As you may remember, the Arkansas presidential primary is today, and President Obama is running on the Democratic half of the ledger against someone named John Wolfe, a lawyer from Tennessee.
And as you may remember, someone named John Wolfe might win.
In a local poll taken May 10 gave Obama 45 percent to Wolfe’s 38 percent, with 17 percent undecided.
Here’s the problem for Obama.
The poll queried Democrats. Only natural. But Arkansas is AN OPEN PRIMARY, meaning potentially thousands of Republicans with mischief on their minds can cross over and express their solidarity with Mr. Wolfe. All, of course, because of the chance to stick it to Mr. Obama.
So the poll probably understate’s Wolf’s support. What’s more, since the survey was taken, Wolfe has gained significant notoriety, and by now has some name recognition to go with his 38 percent.
Democrats have vowed not to give Wolfe any delegates if he wins, which hardly seems fair. So he may get some sympathy votes for being quashed by The Machine.
Losing a primary would be bad news for Obama, even in conservative Arkansas. It suggests a weakened candidate. And weakness is a bad selling point for politicians.
Also keep an eye on today’s Kentucky primary, where Obama is competing against someone named “uncommitted.” A large tally of voters marking “uncommitted” on their ballots in Kentucky would magnify a poor showing for Obama in Arkansas.
Add all that to the scare he already got in West Virginia, where a Texas prison inmate picked up 40 percent of the primary vote, and you’ve got a president heading from weak to something far worse: A little ridiculous.