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LAist Political Notebook: More Primaries on the Way

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The election trail continues to heat up for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, as four looming primaries in the next couple of weeks could go a long way toward deciding the nominee. On Tuesday, voters in Wisconsin and Hawaii will go to the polls and on March 4, Texans and Ohio-ans will do the same. How are things shaping up?
On Saturday, the Houston Chronicle endorsed Barack Obama. In their editorial praising the Illinois Senator, the paper said that Obama "is best-qualified by life experience, skill and temperament to be the standard bearer for his party. In a conference call, Obama told the Chronicle editorial board that 'more than any other candidate, I can bridge some of the partisan as well as racial and religious divides that have developed in this country that prevent us from getting things done.'"

This follows a wave of endorsements for Obama in the Lone Star state, including Austin's Mayor, State Senator Kirk Watson, Rep. Mark Strama, Councilwoman Pat Cole, Councilman Mike Martinez, Jim Hightower, the Austin Chronicle and the Austin American Statesman, according to Texans for Obama.

But will that have any effect?

Though each candidate courts the editorial board in major cities, the effectiveness of newspaper endorsements is dubious at best. Before the Feb. 5 California Primary, the largest English and Spanish daily rags in Los Angeles backed Obama with lofty praise.

As we all found out days later, the papers' opinions contravened voters decisions. Hillary Clinton took more than half the votes in California and easily carried the Latino population in Los Angeles and the state.

The polls in Texas right now show Clinton (who has some key Texas endorsements of her own) with anywhere from a moderateto a sizeable lead, though Obama might be inching closer.

Update A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Monday shows that the race in Texas between Obama and Clinton is now virtually tied. Clinton is up 50% to Obama's 48%, but there is a sampling error of +/- 4, meaning Obama could actually be ahead of his Democratic rival.

Polls suggest people favor the idea of change over experience, but that might be moot if Clinton continues to enjoy support from Latinos, which accounts for more than 35% of the Texas population.

Or that support could evaporate. In the so called Potomac Primaries last week, Obama swept to victory in D.C., Virginia and Maryland with a wide range support among many ethnicities, including Latinos and Blacks. He carried the Virginia Latino population by nearly 10% over Clinton and continued to garner wide-ranging support from the black population, which just happens to be the second biggest ethnic group in Texas. Trying to short up Latino support in Texas, Obama recently released a Spanish language ad in Texas:

Rough translation: Vote for me!