The only reason would be to avoid the humiliation of getting not just beat but stomped. And, I guess, to spare Billy Jeff the ordeal of having his crowds respond like audiences at a Fat Elvis concert while Obama’s getting the Beatles treatment.

Anyway, with $100 million raised in funds and New York among the states in play on February 5, it’s not bloody likely. So take your pick. This story is a ploy planted by…

(a) …the Clinton campaign, to give Edwards false hope of her exiting early and thereby encourage him to stay in the race until Super Tuesday so that he can continue to draw votes from Obama.

(b) …the Clinton campaign, to boost turnout among her supporters in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada by raising the stakes of defeat.

(c) …one of the other campaigns, to depress turnout in those states by suggesting that her campaign’s already terminal and they know it.

The Clinton true believers, god love ’em, are putting on a brave face even as the new Marist poll contemplates the outside chance of a disastrous third-place finish tomorrow. I don’t mind seeing her lose, but I’ll cop to a very dark secret: Thanks partly to my hunch that we’d have an easier time with her than Obama in the election and/or as president, partly to my impatience with the vapid, messianic “change” crap Obama’s peddling, and partly to my instinctive sympathy as a beta male for anyone who’s been humiliated, I … kind of feel a little sorry for her. Kind of. A little. Oh, the shame.

Update: Commenter DrW puts it in perspective.