Actually, these are almost entirely early votes. Here are some tidbits based on the county-by-county breakdown.
In Dallas County (large black population), Obama leads Clinton 2-to-1 among early voters. In Fort Bend County (also a large black population), he leads by more than 2-to-1. In Nueces (large Hispanic population), Clinton lead Obama by 2-to-1 among early voters. In Willimson County (about 70% non-Hispanic white), Obama is up by about 3-to-2 on Clinton.
What clue does this provide about how this will turn out?
Early vote returns are already up on the Texas Secretary of State's website. You can see those here. I'm not sure if these are the early voters or not, but there are already one-quarter million votes up there. Obama is up early.
Remember how the Clinton campaign pretended like none of the last several election nights even happened? Well, MSNBC is reporting that they are ready with confetti in Ohio tonight. Quite a difference, eh? They seem awfully confident that they are going to at least win in Ohio.
Interesting numbers from Ohio. 54% think Clinton attacked Obama unfairly and 36% think Obama attacked Clinton unfairly. Combine this with the numbers I referenced earlier about how Clinton won among those who decided in the last few days and you can file those results under the persistent finding that people don't like negative ads, but they work.
White men in Ohio went to Clinton 55-44%, a bit of a reversal from what we saw in Wisconsin two weeks ago.
Those exit polls show that Clinton won by about 10% among those that decided over the past few days (about 21% of the electorate).
The exit polls are initially showing Clinton up in Ohio 52-48%. Very close and those numbers tend to shift throughout the night as they update them to match the way the votes are coming in.
MSNBC is calling Ohio "too close to call" which distinguishes it from "too early to call." But let's see those exit polls.
MSNBC promises us that polls close in Ohio in 3 minutes. But CNN is reporting that because of the poor weather, they are leaving those polls open until 9pm. Evidently the worst weather is in Cleveland, which is likely Obama territory.
Pollster.com adds to the information I reported below about the partisan composition of the Democratic electorates in Ohio and Texas. Bottom line: the percentage of the electorate that is made up of independents and Republicans in Ohio and Texas is significantly larger than what pollsters were assuming leading up to today. This could tilt things slightly in Obama's favor since he fares better among those groups.
The exit polls from Vermont are not all that useful. Obama wins every demographic by a lot. Of course, there aren't that many demographics in Vermont.
The initial exit polls in Vermont indicate a 64-34% margin for Obama. If that margin holds, Obama would likely take 10 delegates to Clinton's 5.
And Barack Obama has won the state of Vermont. So, for a half hour, at least, he can talk about having won 12 straight contests.
6:44pm (Some early thoughts)
Polls close in Vermont in about 15 minutes. About a second later, they should be calling the state for Obama, who is expected to win there by a large margin.
It seems fairly likely that Obama is going to lose in Ohio...Texas is close, but has been trending toward Clinton at the last minute.
Is this a victory for Clinton tonight if she wins in Texas and Ohio but Obama wins more delegates because of his big margin in Vermont and his potential success in the Texas caucuses?
If Clinton wins Texas but doesn't receive as many delegates as Obama, will her campaign cry "foul?"
Is the Clinton campaign ready for a post-March 4th campaign? Remember, they seemed totally unprepared to continue their campaign after Super Tuesday. Wyoming and Mississippi loom on the horizon and I'm curious as to whether they've paid any attention to those states.
Early exit poll information shows that independents comprised 25% of the Texas Democratic electorate, 20% of the Ohio Democratic electorate, and 33% were independents in Rhode Island. In 2004, those same figures were 20%, 24%, and 32%, respectively. That means more independents in Texas and less in Ohio...good for Obama in Texas, good for Clinton in Ohio.