clinton. Getting their endorsement in the first place shows that Obama has network and organization. Winning the lawsuit made them a huge voting bloc.

Another example: the democratic candidates debate in Nevada earlier this week. Obama was careful to reach out to hispanic voters, pulling them to see the shared concerns of all minority voters. Then, boom, an ad by UNITE-HERE running on Spanish radio saying, " "Hillary Clinton does not respect our people. Hillary Clinton supporters want to prevent people from voting in their workplace on Saturday. This is unforgivable. Hillary Clinton is shameless."

This yielded a defensive response from the Clinton camp: "In Iowa, Obama and his campaign went out of his way to attack labor unions for independently promoting other candidates. But in Nevada, he's looking the other way as they falsely attack his opponents."

Obama is uncomfortable and awkward discussing tactics in public, but has an operation that is very adept at tactical maneuvers. They have managed to turn the game around again, taking Clinton, who was on offense after New Hampshire, and putting her on defense prior to Nevada's caucuses.

Having re-learned to take polls with a major grain of salt (but not tequila), everyone is cautious in predicting Nevada's outcome. And to look closely at, say, the Las Vegas Review-Journal poll conducted 1/14-16, which has Clinton up by 9, half the survey was taken before the democratic candidates debate and half afterwards. On the Democratic side, the poll, by Mason-Dixon, surveyed 500 likely democratic voters. But with a margin of error for each +/- 5%, for all we really know Clinton is at 36% and Obama is at 37%. Can't wait for those late-night results.