Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kentucky/Oregon Primaries Live Blog

12:46am: Well, as promised, that was a watered-down version of the traditional primary night live blog. Frankly, I'm not sure what else there is to say at this point. This is getting a bit redundant. Obama struggles in the Appalachia region (WV, KY, central PA, southern OH, etc.) but there is no way he isn't going to be the nominee at this point. Frankly, anyone who was really doing the math has known since the end of February that Clinton was facing a very difficult climb; it is no surprise that she fell short.

The only truly interesting thing is to see how Clinton exits. My guess is that FL and MI get half their delegates back when the Rules and Bylaws Committee meets on May 30th. Even when that happens, Obama will still have a majority of the pledged delegates and will not be too far off of the overall delegate majority. In the meantime, I'd expect to see a fair number of superdelegates coming Obama's way in the next, many of whom may make the the point that he was the pledged delegate winner so he should be the nominee. (Not to mention that Chuck Todd just made the point that a majority of the uncommitted superdelegates are from states Obama won). Then, on the night of June 3rd, after the final votes are cast, I'd expect a gracious concession speech from Clinton and an equally gracious victory speech from Obama. But that is just a guess. The only thing I know for sure is that this has been a crazy ride (and a political scientist's dream, in many ways). It is kinda sad that it is winding down.

Democratic Convention Watch points out that not only has Obama won the pledged delegate majority if you do not include FL and MI, but he has also clinched a majority of pledged delegates under almost any compromise that is likely to pass out of the Rules and Bylaws Committee at the end of the month. The only way he hasn't clinched it is if you seat MI and FL delegates "as is." There is no way that the DNC is going to do that and allow MI and FL to send delegates without any penalty.

The "exit poll" out of Oregon is showing a 56-42% Obama margin. If that is correct, then the pollster.com average will have nailed the margins in both states almost perfectly. But let's see if that is really the Oregon margin.

Nevermind on that whole "gun shy" thing. They called for Obama right away.

By the way, there will be six add-on superdelegates chosen between today and June 3rd. All six come from states Obama won and will, therefore, likely be Obama supporters. If that is the case, then Obama need only about 20 more superdelegates endorsements to be able to claim an overall delegate majority on June 3rd (though the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee may change the magic number when it rules on the FL and MI challenge on May 30th).

Ten minutes from the Oregon "polls closing." Will Obama get an immediate call there? The difficult part of calling Oregon is that there isn't really exit polling. Rather, the "exit poll" is just another poll that has been conducted over several days leading up to the election. May mean that the networks are slightly more gun shy on the call.

Interestingly, CNN and MSNBC seem to have slightly different pledged delegate counts. CNN says he has already captured a majority of pledged delegates while MSNBC says he is one shy and will have to wait until the Oregon delegates are allocated.

Democratic Convention Watch lists superdelegates who are members of the "Pelosi Club." This refers to a group of superdelegates who have said that they will vote for whichever candidate wins the majority of pledged delegates. The question is whether the "Pelosi Club" will make their endorsements tomorrow, now that Obama has clinched this metric. My guess is that, at the very least, its namesake will not endorse until after June 3rd.

Votes won't be reported out of Oregon for another hour still, but the Obama campaign has sent out an email with the following:

The polls are closed in Kentucky and votes are being counted in Oregon, and it's clear that tonight we have reached a major milestone on this journey.

We have won an absolute majority of all the delegates chosen by the people in this Democratic primary process."

9:55pm: Clinton's victory in Kentucky is certainly large in terms of sheer numbers. Although the state is much smaller and has fewer delegates, the number of votes she will win by is larger than her margin in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

7:47pm: This post is about right. I would add that the Clinton campaign could have said similar things at any point over the last few months and been very wrong. The crystal clear pattern throughout has been that the later a superdelegate has made an endorsement, the more likely that endorsement was for Obama.

Check out the Clinton margins in the counties in eastern Kentucky. She is winning a lot of those counties by a margin of 85-10% or more.

As expected, Clinton will win Kentucky by a significant margin. I'd imagine that her margin will continue to grow as the western part of the state comes in.

I probably won't be blogging as much as usual tonight for two reasons. First, we pretty much know who the nominee is going to be, so the only thing that is really left to determine is how this is going to end, not what the ending will be. Second, there are four hours between when the Kentucky polls close (7pm) and when the Oregon "polls close" at 11pm (I put that in quotes since this is an all mail election). I doubt there will be an abundance of news to discuss during these four hours.

I assume that the networks will be calling Kentucky right at 7pm. If not, then that will be the first surprise of the evening.

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