Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hangover Wednesday

Let me see if I can add anything to the spin and debate over what happened on Super Tuesday. Here's what I took away:

Latino Factor: Latino voters make up 30% of the Democratic electorate in California. They favored Senator Clinton by a two to one margin. They favored Senator McCain by about the same margin.

It's about the delegates:
No one can spin the fact that the largest prizes, namely New York and California, went to Senators Clinton and McCain. Neither state is a "winner takes all" state for the Democrats, so Senator Obama will siphon some delegates there. On the Republican side, they are both winner takes all. Senator Clinton will leave Super Tuesday with about a 90 delegate lead over Senator Obama, roughly 800 to 710. Senator McCain holds more than a 2 to 1 margin over Governor Romney and more than 3 to 1 over Governor Huckabee. He is around half-way to the Republican nomination.

Home states: Senator Clinton won New York by a 17 point margin    while Senator Obama won Illinois by a 31 point margin. Senator Clinton won in Arkansas by 42 points while Senator Obama won in Kansas by 48 points. Senator McCain won in Arizona by 13 points. Governor Romney won in Massachusetts by 10 points. Governor Huckabee won in Arkansas by 40 points.

Early Voting: Over 200,000 voters in Arizona and over 2,000,000 voters in California cast their votes prior to Super Tuesday. This clearly favored Senators Clinton and McCain. Senator Obama managed to close the gap to around 10 points in each state, much closer than the polling from the past few weeks indicated. Early voting and Latino turn out sealed Mitt Romney's fate in California and placed his candidacy on life support.

With Senator Edwards no longer in the race, Senator Obama's numbers among white voters in Georgia shot up to over 40% - double what he received in South Carolina.

Show Me: As Missouri goes, so goes the nomination. The winner of the Missouri primary has gone on to win the nomination every year since 1960. While Senator Obama won in Missouri, the margin was around 5000, we won only in the urban areas and the delegate count will likely be split with Senator Clinton. Senator McCain won in Missouri by slightly less than 9000 votes. I'll still be interested to see if that trend continues.

McCaskill Factor: Senator McCaskill of Missouri is a staunch supporter of Senator Obama. She is very concerned about Senator Clinton's ability to energize the conservative base. Missouri was one of the few states where Senator Obama won the female vote (49-48).

Beyond the base: Governor Huckabee has done well where evangelicals reside: generally the South. Governor Romney has done well in states where he lived or has ties: Massachusetts, Nevada, and Utah. Senator McCain is pretty much winning everywhere else (mainly where Republicans traditionally do well) despite an onslaught of attacks from the conservative "media" (and I use the term loosely) and others who question his true conservative values. Even though Senator McCain is the frontrunner and the likely nominee, it remains to be seen if he can win in November where conservatives normally do not perform well.

Senator Clinton has done well where Democrats generally perform well (New York, California, Massachusetts). She did win in some other states (Arizona, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and New Jersey). Senator Obama is winning in states where African American and youth turnout has been high (South Carolina, Georgia). He has also won in non-traditional places where his "base" did not carry the day (Colorado, Missouri). The question is, can Senator Clinton win in November outside of tradition Democratic states? Will the Obama voters turn out for Clinton or turn their nose up?

Where to Now: Democrats in Louisiana, Nebraska, Washington and the Virgin Islands vote Saturday (2/9) and in Maine on Sunday (2/10). Republicans in Louisiana, Kansas and Washington Vote Saturday. Both parties hold primaries in Maryland, DC and Virginia next Tuesday (2/12). The next big date for delegate count is Tuesday March 4th, when Ohioans and Texans go to the polls.

Predictions: As soon as Senator McCain receives the nomination, the Republicans will rally around him like the prodigal son. Limbaugh and Hannity will do the biggest 180 you've ever seen and act as if January/February never happened.

If the leading candidates (Clinton and McCain) win their respective parties' nominations, the 2008 election will be determined in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Virginia. Every other state will fall exactly like they did in the past two elections. The electorate will leave election day every bit as polarized as they did in 2000 and 2004.


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