Tuesday, March 4, 2008

March 4th Primaries Live Blog: Late Edition

Clinton will get to give a victory speech tonight; Obama likely will not, even if he wins in Texas. That has to help her campaign.

MSNBC just called Ohio for Clinton. But what will the margin end up being? That is, of course, critical for knowing how the delegates will be divided.

Keep an eye on the 13th district in Texas. There are 7 delegates available in that district with a 15% threshold...right now, Clinton has 14% of the vote in that district. If that held up, she would be shut out from getting any of those 7 delegates. A small thing, perhaps; but in the race the Democrats are in now, every delegate counts!

And according to the Columbus Dispatch, the Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) ballots should all be counted by...wait for it...4:30AM! Can I order a coffee now?

Clinton is holding a big lead in Ohio, but very little vote has been counted in Cleveland and Cincinnati, so that margin is likely to close a bit.

Also, in Texas, not even early votes have come in from Harris County (Houston).

After the 2004 general election and now tonight, not only do I feel like I know all of the Ohio counties' names, but I also think I know each voter's name by heart.

Suddenly, Clinton's lead in Rhode Island stretches out to 61-38%. If that lead held, she would pick up 5 delegates in Rhode Island, which would give her a +1 advantage in the VT/RI combo.

The New York Times has a great site that breaks the primary vote in Texas down by Senate districts. This is important since some Senate districts are worth a lot more delegates than others. Here is a key to the high delegate senate districts and what the early vote shows in those districts...bottom line, those high delegate districts are going strongly for Obama and he could off-set loses elsewhere in the state by winning with big margins in these places.

Big delegate areas:
SD 14 (8 delegates): Obama 66%, Clinton 34%
SD 13 (7 delegates): Obama 86%, Clinton 14%
SD 23 (6 delegates): Obama 77%, Clinton 22%
SD 25 (6 delegates): Obama 69%, Clinton 28%

If the Rhode Island margins stays about where it is (52-48%), Clinton would take 11 delegates from Rhode Island to 10 for Obama. That would make Obama +3 for the VT/RI combo.

With 50% of the precincts in, Obama leads Clinton 59-39% in Vermont. If that lead holds up, he will take 9 delegates from the state to Clinton's 6. This is precisely what the poll-based estimates I generated showed..

Early voting in heavily-Hispanic Hidalgo County (TX) came in 3-to-1 in favor of Clinton.

Huckabee is giving his farewell speech, and it looks like he emptied out the campaign's coffers by paying for an interesting big screen behind him.

Clinton wins Rhode Island. So, she finally breaks Obama's winning streak and the score is 1-1 for the night.

Tom Brokaw says that Obama's campaign has 50 superdelegates that they know will support him that they are ready to roll out when the time is right. Based on my last predictions, which I will be updating tomorrow, Obama would appear, at the present, to have the edge among superdelegates.

Here is what the Texas exit polls show so far:

Obama wins men 52-46%, though Obama and Clinton split white men evenly. Clinton wins women 53-46%, but wins white women 59-40%.

Obama wins blacks 85-15% and blacks make up 19% of the electorate, down slightly from 2004 (though these figures are early and may change). Latinos (30% of the electorate) go 63-35% for Clinton and whites (49% of the electorate) go 55-44% for Clinton.

This is striking: Obama only took a margin of 52-46% among independents and 53-46% among Republicans. Clinton won Democrats 52-47%. Those groups are all closer than we might have expected.

What does it all mean? Texas appears to be very close.

Exit polls from Rhode Island initially show a 52-48% advantage for Clinton.

Exit polls from Texas initially show Clinton over Obama 50-49%. Razor thin margin.

And John McCain is now officially the Republican nominee by virtue of winning Texas.

Too close to call for the Democrats in Rhode Island and Texas.

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