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News: Updated Feb. 20

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News from the Votemaster

Barack Obama made it 10 in a row by winning the Wisconsin primary and Hawaii caucus. He is ahead in momentum and delegates, but as Yogi Berra once famously pointed out, it ain't over til it's over. If Hillary Clinton can pull off big victories in Ohio and Texas on March 4 (and maybe little victories in Vermont and Rhode Island), she can blunt his momentum and get back even. If Obama wins Ohio and Texas, Clinton is basically finished. Thus in contrast to what everyone expected at the start of the campaign, superduper Tuesday on Feb. 5 didn't determine the winner. It will be later events.

Here are the results from yesterday's elections.

State Clinton Obama McCain Huckabee Paul
Hawaii 24% 76%      
Wisconsin 41% 58% 55% 37% 5%
Washington     49% 22% 7%

Obama's win in Hawaii, where 20 pledged and 9 unpledged delegates were at stake, was expected since he is a native son. Besides, Hawaii is a caucus state and winning caucuses requires superior on-the-ground organization, something Obama's enthusiastic young supporters have provided in spades.

Wisconsin, with 48 pledged and 26 unpledged delegates, is a different story. It is ajacent to the state Obama represents in the Senate, Illinois, but Clinton was born in Illinois, so that might have been worth something. Apparently not enough though.

Now let's look at the Wisconsin exit polls as reported by the NY Times. Obama won the men by 61% to 35% but he also (narrowly) won the women, 51% to 49%. He won the people making more than $50,000 a year easily, 59% to 39% but he also won the under $50,000 voters (narrowly), again 51% to 49%. Women and downscale voters have been the core of Clinton's candidacy up until now. If Obama can win huge victories among men and upscale voters and break even with women and downscale voters, Clinton is in deep trouble.

Education is probably the clearest separator between the two of them. Among high school graduates, Clinton won by 8%. Among people with some college, Obama won by 14%. With voters holding a college degree he won by 18%. Finally, among people holding a postgraduate degree by a huge 32%. The picture is clear here: the more education you have, the more likely you are to support Obama. In Wisconsin, 73% of the Democratic voters had at least some college. It is interesting to see how Obama is viewed. Fundamentally, he is not seen as the black candidate (except by blacks, who are a tiny fraction of the Wisconsin population). Instead he is seen as the educated candidate, a guy with degrees with Columbia and the Harvard Law School (which apparently trumps degrees from Wellesley and Yale Law School, which is what Hillary Clinton has and which to non-Harvard graduates would seem entirely equivalent).

Another surprising item is the partisan breakdown of the vote. Among Democrats, Obama squeak by Clinton 50% to 49%. But among independents and Republicans he won near 2 to 1. Religion was not a huge factor, with Obama winning both the churched and the unchurched. Among Protestants Obama won by 14%; among Catholics Clinton edged him out by 1%. No Jews were reported voting (probably both of Wisconsin's U.S. senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold--both Democrats and both Jewish--were out of town).

Finally age played out as it has in the past. the 72% of the voters under 65 preferred Obama 61% to 37% while those 65 and older went for Clinton 60% to 39%. No specific breakdown by age and gender was reported, but based on past data, Clinton's lead among seniors may be due to a prodominance of older women.

All in all, Obama is making great inroads into Clinton's base. He is winning his base of educated, upscale, and young voters by huge margins and fighting her to a draw among her core supporters of less well educated, downscale, and older voters. Even more frightening for her must be the thought that both Texas and Ohio allow independents to vote in either primary. With the Republican race all over but the shoutin', most of the independents in Texas and Ohio are going to vote in the Democratic primaries there and they have been breaking 2 to 1 for Obama over Clinton. If the election comes down to Obama vs. McCain, the independents are going to be in hog heaven--two candidates they really like. If it is Clinton vs. McCain, they are going to break strongly for McCain, except maybe older women. And even that is less sure, since a 72-year-old candidate may exert a lot of pull on the geriatic vote.

While it will take several days for the polls to reflect yesterday's results, the trading markets respond much faster. At www.intrade.com as of this morning stock in Obama was trading at $79 and stock in Clinton was trading at $19. This means you can buy 10 shares of Obama for $79. If he gets the nomination, you get $100. If he loses the nomination, you get zero. If you think Hillary Clinton is going to win the nomination, this is a good time to buy stock in her. For every $19 you invest, you get $100 if she is nominated. Here are the charts for the past 90 days.

Clinton Obama

In the general election market, 10 shares of Obama to win the Presidency cost $56, 10 shares of Clinton cost $12 and 10 shares of McCain cost $35. The political futures market thus thinks it likely that Barack Obama will not only win the Democratic nomination, but will also win the general election and gives Hillary Clinton hardly any chance to become President. McCain may think so, too, at least about the nomination part. In his speech yesterday, he began attacking Obama already. Nary a word about Clinton.

Now on the the much less exciting Republican side. Mike Huckabee keeps plugging away, but it is not entirely clear why. John McCain basically has the nomination locked up. However, he got only 55% of the vote in Wisconsin, which means that he still has his work cut out for him convincing conservatives that he is their man, despite endorsements by two President Bushes (two Presidents Bush? like two attorneys general?). McCain beat Huckabee in most demographic categories, including men, women, upscale, downscale, college educated, HS grad, Protestant, and Catholic. However, Huckabee won by 20% among evangelicals and by 23% among the voters for whom "shares my values" is top priority.

Here is a new Ohio poll, taken before the Wisconsin results were known.

State Pollster End date Clinton Obama McCain Huckabee Paul
Ohio SurveyUSA Feb. 18 52% 43% 61% 29% 5%

The polling results for all states are available as a Web page and in .csv format.

Here are the delegate totals from various news sources. They differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention. Also, some sources try to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and unpledged delegates, who also get to vote at the convention. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.


Source Clinton Obama Edwards McCain Romney Huckabee Paul
Washington Post 1297 1423   942   245  
NY Times 1081 1078 12 808 139 198 5
AP 1245 1319 26 942 253 245 14
CNN 1239 1301 26 918 286 217 16
ABC 1261 1355 35 895 274 242 14
CBS 1252 1349 26 856 166 199 10
MSNBC 1262 1323   822 282 243 104

Needed to win: Democrats 2025, Republicans 1191.

Here is another source for delegate totals.

-- The Votemaster
WWW www.electoral-vote.com