Indiana & North Carolina
It’s Election Day (again), and the initial exits point to some potential problems for Obama as far as the makeup of the electorate is concerned: there is relatively low black and youth turnout in both states. Other exits show that Wright has had a significant influence on these primaries, and this has obviously worked to Clinton’s benefit. A Clinton win in Carolina no longer seems so far-fetched. I still doubt it will happen, but everything appears to be breaking her way.
Rasmussen has some Wright-related polling that has a finding that seemed counterintuitive to me: more people were less likely to vote for Obama after he denounced Wright than before, and this was concentrated most among Republicans (38% v. 15%) and white voters (32% less likely v. 20% more). Overall, 24% were more likely, 27% less likely, but Obama’s disowning of Wright bizarrely seems to have hurt him most among those people to whom the disowning was supposed to appeal the most and it helped him most among black voters (43% more likely v. 12% less) who might have viewed the disowning more negatively. In short, his damage control does not seem to have worked. This makes me wonder what would have satisfied these white voters, or if there was anything Obama could have done then or earlier that would have made any difference.
Update: According to CNN’s North Carolina exit polling, Obama should end up with about 54% to her 46%. Networks have called the state for Obama. It appears as if the almost worst-case scenario for Democrats has developed, in which Clinton will eke out a narrow victory in one state, Obama wins one by a reduced margin, and it will be as if these elections never took place.
Correction: Updated exit polls show a larger Obama win in North Carolina, more like 60-40. However, with 34% reporting Clinton holds a sizeable 14-point lead in Indiana.
Second Update: So it seems as if Clinton’s lead will keep shrinking to a very narrow margin, while Obama’s keeps growing by leaps and bounds. With 15% reporting, he’s up by 28 in N.C. At this point, her Indiana win is going to appear so much less important than his win that it could bring things to a more rapid close. Now the Democrats really have marched themselves off a cliff, and nothing that happens in the next month can change that.
In case I hadn’t made it explicit, the margin of Obama’s victory seems to make my statements earlier in the post look pretty stupid.
Third Update: Obama’s gaudy 20+ point margin has been shrinking into the mid-teens. It’s beginning to look as if that Rasmussen 9-point margin might not be so far off. Meanwhile, Clinton leads by just four. The hilarious thing about the entire night is that Obama will come out of both primaries with a net gain of perhaps 7 pledged delegates. They have got to fix their ludicrous system.