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News: Updated Feb. 13

Obama Obama won
Clinton Clinton won
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News from the Votemaster

By sweeping the Potomac Primaries, Barack Obama has now won eight contests in a row. And in a country attuned to 50% + one vote elections, the size of his victories was impressive:

Where Obama Clinton McCain Huckabee Paul
D.C. 75% 24% 68% 17% 8%
Maryland 59% 36% 55% 29% 6%
Virginia 64% 35% 50% 41% 5%

In a development that should make Republicans nervous, Obama got more votes (619,000) in Virginia than all the Republican candidates combined (485,000). In fact, the combined Democratic vote in Virginia was more than double the combined Republican vote. And this in a state that hasn't voted Democratic in a Presidential election since 1964 when Lyndon Johnson wiped Barry Goldwater off the map. If the Democratic enthusiasm is running so high in places like Virginia, what's going to happen in the general election in true swing states like Missouri, Iowa, New Mexico, and Colorado? In Maryland, the Democrats got over 2.5x more votes than the Republicans, but Maryland is traditionally a blue state, so that was to be expected.

The Virginia exit polls, as reported by the NY Times, are enlightening. Obama swept every demographic category except white women, which Clinton won 54% to 45%. Black women went for Obama by the amazing margin of 85% to 15%. Thus black women clearly identify by race stronger than by gender. In contrast, white men went for Obama 56% to 42%. In what should be a huge red flag for Clinton, voters making less than $50,000 a year, the core of her base, voted for Obama 60% to 38% and seniors (60+) went for Obama 54% to 46%. Obama also swept up the voters without college degrees 61% to 39%. None of this is good news for Clinton. Her base has been the downscale, older, high school graduates, which is not a bad base to have since there are a lot of voters in these categories, but they seem to be moving away from her. She did slightly better in Maryland, where she nosed out Obama among the seniors 48% to 47% but still lost among voters making less than $50,000 a year and voters without college degrees.

Now on to the Republican side. John McCain won all three primaries, increasing his delegate total and making him unstoppable at this point. But as the votes show, there is still a lot of resistance to him. In Virginia he got just 50% of the vote, for example. He may have more delegates than Huckabee, but he hasn't closed the deal entirely yet. McCain's victory was not as broad as Obama's. In Virginia he lost among younger voters (17-29), those without college degrees, conservatives, and Protestants. While Huckabee can make life slightly uncomfortable for McCain for a few more weeks, he has virtually no chance of winning the nomination. Apparently Huckabee's strategy at this point is to do sufficiently well that McCain feels forced to choose him as Veep to mollify the extreme conservatives in the party.

Here are the delegate counts made by several news organizations. There is disagreement because the process is so complicated. For example, in Iowa, no actual delegates to the DNC or RNC have been chosen yet. Instead, delegates to the district caucus were chosen in January. From those numbers, one can try to make an estimate of what will come out of the pipeline at the state convention in June, but it is still a guess. Some news organizations are more or less aggressive about making guesses.

Source Clinton Obama Edwards McCain Romney Huckabee Paul
NY Times 1041 927 12 707 139 198 5
Associated Press 1198 1223 26 821 288 241 14
CNN 1190 1215 26 812 286 217 16
MSNBC 969 1078 26 801 282 240 14

Obama hasn't even gotten the nomination and already he has coattails. In congressional district MD-04 in suburban Montgomery and Prince George's Counties surrounding D.C., there was a fierce battle in the Democratic primary for a seat in the House of Representatives. In that district, a progressive young black community organizer, Donna Edwards, challenged and beat a popular eight-term incumbent Democrat, Albert Wynn. Edwards ran against him in 2006 and lost. The difference this time was all the enthusiastic young Obama supporters who showed up to vote. Since MD-04 has a PVI of D+30, she can go visit Nancy Pelosi today to start discussing office space and committee assignments. The Washington Post has a story about her upset win. In MD-01, Wayne Gilchrest (R), was defeated by state senator Andy Harris (R) in a primary.

Donna Edwards

The next contests are primaries in Wisconsin and Hawaii next Tuesday. Here are today's polls.

State Pollster End date Clinton Obama McCain Huckabee Paul
North Carolina SurveyUSA Feb. 11 40% 50% 45% 40% 5%
Ohio SurveyUSA Feb. 11 56% 39% 50% 36% 6%
Rhode Island Brown U. Feb. 10 36% 28%      

-- The Votemaster
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