Steve and Cokie Roberts make an argument for Hillary Clinton:

Democrats seem intent on nominating Barack Obama, in the face of mounting evidence that Hillary Clinton would be the stronger candidate against John McCain in November. And they only have themselves to blame.

What ‘mounting evidence’, you ask? Let’s look at Obama vs. Clinton by region.

They are both polling ahead of McCain in every state in New England except New Hampshire. Obama is running stronger in Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont, while Clinton is running stronger in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In New Hampshire they are effectively tied. There’s no evidence that Clinton is stronger in New England. How about the Mid-Atlantic (Acela) states?

Obama is polling stronger in New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware. Clinton is stronger in her home state of New York. Obama is stronger in the Mid-Atlantic. So, how about the South Coast? Obama is stronger in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Clinton is stronger in Florida. Georgia is effectively tied. Obama puts Virginia and North Carolina in play, while Clinton does not. Clinton is running much stronger in Florida. It’s a wash.

So, how does Clinton do in the Rust Belt? She polls better in Pennsylvania and Ohio, but loses Michigan to McCain. Obama polls better in Indiana and beats McCain in Michigan. Again, it’s a wash, although Clinton’s advantage in Ohio is important, her weakness in Michigan is a major concern. So, what about the Northcentral region?

Obama polls better in Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. In fact, Clinton loses (badly) to McCain in Iowa and Wisconsin. Obama is clearly stronger in his home region. How about in the Prairie region?

Obama polls stronger in Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. It’s not even a contest. He also polls better in the Big Sky and Pacific states, including California.

So, where is Hillary stronger? Not in the Southwest, where Obama polls stronger in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Hillary’s strength comes in one area: the Highlands, or Greater Appalachia. She runs stronger in Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, and West Virginia. That’s it. That’s your mounting evidence. Looking at current polling, here are the states that Clinton is winning and Obama is losing: Arkansas (6), West Virginia (5), Florida (27), and Ohio (20) totaling 58 electoral college votes. Here are the states that Obama is winning and Clinton is losing: Michigan (17), Wisconsin (10), Iowa (7), Colorado (9), and Nevada (5), totaling 48 electoral votes.

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