Pennsylvania: The Obama Referendum

Pundit says today's vote is on how voters perceive the candidate
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 22, 2008 5:41 AM CDT
Barack Obama addresses the crowd at a campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Monday, April 21, 2008.    (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – As Pennsylvanians go to the polls on what could be the decisive day of the Democratic primary, one columnist sees today's vote not as a race between two candidates, but a referendum on one. Barack Obama has appeared as both populist and elitist, crusader and policy wonk, black and post-racial. Which Obama voters choose to see today will define his fate, writes EJ Dionne in the Washington Post.

For Dionne, how voters perceive Obama—as agent of change or dull law professor, as cool JFK or disconnected Adlai—is the central question in today's vote and the harbinger of whether Obama will end up in the White House. More than a race between him and Hillary Clinton, today's poll is about one complex, multifaceted man, and which facets voters choose to see.