Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March 4th Primaries Live Blog: Late Late Edition

Will Clinton's lead continue to widen in TX, or will it narrow. I'm looking at the counties where the most precincts haven't come in yet:

Williamson County (1 of 100 precincts in)...Obama currently ahead 25k-19k there.
Tarrant County (356 of 639 precincts in)...Obama ahead 95k-81k.
Travis County (177 of 211 precincts in)...Obama ahead 106k-62k.
Jefferson County (1 of 117 precincts in)...Obama ahead 14k-9k.
Harris County (641 of 875 precincts in)...Obama ahead 195k-145k.
Denton County (69 of 123 precincts in)...Obama ahead 24k-18k.
Dallas County (248 of 695 precincts in)...Obama ahead 114k-65k.

Bexar County (468 of 623 precincts in)...Clinton ahead 101k-75k.
Cameron County (40 of 99 precincts in)...Clinton ahead 22k-10k.
El Paso County (93 of 171 precincts in)...Clinton ahead 58k-25k
Jim Wells County (1 of 22 precincts in)...Clinton ahead 3,000-1,000.
Upshur County (1 of 21 precincts in)...Clinton ahead 3,500-1,900.

Bottom line: more of the precincts that have not yet reported appear to come from Obama areas, so don't be surprised if you wake up and the margin is a little slimmer than it was when you went to bed.

Just to finish the delegate math ahead of us. The last two polls in PA put Clinton up by 4-6%. If that margin stays where it is, Clinton would only pick up somewhere around 10 delegates in Pennsylvania.

The last several polls in North Carolina put Obama up by 10% or more. If that margin held, Obama would pick up 10-15 delegates in North Carolina, thereby off-setting anything Clinton picked up in Pennsylvania.

Of course, PA is 7 weeks away and NC isn't until May. Given how much we saw the polls move just in the last few days in TX and OH, a lot could happen in those states before voters head to the polls.

By the way, there are no polls (that I know of) in either Wyoming or Mississippi. If we assume that Obama wins Mississippi with a similar share of the vote as he captured in neighboring Alabama, he would pick up 3 or 4 delegates. Let's assume that he wins Wyoming 2-to-1, as he has in the other western caucuses. He would net another 3 or 4 delegates from that contest. That means he would have gained back 6 to 8 delegates by this time next week. That may only be about 1/3 to 1/2 of what Clinton has gained tonight. Of course, it is important to remember, Obama has a lead of about 150 pledged delegates, so Clinton can't catch up by gaining 20 one week, but giving back half the next.

The TX Sec. of State site is presently estimating that Clinton will take 65 delegates to 61 for Obama. A net gain of 4. We'll see if she expands on that any more. As noted earlier, VT and RI are a wash. It is unclear how the Texas caucuses may break down, but the preliminary evidence from below suggests that they may mirror the primary vote. So, it will come down to the margin in Ohio. She currently is up 55-43%. If that holds, then she would pick up 15-17 delegates from Ohio. That would mean that her total gain from the night would be somewhere between 20 and 25 delegates.

In Texas, Obama won the early vote 50.6-47.7%. The election day vote is almost exactly flipped right now, 50.7-47.3% in favor of Clinton.

MSNBC calls Texas for Clinton. She has officially won the night, and this campaign certainly goes on for a least a month and a half longer.

Looking at the county-by-county vote totals in Texas. Obama won big among the early vote in Harris County, but so far he is only winning the vote that was cast today narrowly. Is this a sign of how the campaign turned in the last few days?

Speaking of which, the exit polls show that among those that decided in the last three days (10% of the electorate in Texas) Clinton won 69-31%. And she won those who decided today (11% of the electorate) 55-45%. That is a big advantage for Clinton among late deciders.

Keith Olberman mentions that Obama called Clinton tonight. MSNBC pundit quips, "I'm surprised he didn't wait till 3am to call."

And what about those caucuses? Well, the Texas Democratic Party is providing some initial vote totals from a handful of senate districts.

SD 8: Obama 62%, Clinton 37% (the primary vote there is presently 59-41% for Obama).
SD 14: Obama 66-33% (primary vote is 63-36% for Obama).
SD 16: Obama 60-39% (primary vote is 53-46% for Obama).
SD 29: Clinton 75-24% (primary vote is 69-29% for Clinton).
SD 30: Clinton 59-40% (primary vote is 61-36% for Clinton).

Bottom line: Obama doesn't appear to be dominating these caucuses the way he has dominated caucus-only states. In these five districts, they appear to be going roughly like the primary vote.

The Secretary of State's website in Texas is providing a running delegate breakdown along with their report of the vote totals. Though Clinton leads by about 50,000 votes, she is presently down by two delegates.

It is increasingly looking as though the VT/RI combo will be a wash for the candidates. If the current leads hold, Obama will net 3 delegates in VT and Clinton will net 3 delegates in RI.

He just started speaking, but it sounds as though Obama may be breaking out a new speech tonight. For many, his New Hampshire speech was the strongest of his campaign. Will he pull another well-received speech out of a rough night?

If you are a Democrat the problematic number for you is 7. That is how many weeks before Pennsylvania votes. Which means , at a minimum, there are seven weeks for McCain to raise money and benefit from the increasingly negative Democratic campaign.

Clinton is out speaking and sounding very much like the upstart underdog. She begins by noting that she was counted out but refused to be knocked out. She then goes on to say, "we're just getting started." Don't forget, McCain's nomination campaign just ended.

Update on the "big four" districts in Texas that hold the large delegate counts:

SD 14 (8 delegates): Obama 64%, Clinton 35%
SD 13 (7 delegates): Obama 77%, Clinton 22%
SD 23 (6 delegates): Obama 77%, Clinton 22%
SD 25 (6 delegates): Obama 67%, Clinton 31%

Just so you don't think I'm forgetting about the caucuses, the Texas Democratic Party website presently has this notice up: "As of 10pm, we are not yet reporting Precinct Convention results."
The early vote totals just came in from Harris County (Houston). Obama got 110k of those votes to 66k for Clinton.


Mike Wagner said...

Brian, your questions about the late deciders is a good one. I see a parallel between the early debates and the negative advertisements.

That is, in the early debates, Obama (to put it charitably) did not set the world on fire. Now, he's pretty good at it.

His campaign's response to the "3am" ad was not strong. His speech tonight with respect to the tone of the Democratic campaign was not strong (The "We won't be distracted" line). He needs to find a way to toughen up the rhetoric without compromising the new process and politics he is promising. He needs to improve how he deals with politics-as-combat on the national level.

Brian Schaffner said...

This is interesting...remember the South Carolina debate? That was as harsh as he has been in this campaign, with his line about how she was sitting on the board of Wal Mart when he was doing community work. That seemed to work, in South Carolina at least.

Of course, back then, he was being double-teamed by Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, now he is being double-teamed by John McCain and Hillary Clinton.