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February 05, 2008

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this can't be right

"In the first win of what is expected to be a long night, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., defeated Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in Georgia, a key Southern state, winning 88 percent support to Clinton's 11 percent, according to preliminary exit poll results"

Is that a typo? He obviously won decisively but that sounds ludicrous to me.

this can't be right

"In the first win of what is expected to be a long night, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., defeated Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., in Georgia, a key Southern state, winning 88 percent support to Clinton's 11 percent, according to preliminary exit poll results"

Is that a typo? He obviously won decisively but that sounds ludicrous to me.

Katherine: CNN gives Obama a 2-1 lead. Pollster.com has exit polls showing him winning 64.4%-32.3%. Greg Sargent says:

"Some interesting numbers that lend comfort to Obama: Obama won 86% of the African American vote, and in addition to that, he captured 43% of the white vote, according to MSNBC."

So I'm guessing that yes, it's a typo. Either that or ABC has outlier exit polls.

I mean, a 2-1 lead is nothing to be sneezed at. But an 8-1 lead???? I'm not sure that's possible, outside of dictatorships.

Hmm. Brokered Convention?

That would leave a mark.

California polls do not close at 11:00. They close at 8:00.

. . . Damn East Coast bias. . .

collin: oops. I thought I had said 'eastern time', but apparently not. Will update. Thanks.

So what's really at stake here other than "momentum" which can vanish pretty quickly? No one really expects the delegate counts to swing wildly to one side or the other, so isn't the real question going to be which side spins their victories the best?

MA called for Clinton. I'm in a funk. I cannot bear to watch. I really want this (for O and for the country), very badly.

NJ is going Clinton. Bummer.

Big tornados in Tennessee.

Ara, look at all the states, not just the 3 biggies. Obama's not doing bad at all. I truly wasn't expecting him to get CT. DE, KS, MN, AL- not bad for someone who doesn't have the DNC in their pocket.

CNN just called Utah for Romney. This needs a joke to be made about it.

ND- has anyone ever been to ND? It has an AF base and lots of very, very pale (blue), conservative people. *That* should prove he doesn't have any trouble getting the caucasian vote. Hopefully it'll quiet a few people in my office who swear America's not ready for a black president.

Al Giordano thinks the big story tonight is small states voting for Obama.

What is going on with the spreads here? I can't figure out what the results mean for the delegate count, but the thing that really jumps out at me is that, everywhere that's reported except CT and DE, the spread as roughly 15-30 points, one way or the other. I thought we'd have a lot of 47-53 contests, and it's just not happening that way.

Big tornados in Tennessee.

I think the tornadoes are in the Memphis area, which would I would expect to be an Obama stronghold. It has a lot of Democratic voters (Kerry carried Shelby County, [Memphis] 58-42) and unlike Nashville (Kerry 55-45) it has a large black population.

lots of very, very pale, conservative people

Speaking of which, Obama is winning 3 to 1 in Idaho. Idaho?

There are some crazy results!

As of 8 pacific time Obama 73% in Kansas with 62% reporting!

Obama wins CT and DE?

Obama 75% in Idaho???

When does someone win with 70+% when opposed?

When does someone win with 70+% when opposed?

When it's a red state and the opponent is Hillary Clinton.

I think these results are making it very, very clear why nominating Clinton would be a colossal mistake - perhaps the only way the Democrats could fumble away the Presidency this year.

As much as I love Obama, I'm leaning towards Xeynon's interpretation. Those margins are really high...

I'm back. I'm now the elected "Precinct Leader" of Precinct 99 (I'm in charge of getting out the vote?, along with the other Precinct Leader; it wasn't something I was planning to volunteer for, but no one else volunteered, so...), and one of two alternate delegates of Precinct 99 to both the County Democratic Convention (will elect delegates to the State Democratic Convention to vote for delegates to the National Convention -- traveling all the way to Denver -- to vote for the Presidential nominee, and the County Democratic Assembly, which will elect delegates to the State Democratic Assembly to nominate all the nominees for state and other offices.

There were over 2000 people at the caucus; the last few times, it's been ~200, they said.

It was pretty disorganized, and I was very unimpressed with that, but since the overwhelming majority were for Obama, it didn't really matter.

Our precinct had four delegate and four alternate slots for going on to the County convention, and Clinton only got one of those votes by dint of just making the minimal cut-off. One less person for Clinton than the 7 who favored her would have meant no delegates at all for Clinton; as it is, it's 3-1.

I don't yet know the official count, but I'd say, looking around at the signs and stickers, that at least 3/4s of the overall caucus were for Obama, if not a higher ratio.

In Precinct 99, the vote was 63-7 Obama/Clinton. Initally 4 people were uncommitted.

One of whom I sat next to for the preliminary part. Her position: was going to vote for Obama until she learned he was a smoker. Never could vote for a smoker. Smoking should be illegal. It trumps all issues. She voted for Clinton because of it. Solely. (She said.)

Whaddya gonna do?

It trumps all issues

Wow, that's a bit extreme.

Gary: you told her he quit, right?

You also get more bang for your ground-game buck with a caucus, particularly when the other side doesn't try. Wow, Obama's campaign knew what it was doing when it targeted those states for calls & rallies.

Gary, you have my undying gratitude for single-handedly bringing Colorado into the Obama column.

I jest, but I am somewhat envious of the opportunity that the caucus system presented for you.

Oh, and Hilzoy, when we spoke about the candidates, two people spoke up for Clinton. One explained that he knew of nothing that Obama had accomplished that he was all rhetoric and no substance, and can anyway name anything Obama did.

Although I really wished I had a laptop or tablet to take along to be able to quote specifics, or at least a working printer, so I could have made printed notes and taken them with me, I did make a few hand-written notes to bring with me, some of which included your points from "Actually, I think we can."

The other pro-Clinton voice was a woman who did a rant about how awful Jimmy Carter was ("He almost destroyed our country, after causing Iran"), because he had no foreign policy experience, and we can't afford another president with no foreign policy experience like Jimmy Carter, and she spent most of her time on how awful Jimmy Carter was, and how Obama also knew nothing about foreign policy, but Hillary had endless experience, and was ready from Day 1, but Obama might get us all killed, or something, because of being like Jimmy Carter.

So I stood up and responded, reeling off a bunch of points, including from your post, causing Obama-Has-No-Substance Guy to say that those were all excellent points, and he hadn't known any of that, and he only wished he'd heard it from Obama.

To Ms. Jimmy Carter Will Kill Us All Again, I asked who in the room thought the Iraq war was a mistake.

Almost everyone in the room held up their hand.

I pointed out that Clinton's vast foreign policy experience consisted of voting for the war, spending two years saying nothing against the war, that Barack Obama made his speech in Chicago in 2002 against the war, and that Clinton's advisors had largely supported the war, and so on.

Nobody changed their votes to Clinton, anyway.

Gary,

After talking with your fellow caucus-goers, do you have any sense for why so many people were voting for Obama? Or, rather, do you have any sense as to how much of the Obama vote came from ObamaLove versus ClintonHatred?

Wow: Missouri is giving me flashbacks to my youth...

Back in the day, Massachusetts always went like this: the first returns would come in, and if you were a liberal Democrat, like me, you'd just rejoice: your candidate was crushing the opposition. Then your candidate's lead would shrink and shrink as the evening wore on. It took me a few go-rounds to realize that this was because Boston returns came in first, and then were counterbalanced by the more conservative Western part of the state. So what mattered wasn't whether my favorite candidate was up at the beginning, but whether his or her lead was big enough to withstand Western MA.

Just a little while ago, with nearly 80% of the polls in MO reporting, Clinton was up by nearly 10%. I saw that no one had called it, and thought: well, they must know something I don't about the outstanding precincts. Now, with 91% of the vote in, Clinton is up by 1% (about 9000 votes.)

That was a pretty astonishing tightening.

No sooner had I written that that I read on TPM that wire services are calling MO for Clinton. (Reuters, apparently.) But not the networks, yet.

It is the same deal -- St. Louis vs. the rest of the state, except in this case the St. Louis results come in later than the rest of the state. Regardless MO was just called for Clinton.

Modesto: maybe, but Clinton's lead is now under 4,000 votes. Yow.

"Gary: you told her he quit, right?"

No, unfortunately, I didn't know that.

It trumps all issues

Wow, that's a bit extreme.

Even the nice young woman for Clinton, who was on the other side of Ms. I Can't Vote For A Smoker, raised her eyebrows, and clearly thought it... a bit unusual.

"I jest, but I am somewhat envious of the opportunity that the caucus system presented for you."

As I said, I lurve teh caucus system. It roolz.

Am I ready to get out the youth vote yet? No? KTHXBAI!

I was really seriously unimpressed by how badly organized the whole thing was.

From idiotic people flow decisions, where they brilliantly put tables into a V-formation, with the open part of the V being the entrance to the high school we were all entering from, causing the only exit for everyone -- all 2000+ people -- to be to go through the less than 3-foot wide gap at the end of the V.

That's insane, unless your goal is to cause trampling.

The result was a huge crowd that couldn't move, with people standing in all the entrances and exits. For about an hour and a half. With just more people entering, to add to the nearly immobile jammed crowd.

I finally ended up just pointing out to people behind two of the tables (to register) that they were causing this tremendous problem, and just grabbed the table, and with two others, moved it back two feet, which almost doubled the ability of people to leave the room, but which caused a bunch of angry glares to be sent my way from some of the table-sitters, and I backed away.

It was unbelievably stupid.

I could go on and on, because it was largely all like that. We had no precinct caucus leader until long after the theoretical starting time; where she was while we got up to over 50 people, waiting for over an hour an a half, I dunno. She'd never done it before, and seemed to be making up procedures on the fly as to how to vote and run the whole thing. If we'd had any contention, I'd have made major noise: there were only a handful of copies of the agenda, and no copies of the rules or procedures available for anyone than the precintct chair, and if I'd care about being elected, I'd also have made noises, because the "procedure" for us speaking was simple random chaos, or close to it. We also ran way past the legal deadlines.

But, as I said, there wasn't a serious contest, and I really don't care that I was elected alternate, rather than delegate, so it doesn't matter, but it really would have in any kind of contested situation. It was a mess.

Also, given the local candidate speeches, I have to say that I'm ready to vote for any candidate who speaks up against children and the future. It's thrilling that everyone is for the future, the environment, peace, justice, goodness, rightness, and puppies, but hearing that, and only that, didn't inspire me to care about many of the local candidates.

And I felt sorry for the Clinton campaign, who were so utterly overwhelmed and swamped into a tiny minority. The poor woman who spoke to the whole caucus on behalf of Clinton was pretty incoherent, saying she'd been the best New York Governor in 30 years. I'm not making this up. She obviously meant "Senator," but even that is debatable, even though she did exclude Bobby Kennedy. Her reasons why we should vote for Clinton were that the speaker had worked for Clinton in her NY race, and saw pictures of Clinton with endless world leaders, which proved she was ready to lead and inspire us all. Vote For Hillary!

I've never heard "Vote For My Candidate, They've Got Lots Of Pictures Of Themselves," as a slogan before, and I have to say I don't recommend it as a proven vote-getter.

And neither CNN nor MSNBC has called it.

Could it be close enough for a recount? Actually, probably doesn't mean much except for PR as sounds like delegates will probably be split.

In fact, the last I saw is that Obama has probably won more delegates so far, but a lot won't be known for a while.

I don't know how the media will spin this but to me, even if Obama loses Cali, its a win for him. Two weeks ago the polls showed him loing every state except Ill and Ga. I remember a post ovr on MyDD about how today was going to put a stake in the heart of the Obama campaign.

at risk of being abore on the subject I think we all need to be talking elctabiity from now on. Obama and Clinont just aren't all that different on policy. The difference in ability to campaign is huge.

BTW Obama has thirty million dollars left to campaign with. Clinton only has 13.

And neither CNN nor MSNBC has called it.

Right, I spoke too soon -- I just saw the red check by Hillary's name and I thought oh rats, there goes another one. Not a completely rational reaction.

MO: 97%, about 3,200 votes' difference...

Obama ahead by 5,000 with 98% counted.

OMFG.

I mean, I've been reporting this because I like a squeaker, but while I did think that the wire services were jumping the gun a bit, I didn't expect Obama to, like, you know, win Missouri...

"After talking with your fellow caucus-goers, do you have any sense for why so many people were voting for Obama? Or, rather, do you have any sense as to how much of the Obama vote came from ObamaLove versus ClintonHatred?"

I do. In our precinct, I failed to mention here in my previous comments, I was the sole person with prior caucus experience. Including the Precinct Chair.

Everyone else but me was a first-timer. There was a fair age spread, including young, middle aged, and some older.

All but 7 were inspired to come because they found Obama inspiring. And in the larger caucus, the same. Wherever you turned, that's the sort of thing you heard people telling each other, for the most part, other than the tiny minority for Clinton.

Oh, and our precinct did have one preliminary straw vote for Kucinich, but since that wasn't viable, he switched to Obama. (People could also have still voted for Gravel or Edwards, as well, but in our precinct, no one did.)

I saw more or less no ClintonHatred. Even the Clinton voters I spoke to largely agreed with all the points I made against her. It was six women and one man, by the way, in precinct 99.

It was my strong sense from the 4 pro-Clinton women who spoke at our precinct that they were voting for Clinton primarily because they were inspired by Clinton's being a woman. They didn't really appear to know anything much about her positions, or Obama's, and they more or less said, I want to vote for a woman, finally.

The two I spoke at greatest length with, for about an hour before we went to our formal precinct meeting, agreed with every single criticism I made of Clinton, and said to each one, "that's a very good point, that bothers me, too."

But they both wanted to vote for a woman, they said, and that's what they did.

So that's what I saw. Obama Enthusiasm bringing out an unprecedented and overwhelming number of new voters. Clinton bringing out a handful of longtime supporters, who were utterly swamped more than 5 to 1.

Mind, Boulder is very unrepresentative of the rest of Colorado; we're the Berkeley-equivalent of Colorado, and the polar opposite of Colorado Springs. I'll be very interested to see what the results are in more rural counties here.

AZ and CA declared for Clinton. Key will be how close it ends up being.

Earlier this evening the Obama campt was already basically conceding CA to Clinton based upon their polling data. Key appears to be the Hispanic vote.

Thanks Gary. Even with your caveats at the end, I find that very encouraging.

I can has awesome dictatorial powerz?

Four observations:

1. Obama won among California whites and blacks.

2. I was abused here for predicting that California Hispanics would vote against a black candidate by at least a 25-point spread. The returns are showing a 33% spread. And that’s the difference.

3. That McCain giggly-sneer really gives me the creeps.

4. Karl Bernstein looks like a real goober in makeup. Its time for him to stick to books and radio.

"Clinton bringing out a handful of longtime supporters, who were utterly swamped more than 5 to 1."

And who were also about 97% women. My precinct: 34 votes for Obama, 7 votes for Clinton, 6 of whom were female.

Total caucus voters: over 2000. Number of previous caucus voters, not brought out because of Obam: approximately 200.

It's not a confusing or complicated story. It's what I wrote here; this is how Obama will win, if he does.

Not that Hillary Clinton still doesn't have plenty of power with which to potentially win the nomination. I've been down this road of supporting the outsider candidate endless times before: Hart, Tsongas, Bradley, and the power of establishment machines can't be underestimated, and neither can Clinton's good points, and her ability to inspire those who understandably want to see someone like them as President.

But if anyone tries to make an argument that Clinton can get more votes in the general election than Obama, I can't imagine any sound grounds that would support such a claim, other than straight out claims that racism would prevent it.

And I don't believe that's true.

MyDD CA has exit polls. Clinton just crushed him with Hispanics and Asians.

Some local media on the Colorado race:

[...] Early returns at Democratic state headquarters broke heavily for Obama, as he was outpolling Clinton 2-to-1. Some precincts reporting within the city of Denver reflected similar results.

“It’s Obama country,” said Renee Rivera, a volunteer coordinator for the Democratic party at East High School caucuses, where the early count was breaking hard for Obama.

In a veritable explosion of democracy, Coloradans crowded high school gymnasiums, classrooms and community centers in staggering numbers, wowing even long-time politicos used to far more intimate gatherings for party caucuses.

Then there's the confused vote. Or non-vote:
[...] Rosemarie Melichar of Aurora didn’t even look up her voter registration until 5:45 p.m. The 68-year-old was disappointed to find out that she is an unaffliated voter – has been since 1984 – because it means she couldn’t participate in a precinct caucus.

“I wanted to vote for Hillary,” she said. “I don’t want Barack to get it. He’s just a big rock star. He doesn’t come out with any definite plans. He just talks about change and everybody is ‘hurrah, hurrah.’”

And yet you couldn't be bothered to pay enough attention to figure out how to vote.

Denver Post:

Barack Obama's early lead over Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Colorado caucuses Tuesday indicated voters may follow the state's historical trend of embracing outside-the-box, new-idea type of Democrats.

"He's that creative-society, nonpartisan, new-advocate-for-change Democrat that we like here," said Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli, pointing to former Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

[...]

And the fight between Clinton and Obama here was a microcosm of their national battle. Clinton, considered the Democratic establishment candidate, is largely backed by women, seniors, organized labor, Latino voters, and less-educated and lower-income Democrats. Obama, known as an insurgent candidate, is appealing to black voters, upper-income intellectuals, young people and those leaning independent.

[...]

In Colorado, [Obama's] campaign signed up thousands of volunteers and opened numerous offices, including some on the Western Slope. He signed up important surrogates, such as former Denver Mayor Federico Peña, and his appearance at the University of Denver last week drew 18,000 people.

MS-NBC just called Obama the "apparent winner" in Missouri.

All the talk at our caucuses were of being liberal and progressive, by the way. The people who voted for Obama were more on the passionate liberal/progressive/left side of being Democrats, for the most part, so far as I could tell, than any other type of Democrats. The main argument for Clinton I heard that made any sense was that she was allegedly better able to pass a health care plan (I don't buy that in the slightest), and that Obama can't (why? He just can't, and Hillary can, so there, seemed to be the answer). The only policy point I heard for being pro-Clinton, that made any sense, was the argument that Obama's position against an individual mandate for health care insurance was wrong, and that's a fair argument.

But it was the only point of substance I heard that was pro-Clinton and non-lunatic, and not based on the idea that we just should vote for a woman because she's a woman.

(I consider "I can't vote for Obama because he's a smoker" to be a lunatic reason, as I do the claim that Obama will get us all killed because Jimmy Carter.)

MSNBC calls MO for Obama. For my part, I'm waiting for either 100% reporting or a bigger margin. I feel wary about MO tonight. :)

Though more votes just came in for MO, bringing it up to 99%. Obama ahead by 4,600 or so. Since my quick calculations tell me that the 1% of the vote that's outstanding is about 8,000 votes -- maybe a bit more, if they're rounding -- even I am beginning to entertain thoughts of an Obama victory in MO. And I am cautious.

Cool, we won Alaska. :)

"The main argument for Clinton I heard that made any sense was that she was allegedly better able to pass a health care plan (I don't buy that in the slightest), and that Obama can't (why? He just can't, and Hillary can, so there, seemed to be the answer)"

Sorry, I left out the one other catch-all answer, which is that it's because of Hillary's vast experience, and because Obama has none.

I'm just reporting: that was the pro-Clinton argument, such as it was. Hillary has the experience to pass universal health care, and will, but if Obama wins, it will, to quote what the pro-Clinton speaker said, "destroy any chance of universal health care forever."

Fortunately, it wasn't an overly broad claim, and it was so well-supported and convincing, as I said, that absolutely no one in our precinct changed their vote to Clinton. My advice to Hillary Clinton: find less lunatic, and more articulate and knowlegeable, voters, then some of your Boulder supporters.

It helps to actually make sure your supporters register as Democrats, too, if you want them to vote for you in the caucuses/primaries.

Is there a place we can get historical polling? Was Colorado expected to go for Obama at all (much less so strongly?).

I can has awesome dictatorial powerz?

Quick! Someone raid her memorabilia so we can start cranking out lolhilzoys (lolzoys?) and take the intertubes by storm!

Seb: iirc, Clinton was leading until quite recently. I recall CO being one of the first states to show a lead for Obama after the Kennedy endorsement.

In other news, the long-awaited hilzoy calling of MO for Obama has arrived. About 5-6000 more votes seem to have come in, they're still at 99%, and Obama's lead has widened.

I plan to go looking for historical polling, since I think it matters to remember that until about ten days ago, Clinton had double digit leads across super Tuesday.

MyDD CA has exit polls. Clinton just crushed him with Hispanics and Asians.

Racism, alive and well in the Democratic party.

The main argument for Clinton I heard that made any sense was that she was allegedly better able to pass a health care plan (I don't buy that in the slightest)

This assertion would be based on what, her spectacular crash-and-burn failure to pass it the first time around? I agree with you, I don't buy that in the slightest (though I doubt it's as big a deal to me as it is for Democrats).

CO:

Jan 27 Mason-Dixon: Obama 34%, Clinton 32%, Edwards 17%

MO:

Jan 27 Research 2000: Clinton 44%, Obama 31%, Edwards 18%
Jan 25 Rasmussen: Clinton 43%, Obama 24%, Edwards 18%

CT:
Jan 20 Univ. of CT: Clinton 41%, Obama 27% Edwards 9%

Lest we forget.

Oh: all of the above from TPM Polling Central's January archives.

On the GOP side, Romney's a goner, and McCain has a big enough lead that he won't have to pick Huckabee for VP.

Looks like McCain v. Hillary.

"Is there a place we can get historical polling?"

Probably, but I'd be starting from scratch looking for it, just like you. I'm no expert on Colorado politics. I've lived here only a touch over 6 years, and I continue to pay endlessly more attention to national and international issues than to state issues, I'm afraid. I certainly know a lot more about Colorado politics than before I moved here, but not remotely as much as I should.

"Was Colorado expected to go for Obama at all (much less so strongly?)."

Depends on who was doing the expecting, I suppose. I'm not surprised, and I'd make a small bet that Washington State will be somewhat similar -- certainly in the Seattle area, and the western part of the state, though I could be out of date enough to be wrong on that. But I'd bet a nickel.

What others expected from Colorado, I really don't know.

Romney seems to have crushed McCain here, for what it's worth, as well. I gather that McCain had relatively little presence in the state, but I don't follow Republican politics in Colorado at all closely. Other than that, hey, Hilzoy, remember that freshman in the legislature I pointed out to you the story about him kicking the newspaper photographer for taking his photo? He wound up being the first Colorado legislature ever censured in the history of Colorado a couple of weeks ago.

Unamimously, including by all his fellow Republicans.

He felt very persecuted, and spoke of resigning. What's wrong with kicking the media in the course of your official duty? He claims it was just a nudge. He claimed he was just like Jimmy Stewart. What are you going to believe, the video, or his description? Every Republican believed the video.

Here's a more negative view of the caucus system than mine, by the way, concluding with:

[...]I did learn something from this. Political affiliation is for the birds. As soon as I can mail the forms I will be officially unaffiliated. I’m not going to change this unless either Colorado uses a more equitable and less wasteful primary system or I move somewhere that does.
It was hot, he complains, and it took time. A whole hour and a half.

Who has that much time every four years for caring about democracy? If it takes more than five minutes every five years, I'm going to quit! F---, yeah!

Other comments there complained similarly.

This is what people died to give you the privilege of, son.

Looks like McCain v. Hillary.

Looks like say hello to President McCain in Jan. 2009.

Well, I don't see why CB thinks it looks like Hillary on the Dem. side. We will have to wait to see who won more delegates, but I think Obama did pretty well. Naturally, I would have preferred a blow-out, but I think that coming from behind across the board (exc. for IL and maybe a couple of the deep south states), generally by double digit margins, to winning 14 of 22 states is fairly impressive. Plus, I suspect he has more money.

I don’t recall seeing a single caucus going for Hillary; most were blowouts for Obama. Hillary wins when Democrats vote in booths.

Fascinating.

Racism, alive and well in the Democratic party.

First generation immigrant attitudes, I suspect.

(I know the local Asian American paper rapped the knuckles of the 80/20 committee for coming out for Clinton)

Two points. Why didn't Obama make sure every Latino was aware of the hideously ugly anti-immigrant remarks made by Clinton surrogates. The gap would have closed then. (On the same point, really, I echo the comment of the participant in the caucus who heard the points you made in your 'substance, not just style' post: "I didn't know all that, but I wish it was Obama who told us that.")

Second: Hilary, for the most part, won states that any Democrat will win -- Oklahoma was the exception. In the red states it was Obama. (And note that in almost every state but Utah, the number of Democrats voting far exceeded the number of Republicans.) I loved that Obama came out and made the point that Hilary will get Republicans to the polls to vote against her.

Hilzoy, I agree. Obama's not out of it yet, and I really hope he pulls it out.

I was just expressing my view that if the general election is Hillary against McCain, I think Hillary loses.

Obama got creamed in CA, Hil, and CA is huge, especially when Hillary has the NY east coast advantage. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have Obama, but I think he falls short, and I speculate that the two will bury the hatchet and that Obama will become Hillary's running mate.

"Racism, alive and well in the Democratic party."

I'd assume lack of familiarity before I'd assume racism, absent actual facts, but YMMV.

The main argument for Clinton I heard that made any sense was that she was allegedly better able to pass a health care plan (I don't buy that in the slightest)

This assertion would be based on what, her spectacular crash-and-burn failure to pass it the first time around?

I thought it was a pretty wacky argument, myself, but as I was trying to be pro-Obama, and as minimally critical of Clinton as possible, and since one doesn't persuade others by pointing out that someone is making an idiotic argument, I left that point alone.

One of the points I'd like to look into clarifying about the rules, even though it's moot, is a difference from what I recall about caucusing in Washington.

If my memory isn't wrong (possible), only people who voted for a particular candidate got to vote for for who would be a delegate to represent that candidate. Here, everyone got to vote, even if they voted for a different delegate. I'd like to make sure that's how it was supposed to be.

I also really think we should have had a bit more formality and organization in our meeting, with set periods for people to speak for their candidate. Instead, the chair just let it all be random, people just speaking up whoever spoke most quickly and loudly, and arguing back and forth. There were no time limits, no separate periods for each candidate, and frankly, I thought it was chaotic, and unfair. I'm just glad it didn't really matter (in terms of results I care about), because if it had, it could have gotten ugly. Nobody seems to have ever heard of, say, Roberts Rules of Order. (Which I've long since lost the ability to quote from memory, but which I once knew that well, and still retain the principles clearly.)

I love caucuses, but I certainly agree that the one I attended was pretty badly organized, and needed a larger number of experienced people to organize.

I wish I had had a clue beforehand that they were so unprepared to handle so many people, or I would have volunteered to help prevent some of the snafus. I know something about organizing and the logistics of large meetings and conventions, given that I was running operations at conventions with over a thousand people when I was 16 years old, and kept doing that sort of thing for the next decade, up to 8,000+ people.

> I can't imagine any sound grounds that would support such a claim, other than straight out claims that racism would prevent it.

I'll have a go - although I am not 100% convinced

First as a starting point - head to head polls generally don't show a big difference between Obama /Clinton v McCain.
The average difference about a week ago was .6% now its more like 2.5% (the latter is a bigger hurdle of course)

2) the media currently appears to be against Clinton from both sides - and pro-Obama from both sides - in an election it will be against both from only one side.
3) Clinton has already been 'tested' by the republican attack machine.

and for the following look at elections in general around the world...

4) old hardened campaigners political animals tend to do better coming into elections
5) campaigns with dedicated long term supporters do well with the turnout machine and beat polls.
6) campaigns with lots of supporters from groups that tend to turn out tend to do better than polls (for obvious reasons)
7) people vote for the person who’s name they remember - and everyone remembers the Clinton name ( remember not all people are politically savy).
8) as far as I can tell Obama seems a little to the left of Clinton in terms of policy and he has less cautious solutions to problems - that creates a lot more areas to attack for a conservative. - again parties that move towards the center are, all else being equal, more likely to win elections for obvious reasons.
9) Obama may over excite. By this I mean create a Michael Moore or equivalent -the problem with this is Michael Moore's excite extremists and turn off swing voters. Clinton won't overexcite anyone.

and finally Clinton and Obama both sound better in debates and do speeches without notes better than Mccain. that Obama might be better than Clinton at this and a range of other things may not matter much (i.e. a win is a win).
.............

and of course people saying they would vote for Obama because it is easier to say and yet in the voting booth not voting for him. (this might be based on Clinton being the less cool candidate or it might be the "I don't want to sound racist" thing.

Colorado results:

With 98 percent of Democratic precincts reporting, Obama had 66 percent of the vote to 33 percent for Hillary Clinton.

For the Republicans, with 73 percent of precincts reporting, Romney had 59 percent, John McCain 19 percent, Mike Huckabee 13 percent and Ron Paul 8 percent.

Both parties reported extremely heavy turnout. More than 118,000 //Democratic voters went to the caucuses, compared to just 15,000 in 2004. More than 56,000 Republicans participated Tuesday.

Ten times jump in Democratic voters. Ten times.

Ten times.

Ten times.

I don't speak for Colorado, and I won't speak of any other state in this sentence, but, y'know, as regards Colorado, I do believe we can.

Twice the number of Republican voters.

Twice.

Twice.

What is the incentive for Obama to be her running mate? OK, if she asks him openly he can't refuse, but after eight years of attending funerals and keeping his trap shut wouldn't Obama have lost a lot of what makes him appealling, even if he gains establishment backing?

On the other hand, in the Senate he could aim to be the majority leader, and he could deliver a working health plan, and what is also important, he could be seen to do so.

Still, my heart and my hopes are in him not having to settle for less than 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Also a bit more of my cash (hint, hint).

"and of course people saying they would vote for Obama because it is easier to say and yet in the voting booth not voting for him."

Caucuses are as non-secret a vote as there is. Everyone declares their vote publically, and gets to argue.

(A couple of people complained about the lack of a secret ballot, actually, and it was pointed out to them that, no, that's another system; this is a Party vote, and Parties get to do it as they like, with no requirement for a secret ballot, and the caucuses system is completely contradictory to a secret ballot, yup.)

Given the overwhelming majorities here for Obama, trying to tell me that people were only claiming to vote for Obama won't fly.

Of course, maybe Colorado is specially non-racist. Pretty hard to believe, but I suppose that's an argument that's left.

Incidentally, only one voter in our precinct was clearly African-American; a couple were clearly Hispanic; overwhelmingly it was pale-skinned Americans, though, which simply reflects the ethnic make-up of Boulder, albeit undercounting Hispanics, I'm fairly sure.

Of course, this isn't reflective of the general election population, but nonetheless, I find "non-black people won't vote for Obama because of racism" not supported by what I just saw, with my own eyes, people do.

"On the other hand, in the Senate he could aim to be the majority leader"

Seems to me that that's a fine place for Senator Clinton to put her vaunted experience and skills to work at.

Every four years people start talking about the front-runner picking his or her closest rival as a running mate. It rarely happens. I can't imagine what would induce either Clinton or Obama to settle for VP.

How long would he have to serve in the Senate before he had a shot at being majority leader, Warren?

"I was just expressing my view that if the general election is Hillary against McCain, I think Hillary loses."

My view is that if those are the candidates, who will win will depend on how the actual campaigns go.

But your seer skilz may be far beyond mine.

Meanwhile, given that most Democratic contests are proportional, not winner-take-all, and that Obama has a great deal of momentum, I don't see the race for the Democratic nominee as remotely near a conclusion.

I'd also point out that McCain versus even Clinton would be interesting, given how much of the Republican Party has declared McCain anathema, from Limbaugh to Coulter to Dobson to Hewitt to all the anti-McCain bloggers, and on and on. With them all in a frenzy of McCain Derangement Syndrome, I reach for the popcorn, myself.

Gary, the argument I've heard (which I don't agree with) is that people will let their racism affect their votes when they're voting in secret, but they're afraid to be perceived as racist when talking to a pollster or participating in a caucus, where their choice is public. That's why Obama does better in caucuses than in primaries (or so the theory goes).

Well, LBJ was majority leader after six years in the Senate, and by all accounts a darned effective one. And I think that - at least in the netroots, as I know nothing about what Senators think - there are a lot of people who aren't too pleased with the current Leader.

Assuming the Dems win the presidency, come January either Obama or Hillary will be President, and the other will be a Senator in an unprecedented position: one of a hundred senators, but having received more votes and raised more dollars than any other Senator in history (possibly by an order of magnitude if Kerry isn't counted). I think either one of them has the political skills to leverage that situation to gain power within the Senate.

But as I said, I'm still backing Barack to win the nomination.

Gary,
yes the effect would be less in a caucus - but it still has the difference of that when answering the poll your answer doesn't matter but when in the caucus it does.

Anyway from the post up the thread I understand Obama won a lot of caucuses and lost a lot of election type votes.

> Given the overwhelming majorities here for Obama

After the first part of the post the whole point is to explain why it is possible that Hillary might do better than her poll results. I don't seriously expect any of the effects mentioned to cause Hillary to win in a state where she is, lets say, 20 points behind in the polls or Obama to win where he is that far ahead. If hilary was ahead of obama in the head to head's against mccain then that would be the only point I would need to make.

> Of course, maybe Colorado is specially non-racist.

Actually the point doesn't require those voters to be racist. They may not want to vote for Obama based on policy - just that they are at some level concerned that others might not believe that. Or maybe they see it as a blow against racism to say they would support Obama - a little like some tiny fraction of a vote for him. there could be all sorts of justifications going on along those lines.

I think Obama wins caucuses because he has more passionate supporters & the best ground organization I've ever seen, & those go further in caucuses.

I can't imagine what would induce either Clinton or Obama to settle for VP.

I remember that Reagan picked his closest GOP rival in 1980, and it worked out pretty well. But you have a point, Hil. If I were Obama, I wouldn't associate myself with the Clinton Machine. I gues it'll depend on how important he weighs his principles versus political expediency and what he perceives is best for the party. Personally, I hope he doesn't run with Hillary, only because of my low regard for her and the people around her.

I'd assume lack of familiarity before I'd assume racism, absent actual facts, but YMMV.

It's probably a combination - obviously not every black or Hispanic is racist. But there are quite a few. I've lived in a predominantly Asian community, and in my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, racism against blacks is quite a bit more common (and more accepted) among Asians. As for Hispanics, Hillary's Hispanic outreach director basically admitted that anti-black animus is a major factor in their unwillingness to support Obama.

First as a starting point - head to head polls generally don't show a big difference between Obama /Clinton v McCain.

I wouldn't put too much stock in those, for a few reasons:

1.)Clinton has already hit her ceiling, or close to it - she's a known commodity, and approximately 50% of the country doesn't like her already. As high as 45% won't vote for her under any circumstances, depending on the poll. She has a VERY small pool of "persuadable" voters. That is not true for Obama, who remains undefined for a lot of voters (and has proven in the primaries that he's a talented enough politician to resist being defined by his opponents).

2.)Head-to-head popular vote matchups don't mean jack - you've got to look at state-by-state matchups. Hillary will get wiped out in the red states - there's not a single one she can win, except perhaps Arkansas. McCain won't win as many votes there as Bush did, perhaps, but he'll still win the states. On the other hand, McCain is *exactly* the kind of candidate who does well in swing states. He's from the SW and is extremely popular there, meaning Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and possibly Colorado are out of reach. He's the "patriotic candidate", which plays well in the Midwest. He's popular with Hispanics and older voters, which means he probably wins Florida. His one weakness against Hillary is on the economy, which will matter in the Midwest, but a.)the Democrats won most of the swing states there in 2004 already (Ohio and Missouri being the only exceptions), and b.)if McCain campaigns the right way in the fall and picks the right running mate, he can shore up his weakness on that point.

Clinton has already been 'tested' by the republican attack machine.

By 'tested' I assume you mean "battered to the point of borderline non-viability in a general election"?

as far as I can tell Obama seems a little to the left of Clinton in terms of policy and he has less cautious solutions to problems - that creates a lot more areas to attack for a conservative.

He's a bit to the left of Clinton on some issues, but some of them are issues where the electorate at large is also to the left of Clinton (e.g. Iraq). And he's a bit to the right of her on others (healthcare, social security). Seems like pretty much a wash to me.

As for solutions, I completely disagree - Obama's approaches seem much more cautious, incremental, and temperamentally conservative than Hillary's (which is one reason I think they're more likely to work).

- again parties that move towards the center are, all else being equal, more likely to win elections for obvious reasons.

Indeed. Which is why it absolutely mystifies me that the Democrats would nominate Hillary. She's a centrist but perceived as an arch-liberal. McCain is centrist on a lot of issues, but even on those which he's conservative, he's not perceived that way. That means he presents major, major problems for Hillary attempting to claim the center in the general election.

Indeed. Which is why it absolutely mystifies me that the Democrats would nominate Hillary.

Because the leadership (like their counterparts in the Republicans) are totally out of touch with the rank and file of the party membership, not to mention the public at large.

btw, I have a wild idea, and I don't know enough to know whether it's right or wrong. Here it is:

Back in the day, a lot of people in MA used to talk about Obama and Deval Patrick in the same breath: both wonderful, idealistic, promising African-American up-and-coming political stars. Since Patrick was elected governor, my sense is that he's been a real disappointment to Democrats.

Question: might disappointment with Patrick have spilled over onto Obama?

New Mexico still isn't settled, despite the Richardson-Clinton Superbowl party.

hil--I wondered the same thing.

Current delegate count:

Needed to Win: 2,025

Clinton:657

ObamaL: 541

Edwards: 26

Reminder: number of "superdelegates": 796. They're going to be crucial.

Right now, Clinton has many more committed than Obama does. But superdelegates love a winner, and many will decide on the basis of who they think that will be, as well as their preferences, as well as their obligations.

To be specific, right now:

Hillary Clinton
Pledged: 464
Superdelegates: 193
Total: 657

Barack Obama
Pledged: 435
Superdelegates: 106
Total: 541

John Edwards
Pledged: 26
Superdelegates: 0
Total: 26

Note that absent superdelegates, Obama is already almost neck and neck with Clinton in the only contest that matters.

On to next Saturday, the 9th!

Who votes?

Kansas caucuses Reps Only
Louisiana primaries
Nebraska caucuses Dems Only
Washington caucuses

I'll be disappointed and surprised if Obama doesn't win Washington, as I've said. I think he has an excellent shot at both other races, particularly since three are caucuses, and one is a heavily African-American state.

"PLEOs" are "Party Leaders and Elected Officials," aka "super-delegates."

Scorecard chronology.

Nebraska: 31 delegates, 24 are pledged and 7 are unpledged.

Washington: 97 delegates, 51 district-level; 17 at-large; 10 pledged PLEO; 17 unpledged PLEO; 2 unpledged add-on.

I feel good about next week.

Tuesday, February 12, we get Maryland, with 99 delegates. 70 pledged, 29 unpledged. Of the 70 pledged delegates, 46 are district-level, 15 are at-large and 9 are PLEOS; of the 29 unpledged delegates, 27 are PLEOs and 2 are add-ons.

I won't be surprised if Clinton takes Maryland, but I also think Obama has an excellent chance to win, as well.

Virginia also votes that day, with 103 delegates, 83 pledged, 20 unpledged. It'll matter.

DC also votes the same day, with 38 delegates. I'm guessing Obama will at least edge it, if not blow it out.

February 19th, it'll be Wisconsin and Hawaii.

Then comes the huge punch, which may be a haymaker, when on March 4th, we get Texas, Ohio, and, oh, yeah, Vermont and Rhode Island.

I don't think there will be anything remotely definitive on the Democratic side before March 4th. I might be wrong, but that's how it looks to me right now.

And that'll still leave Wyoming, Mississippi,
Pennsylvania, Indiana,
North Carolina, West Virginia,
Oregon, Kentucky, South Dakota, and Montana to go.

Maybe it will go down to the convention? Who knows?

But tonight was just the opener.

It's probably a combination - obviously not every black or Hispanic is racist. But there are quite a few. I've lived in a predominantly Asian community, and in my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, racism against blacks is quite a bit more common (and more accepted) among Asians.

First generation immigrants are pretty racist, no doubt. We don't get Politically Correct and hide it until the 2nd and 3rd generations...

(though, since the majority of Asian Americans and a large part of the Hispanic population are first generation immigrant, I'm not sure that it's surprising that they haven't absorbed that part of American cultural ideals).

"Hillary will get wiped out in the red states - there's not a single one she can win, except perhaps Arkansas."

I don't know which states you consider "the red states" (as if there was some sort of immutable voting pattern), but if you're suggesting that the states that went for Bush in 2004 will all go for the Republican again in 2008, I politely suggest that you be a tad delusional.

Tell me, is Colorado, which went heavily red in 2000 and 2002, but which voted in 2004 with 1,101,255 votes for Bush and 1,001,732 for Kerry, has since elected a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic Governor, a "red" state, in your view?

I'd be curious to see your list of "red states."

Hilzoy: "Question: might disappointment with Patrick have spilled over onto Obama?"

I don't think anyone but us political obsessives have heard of Patrick, outside of Massachussetts. I'd lay odds that 90% of the people at my caucuses, first-timers all, would say they'd never heard of him. I could, to be sure, be very wrong. I don't think so, but I'm pulling my opinion out of my impression of the level of political awarenes around me, insofar as I could get it, and that's, y'know, just my impression.

I can't think of the last time I read anything about Patrick, myself, for what it's worth. He got elected, and for all I know, vanished in a black hole. So maybe I'm just projecting my own ignorance onto others.

Looking at Wikipedia, I see Patrick's been in some fusses about furniture, and his car, and the like. This isn't the sort of thing that gets reported outside of one's own state, or which anyone outside of that state tends to give a flying fig about. But, again, maybe I'm projecting. His car?

Alternatively, I could tell you a heck of a lot about Governor Elliot Spitzer's problems.

This is partially because I come from New York, and partially because, for instance, the New York Times publishes huge Magazine pieces on Spitzer's woes, and while I'm sure I've missed innumerable examples, the last time I recall reading the name "Deval Patrick" in the Times was when he was elected.

Oh, and part of what I meant to say above, but forgot, is that while I'm sure they know infinitely more than I know, and thus there may be many good reasons why this is wrong, it looks to me as if Obama and Clinton should be working like crazy on Ohio and Texas, as that may be the day and place of make or break, given the size of their delegate counts, and timing.

Xeynon,

yeah maybe she has hit a ceiling - as I said I am not 100% convinced. But at the same time the hatred of her is often so mindless.
Maybe some people will come to a rally and ask her to do some ironing or something.

> Obama, who remains undefined.

well one of my points was that undefined people tend to loose elections around the world. nicely defined Bushs, Sarkozys, Howards and so forth just keep on beating them.

2.)Head-to-head popular vote matchups don't mean jack - you've got to look at state-by-state matchups.

yes state by state matters. Of course if you are sure Clinton has no chance then you have some money to make via betting since she is the favorite.

2.)His one weakness against Hillary is on the economy

I predict the economy to be the big issue, and for his VP to not make up for that - besides he is the sort of guy that may pick a VP for reasons other than pragmatism.

> By 'tested' I assume you mean "battered to the point of borderline non-viability in a general election"?

haha yes - borderline. But thats what always happens in US elections.
If Obama can entirely resist the republican machine then I guess he has it in the bag. I'm not so sure.

> Obama's approaches seem much more cautious, incremental.

I'm interpreting Obama as a bit of a popularist with ideas that become policies and Hillary and a politician where individual laws become ideas. And seeing the former as more vulnerable. BTW I prefer Obama's policies.

Anyway as to whether Hillary will be able to beat McCain - I think we will get to find out.

Uh, sorry go partisan on y'all but the only people I've heard saying this was a night of HRC coronation are Republicans whom I suspect are biased by their eagnerness to run against her.

As stated upthread, these two are pretty close on policy, leaving personality and electability as issues.

I think the Democratic base will come out to vote in November, no matter who the candidate is. So I'm not too worried that more of the base went for Hillary.

Seems to me the big question to ask about the exit polls from Super Tuesday is, did Obama or Hillary get the independents, in those states that allowed them to vote in the Democratic primary?

I await those results with considerable interest. And hope to be able to use them in the Washington caucus Saturday.

"So I'm not too worried that more of the base went for Hillary."

What states are you talking about?

As I've been explaining, if "the base" means passionately liberal/progressives on the left side, that's where all the Obama votes came from at my caucuses. So I'm wondering where it is you're referring to, and why they count, but we don't?

Or perhaps I misunderstand your use of the word "base," which is why I ask who you mean, as well as where.

Similarly, the Republican "base" here clearly came out, more than not, such as they did, for Romney. Though in half the numbers the Democratic base did.

if you're suggesting that the states that went for Bush in 2004 will all go for the Republican again in 2008, I politely suggest that you be a tad delusional.

Bush ain't on the ballot this time - McCain (probably) is. And he's a lot more popular than Bush. Of course I'm not sure if he'll win all the states Bush did this far ahead of the election. But my best guess is that Hillary will have a very steep climb to beat him in any of them, and has absolutely no chance - zero - in the most strongly Republican states (Obama hasn't got much chance either, to be fair, but I think he'd come closer).

Tell me, is Colorado, which went heavily red in 2000 and 2002, but which voted in 2004 with 1,101,255 votes for Bush and 1,001,732 for Kerry, has since elected a Democratic House, a Democratic Senate, and a Democratic Governor, a "red" state, in your view?

Gary, if you'll note, in my previous post I included Colorado in the category of "swing states" (and also said I think McCain would probably win it against Hillary). By red states, I meant the states of the deep south absent Florida, and the northern mountain and prairie states.

yeah maybe she has hit a ceiling - as I said I am not 100% convinced. But at the same time the hatred of her is often so mindless.

It is often mindless, but it's real, so that doesn't matter any less. If there's one thing that will get hardcord conservatives to hold their noses and vote for McCain, it's the desire to stop the Clintons. As for the persuadables, let's say they're the median 20% of the electorate. Close to half of that 20% has already rejected Hillary. The fact that McCain has done well with independents and crossover voters, and Hillary hasn't, leads me to believe that he'd have no trouble convincing a majority of the other half to vote for them even if they don't dislike her intensely.

yes state by state matters. Of course if you are sure Clinton has no chance then you have some money to make via betting since she is the favorite.

I'd point out that history indicates that betting against the Democratic favorite is a pretty good way to make money - see McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry.

I predict the economy to be the big issue, and for his VP to not make up for that - besides he is the sort of guy that may pick a VP for reasons other than pragmatism.

Both fair points. I think the economy will be a big issue too, and if Hillary can make an effective argument against McCain on that, I think it's the one way she beats him. You're right about McCain too, but if he's smart he'll start talking more about the economy.

If Obama can entirely resist the republican machine then I guess he has it in the bag. I'm not so sure.

I think he can - he's done pretty well against the Clinton machine, pretty much steadily climbing in the polls since he came under fire from it. He has that natural "it" factor, the likability to make attacks against him backfire on his opponents.

Anyway as to whether Hillary will be able to beat McCain - I think we will get to find out.

Yup, probably. The proof will be in the pudding.

the only people I've heard saying this was a night of HRC coronation are Republicans whom I suspect are biased by their eagnerness to run against her.

Didn't you get the memo? Republican fondness for Obama is just bad faith reverse psychology because they think he'll be easier to beat, and are afraid of a Clinton who brings all of the baggage and none of the charm or campaigning skill of her husband.

Seems to me the big question to ask about the exit polls from Super Tuesday is, did Obama or Hillary get the independents, in those states that allowed them to vote in the Democratic primary?

That is the question, but I see no reason to doubt that the pattern we've seen to this point - Obama appeals to independents, Hillary doesn't - will continue.

I don't see how Clinton wins Maryland. Maryland is 30% black, which means it compares favorably demographically with Georgia and South Carolina as far as that goes. Beyond that, the white vote is going to be far more pro-Obama than either of those states - Montgomery County is full of rich, educated wine-track types who ought to break for Obama. Maryland is like Connecticut, but with nearly three times as many black people. Even with O'Malley and Mikulski for Clinton, I don't see how Obama loses there.

Virginia will be the real test on 2/12.

"(and also said I think McCain would probably win it against Hillary)"

Care to bet a nickel that Clinton, if she's the nominee, beats McCain in Colorado, and that the Democratic nominee also wins the Senate seat, then?

Another huge Clinton victory, alas.

[...] A record 285 caucus-goers voted in a hotel in Pago Pago, American Samoa. They gave Clinton 163 votes and Barack Obama 121, with one going to former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel.

The result gives Clinton two more national convention votes and Obama one.

Oh noes.

What I wrote here?

Matt seems to be on the same wavelength.

Care to bet a nickel that Clinton, if she's the nominee, beats McCain in Colorado, and that the Democratic nominee also wins the Senate seat, then?

I don't bet, even nickels, and given that you're the one who lives in Colorado, I'll take your word for it. Your prediction may very well carry more weight than mine. My thinking was that McCain being from a neighboring state, and being very popular with military personnel, and more popular than most Republicans with Hispanic voters, will give him a leg-up there. But, I may be wrong.

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