Primary Day [UPDATE: Heavy turnout]

Ken AshfordElection 2008Leave a Comment

I’m in North Carolina, and have already voted.  [UPDATE: If you are in NC, here’s some voting information].

[UPDATE:  Heavy turnout reported as of noon today,  More here]

The eyes of the nation are on this state and Indiana, but my eyes are on Indiana.  If Obama can eke out a win there, even a minor one, it may be just enough for Hillary to throw in the towel.  It certainly will help Obama with the undecided superdelegates.

Unfortunately, I place the chance of that happening at about 10%.  Later deciders typically have gone for Clinton (except in the South), and she already enjoys a 5 point lead (roughly) in Indiana going into today’s primaries.

Anyway, as part of today’s election analysis, I’m going to answer the "eight questions" that WaPo reporter Dan Balz put to himself in today’s column.  (I haven’t read his answers beforehand).

1. Has Obama put the Rev. Jeremiah Wright controversy behind him?

Yes.  The media has played it out.  Nothing more can be said.  To the extent it has affected voters’ opinions (and it probably affected some), the "damage" has been done.  But my sense is that the moajority of voters are concerned about the economy and gas prices, and have come to see the whole "controversy" as a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

2. Will the gas tax holiday proposal help or hurt Clinton?

Hurt mostly.  Anyone who has heard the gas tax holiday proposal has also heard the criticisms of it — specifically, it won’t put much money back in the consumer profits, and gas station owners won’t necessarily lower prices.  Also, it hurts jobs.

States will lose revenue earmarked to improve highways and infrastructure.


Need I say more?

Clinton’s proposal also has resulted in having her placed shoulder-to-shoulder with McCain.  It also reaks of obvious pandering.  Certainly, some will not see this, but the majority of voters will see this as Washington-as-usual, and think more seriously about Obama.

3. Will a Clinton win in either contest guarantee that the race will go to the convention?

Guarantee?  No.  But it will certainly help.  If Clinton pulls an upset in North Carolina, that will come closest to guaranteeing a race all the way to the convention. 

But Clinton is in for the long haul.  The only thing that will make her go away is when the math gets too bad that even she can’t deny it.

4. After today, which state will be most important to determining the Democratic contest?

None.  The rest of the states are too small to make any significant difference in terms of delegate count.

5. Is there a person remaining whose endorsement could make a difference in the race?

Al Gore and John Edwards.

6. If Obama wins the nomination, can he win working-class white voters in November?

Maybe not win, but he can cut deeply into McCain’s perceived strength in that area.  Working class voters are the ones who suffer most from the economic policies of Bush — policies which McCain for the most part embraces.  If Obama can get that message out, he can take a significant chunk of working class white voters.

7. If Clinton wins the nomination, will black voters support the Democratic ticket?

Of course.

8. Who do Republican leaders see as the tougher opponent — Obama or Clinton?

Obama.  This can be shown by the efforts of Limbaugh and others to get Republicans to vote for Hillary in the primaries.  They want to run against Hillary.


This prediction sounds about right to me:

I should make an official prediction about tonight, right? Well, clearly the universe is conspiring to make this primary last as long as possible. So what’s going to happen is that (of course) Clinton will win Indiana and Obama will win North Carolina. But Clinton will win Indiana by a larger margin than Obama wins North Carolina, and Clinton’s supporters will note in somber tones that Obama lost the white vote in NC. At the same time, because NC has substantially more delegates than Indiana, Obama will actually make a small gain in net delegates causing his supporters (i.e. me) to become further enraged at Clinton’s refusal to admit that she’s lost and the press’ insistence on indulging the idea that there’s real doubt about the ultimate outcome.


Poll roundup:


Composite score:

Clinton 49.7
Obama 43.9

Insider Advantage. 5/4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (4/30-5/1 results)

Clinton 48 (47)
Obama 44 (40)

Zogby. 5/4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (4/30-5/1 results)

Clinton 42 (42)
Obama 44 (42)

Suffolk. 5/3-4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (No trend lines)

Clinton 49
Obama 43

PPP (PDF). 5/3-4. Likely voters. MoE 3.4% (4/26-27 results)

Clinton 51 (50)
Obama 46 (42)

ARG. 5/2-4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (4/30-5/1 results)

Clinton 53 (53)
Obama 45 (44)

SurveyUSA. 5/2-4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (4/25-27 results)

Clinton 54 (52)
Obama 42 (43)

SUSA says 12 points, but I find it hard to believe. I think Zogby is full of crap. The six-point composite sounds reasonable. All of these polls except SUSA show movement in Obama’s direction.


Composite score:

Obama 49.9
Clinton 42.2

Insider Advantage. 5/4. Likely voters. MoE 3% (5/1 results)

Obama 48 (49)
Clinton 45 (44)

Zogby. 5/3-4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (4/30-5/1 results)

Obama 48 (50)
Clinton 40 (34)

PPP (PDF). 5/3-4. Likely voters. MoE 3.4% (4/26-27 results)

Obama 53 (51)
Clinton 43 (39)

ARG. 5/2-4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (4/30-5/1 results)

Obama 50 (52)
Clinton 42 (41)

SurveyUSA. 5/2-4. Likely voters. MoE 4% (4/26-28 results)

Obama 50 (49)
Clinton 45 (44)

For what it’s worth, SurveyUSA has had the best track record for accuracy this primary season.


CNN:  Record turnout in NC possible