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Barnes: States to Watch Today

7:41 AM, Feb 5, 2008 • By FRED BARNES
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You don't have to pay attention to every state on Super Tuesday. Some are more important than others. So concentrate on those and you'll get a pretty good understanding of what the results mean for the presidential races in both parties.

On the Democratic side, three states stand out in my mind: New Jersey, Missouri, and California. America is a nation of suburbs and New Jersey is a state of suburbs. That's reason enough to pay attention to it. Missouri is a microcosm of America, with big cities, suburbs and lots of rural areas. It's a bellwether state. And California is, well, California. It's important because it's big. If Barack Obama wins all three of these states, he becomes the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. If he wins two of three, he's still in good shape. Winning one would be painful for his campaign. Losing all three - that would be Hillary Clinton's dream come true.

On the Republican side, John McCain should win a majority of the states and the delegates. But he may do more, namely put together a delegate blowout by beating Mitt Romney in the winner-take-all states. That means New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut in the East, plus Missouri and four other states. McCain could pile up such a large lead in delegates that it would sharply reduce Romney's chances of overtaking him. So on the Republican side, the delegate count is the name of the game.