AS expected, Tuesday's voting in half of the States in America did no more than confirm that John McCain is the Republican front-runner and that Clinton and Obama have a long fight in front of them for the Democratic nomination.

Among many twists and turns across the country the outcome of the Democratic contest in Massachusetts was surely the most interesting and, perhaps, indicative. One week ago that state's Democratic political establishment turned their back on Hillary Clinton and endorsed Barack Obama; the veteran senior senator Edward Kennedy very publicly led the pack, to be followed by the junior senator John Kerry (who fought George W Bush four years ago), and other members of the Kennedy family followed suit. But despite their undoubted influence in Massachusetts, on Tuesday Clinton won comfortably. Hillary Clinton now has 854 committed delegates to the Democrat's nominating convention in Denver in the summer while Barack Obama has 765; to win the nomination as presidential candidate in November requires 2'025 votes. It is therefore quite likely that the delegates will assemble in Denver with the outcome still undecided. More immediately, there is voting in Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington State this coming weekend with particularly important contests to follow next Tuesday in Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC. I have often thought that the quality a politician needs above all others is stamina and that certainly seems to be true in America this year.