The Narrow Path
Hillary's chances are slim, though all sorts of pundits who should know better claim it's over. Sure, she won't catch up on pledged delegates, but that's not the point. Her argument is it'll be close enough that the superdelegates will realize they must decide, and decide for her. (Just convincing the superdelegates from states she won to vote for her might be enough.)
It'll be hard for them to turn away from Obama in large numbers, but if she damages him enough before the convention, it's certainly possible. And I don't mean in reputation, I mean at the polls.
Look at Pennsylvania. It's obviously a must-win for Hillary, but, short of disaster, she will win. What counts is by how much. The polls range from an approximately 10% to 25% lead. If she wins by 10% or less, that's bad news--not beating expectations, and not catching up fast enough. But if she wins by 15%, is that enough? It's doubtful she can win by much more.
The 15% victory would give her, if the turnout is the same as it was in Ohio, a net gain of about 350,000 votes. This would at least put her within reach in the popular vote.
A word about the popular vote. There's no easy way to measure it. The number now is officially about a 700,000 vote lead for Obama. But if you include the unofficial popular vote from Iowa, Nevada, Washington and Maine, Obama has an 810,000 lead. On the other hand, if you throw in Florida--a crucial state, after all, where both were on the ballot--Hillary picks up about 300,000 net. Then there's Michigan, which had Hillary but not Obama on the ballot, where she would pick up another 300,000 or so. While pledged delegates are based on officially recognized votes, superdelegates are able to take into consideration anything, and you'd think they'd want to consider any place that participates in the general election.
Now let's get a little wild and give Hillary a 20% victory Pennsylvania. Once again depending on turnout, this could give her a net pick-up just south of a half million votes. And if Pennsylvania goes nuts and gives her a 25% win, she could gain more than 600,000. Anywhere in the 20%+ range would be such a knockout that Hillary's got a decent argument she's ahead in the popular vote, and makes Obama look like a pretty weak candidate.
Soon after Pennsylvania is Indiana, which is a decent state for Hillary, and North Carolina, which fits Obama's profile. If she can hurt him in Pennsylvania badly enough, North Carolina is not out of reach. Now imagine if she won that state. Suddenly, she's on a streak and the post-Wright Obama looks like a bad bet. Would the superdelegates still go to him?
Hillary's path is tricky, but it's still a lot easier than the path McCain had before him just a few months ago.