On a South Carolina Saturday Barack Obama proved he can rally African-American Democrats to his cause in a very decisive way, but his performance among the remaining voting demographics showed that he still has an uphill battle ahead of him in order to win the nomination.
With Clinton focused squarely on New York, New Jersey, Arkansas, and California, and polling strongly with big leads in those states which together comprise 44% of the Super Tuesday delegates, Obama has an long road ahead of him to win the nomination, but he's not without a plan.
Obama, however, is taking a more piecemeal approach. Because votes in most Democratic contests are awarded proportionally, he will need to make precision strikes within states where Clinton is strong. Cities with many blacks, like New York, and liberal enclaves, like the San Francisco Bay Area, are on his list of targets, as are independents in New Jersey and California.
He is looking for a rout in his delegate-rich home state of Illinois. But he is also courting voters in six states caucusing on Feb. 5 - Kansas, Minnesota, Colorado, Alaska, North Dakota, and Idaho - where an aggressive turnout drive could reprise his success in Iowa.
Those smaller states listed are traditionally 'red' and Obama can gain ground through an appeal that crosses ideological boundaries, but he'll still need to reach back and pick up those demographics with which he scored well in Iowa, chipping away at Clinton's support in the process. Targeting specific areas, and picking up delegates one at a time.
[...] experts say Obama's fortunes on Feb. 5 will hinge on the groups of voters responsible for his only other win, in Iowa: independents, college students, and well-educated and affluent whites.
The key to Obama winning small, in specifically targeted areas -- whether they are liberal enclaves in Northern California or traditional-values heartland towns on the plains of Kansas -- may lie in his grassroot support "get out the vote" efforts at the neighborhood level in those enclaves.
He has demonstrated a clear ability to fire up and inspire that is far more effective than Clinton, and that may well become the key to his win going forward.
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