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January 26, 2008

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Two interesting things:

(1) CNN's exit polling:

"Roughly 6 in 10 South Carolina Democratic primary voters said Bill Clinton's campaigning was important in how they ultimately decided to vote, and of those voters, 48 percent went for Barack Obama while only 37 percent went for Hillary Clinton. Fourteen percent of those voters voted for John Edwards."

That means: Bill Clinton's campaigning turned off nearly 2/3 of the people it influenced. And the difference between the number of people it turned off and those it brought to Clinton was something like 15% of voters. That's a lot of votes.

Also: check out this video at TPM, which Josh Marshall aptly describes as "Bill Clinton this afternoon discounting Barack Obama's expected victory in South Carolina by explaining that Jesse Jackson won the state twice ... "

Congratulations to your guy! Here's the racial breakdown from the exit polls.

African-Americans
Obama 81%
Clinton 17%
Edwards 1%

Whites
Edwards 39%
Clinton 36%
Obama 24%

Edwards' advantages elsewhere probably won't be as strong as in his native South Carolina, but these numbers show how it helps Obama to have a local white guy distracting potential Clinton voters in Southern primaries. With Edwards reducing Clinton's share of the white vote, Obama can win off of massive black turnout.

This in partly response to Publius' 'Edwards should drop out and endorse Obama' post from before. To the Obama campaign, Edwards is probably worth more alive than dead.

With only 20% precincts reported yet, it's not worth posting numbers yet, but here it says:

[...] While Mr. Obama’s voters tended to be young, Democratic, independent and black, Mrs. Clinton’s support came from white women, older voters and those who said experience was the most important quality in a candidate, according to an exit poll conducted throughout the state by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for the National Election Pool.

Mr. Edwards and Mrs. Clinton split the white vote evenly, with 38 percent of white voters supporting each candidate, while 24 percent voted for Mr. Obama, according to the exit poll.

A plurality of white women voted for Mrs. Clinton while a plurality of white men supported Mr. Edwards. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama split the balance of the white male vote equally.

It seems also worth noting that McCain crushed Romney by 2-1, with Huckabee a reasonably close second (by figures so far, which may change dramatically).

I've been leaning towards the view that ultimately Romney will pull it out by virtue of his ability to fund his campaign, and that the McCain hatred in the Republican Party will be stronger than the anti-Mormon vote and the doubts about Romney, but I have to say that my confidence in that leaning is very low.

It does seem, to state the utterly obvious, that whomever the Republicans nominate, a large chunk of Republicans won't be happy.

This is a complete blowout.

Clinton won a single county. Edwards 2.

Looks like Obama will get all the delegates.

Looks like turnout is nearly DOUBLE this year that it was 4 years ago.

Okay, at 60 percent of returns, Obama is up by twenty-seven percent. I can't remember the last time I saw such a decisive hammering in a Democratic primary this early.

Nothing decided, of course, but... daaaamn.

neil - good point. sounds very plausible to me

Just listening to Hillary talk from Nashville. The supporters she names - Jane Eskind, Ned McWhirter - are really old-time Democrats. Eskind, IIRC, ran against Howard Baker for the Senate. Guess how that turned out.

Wonder who Harold Ford and Phil Bredesen are supporting.

The media tide on CNN and MSNBC has turned decisively against HRC.

(1) The moves in Florida are being framed as dirty tricks, as opportunism, as disenfranchisement, and as a willingness to break up the party for personal benefit. Clintons are playing into this by mentioning Florida as often as possible.

(2) The Republicans around (Bennett, et al.) concede that Obama would be the much tougher candidate to run against (while admitting that they just like him more).

(3) WJC's comparison of Obama to Jessie Jackson is being glossed as an effort to diminish and racialize the results.

(4) Have heard the words 'arrogant' and 'liar' used to describe the Clintons from mouths that would not ordinarily be considered partisan shills.

(5) Bill's picture is being shown more often on screen than Hillary's. Team Hillary keeps saying that they love Bill's role, but does it really do them good if he keeps upstaging her?

So now it's:

Barack Obama 295,091 55.4%
Hillary Rodham Clinton 141,128 26.5
John Edwards 93,552 17.6
Bill Richardson 725 0.1
Joseph R. Biden Jr. 693 0.1
Dennis J. Kucinich 551 0.1
Christopher J. Dodd 247 0.0
Mike Gravel 240 0.0
99% reporting | Updated 10:49 PM ET

Press coverage isn't surprising. One of their more prominent & less mentioned biases is the "we love & suck up to a winner" bias. It's a little bit gross even when it helps my candidate, but this was a very impressive win on many levels.

Another touch:

[...] Mrs. Clinton’s advisers were minimizing the importance of South Carolina even before polls closed, saying the primaries in Florida on Tuesday and in the swath of states on Feb. 5 were more important.
Italics mine.

Wow. Just, wow. Obama's support and organization is not what I thought.

someotherdude: don't forget that he used to be, well, an organizer. And, by all accounts, a very good one.

Interesting. When I wrote my piece on the SC and Nevada ground games, SC had of course not yet happened, and so it was an open question whether Obama's attempt to go around the usual Democratic leadership, and also the business of paying pastors to get out he vote, would actually work.

Now we know

"South Carolina political veterans said Obama's ground organization was one of the best they had seen, consisting of 9,000 volunteers and nearly 150 voting-day staging areas. His operation overlooked no potential source of votes.

Most significantly, Obama virtually swept the African American vote despite rejecting typical tactics deployed in the South; aides said they hadn't paid "street money" to local leaders and community organizers to get people to the polls. Obama campaign officials had bragged about bucking this long-entrenched system, but they weren't certain until Saturday whether it would work."

This is actually pretty significant for future races, I think, and, of course, for clean politics in SC generally.

wow. an impressive win!

i always worry when the world gives me hope.

Hmm: apparently, Ted Kennedy is going to endorse Obama. I will be interested to see what effect that has. Though I suspect that in MA, it will matter.

This is how you administer an appropriate stiletto:

[...] In response to Bill Clinton’s comments comparing Obama’s South Carolina win to those of Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, Obama suggested Bill Clinton’s "frame of reference" and racial politics may be outdated.

"His frame of reference was the Jesse Jackson races. That's when, you know, he was active and involved and watching what was going to take place in South Carolina.

You know. Back in the old days. Of the 20th century.

A long. Long. Time. Ago.

Parallel tracks.

:-)

Obama's organization has got to be the most significant story of his political season. I mean, he's built this parallel system right along beside the Democratic Party establishment that is keeping toe to toe with them in contributions and in its election day ground game, while competing for the very same demographic of votes. That's just amazing. It's quite an accomplishment, and it speaks incredibly well for his organizational abilities. Not to mention the fact this is exactly what the Democratic Party itself needs to broaden its base and appeal.

And yet, and yet, not much a mention of this in the MSM. Just Bill's big face and a tit-for-tat about Ronald Reagan.

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