Saturday, January 19, 2008

Clinton and Romney claim Nevada Victories and SC polls just closed

Former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney made it two in a row with an easy win in the Nevada GOP caucus this morning to go along with his win in the Michigan primary on Tuesday. Taking a winning streak into an off week won't hurt him either with Florida voters now having just less than two weeks to consider what still remains an open race on the Republican side. While Romney's camp made a last minute decision to focus on Nevada every other candidate (well, almost every other one--Giuliani is still in Florida) was putting in time in South Carolina. The polls just closed in the Palmetto state and early exit polls indicate the economy and immigration (see 7:09pm post) were on the minds of South Carolina's Republican primary voters; a clear advantage for Huckabee. TRACKING...

7:41pm: Very early but with one percent of precincts in, McCain has a 38-23 lead over Huckabee (Look, I said it was early.).

8:05pm: Just to show you that 1% isn't representative of the entire state of South Carolina on the GOP side: McCain 34, Huckabee 30 with 12% in. This one could be fun. Third place seems like a real battle between Thompson and Romney with hovering around 14%.

9:29pm: The New York Times is calling the race for McCain. When you look at that 15% that Thompson got you can't help but wonder how much that hurt Huckabee's chances at a win in SC. He (Huckabee) has a tough row to hoe now.

Meanwhile the Democrats had a caucus in Nevada as well, where Hillary Clinton continued a streak of her own. She has now run her streak of victories to two (three if you want to count Michigan and the DNC isn't) after an initial setback in Iowa's caucuses. And boy were the polls from earlier in the week wrong. What looked like a tight three-way race for the Silver state turned into a tight two-way race as former North Carolina senator, John Edwards managed a meager four percent of the vote. Clinton and Obama split the remaining 96%, 51-45. Obama didn't seem to get the support he was hoping for from the endorsement of the Culinary Workers union. While the union's endorsement was seen as a big deal, it didn't prove influential among the rank and file members as some strayed into the Clinton camp.

While the GOP is off until Florida on January 29, the Democrats have their own primary in South Carolina next Saturday where the support of African Americans will be key to which ever candidate claims victory there.

Nevada results.


Robert said...

Huckabee's problems are money, organization, and Thompson. If Thompson drops out Huckabee's chances of picking off some Southern states. Huckabee probably would have won SC if any of three things hadn't been against him: (1)the bad weather in the upstate where Huckabee was doing well, (2) the heavy military vote in Charleston and Sumter, and (3) Fred Thompson. I still have trouble seeing Huckabee winning, but I still see him as a player.

On the Democratic side Hillary can deliver the knock-out blow to Barack in South Carolina that Barack could have done to Hillary in New Hampshire. This primary is a must win for Obama.

I am still wondering about the money. CNN has a nice graphic on the money, but it is only reflective of the situation at the end of September.

PHGurian said...

McCain is now the frontrunner for the Republican nomination. He's leading in the polls in Florida, in Califonia and in the national polls. The South Carolina results might give him an extra bounce going into Florida and Super Tuesday. Huckabee has been weakened; Giuliani is not viable without a win in Florida. Romney has the money and several victories to remain competitive. Soon, some Republicans may see McCain's nomination as inevitable and jump on his bandwagon (making his nomination inevitable).

Josh Putnam said...

Paul, I agree with your assessment of McCain. This election cycle and inevitability have gone together like oil and water so far though. I keep coming back to the idea that this is a completely unprecedented situation for the GOP and its voters. We've seen those effects in the races thus far. And while my faith in the usual inevitability of these things is shaken, I don't (right now) see who is going to challenge McCain at this point.

Rob, I think the Dems are still in delegate counting mode and will be for the foreseeable future (regardless of the outcome in South Carolina). If Edwards is as ABC (anybody but Clinton) as he has seemed lately then he needs to make a decision about the role he wants to play in who the eventual nominee is. If he holds out until the convention to throw his support Obama's way then I think Clinton's superdelegate lead trumps Obama plus Edwards. If he bows out now and endorses Obama then that may provide Obama with something of a lasting boost that could ultimately lead to some inevitability of his own (in hindsight of course).

But I think the South Carolina outcome will be close with Florida giving Clinton a decisive vic...oh wait Florida doesn't count. The Clinton camp has to be kicking itself over that. That could have been the death knell prior to Super Tuesday for her campaign.

I'm surprised an enterprising person hasn't developed a way to track cash on hand stats in real time. The new FEC reports are due on Jan. 31 so that's not too far off. All I've been able to track down is that Giuliani's blog has him at $12.7 million as of Dec. 31. Here's the link. Take it for what it's worth.

Robert said...

I won't consider McCain the front runner unless he wins Florida. He won't be able to count on independents in Florida. I don't a win in Florida is a given. It looked like he was going to win Michigan. I still think Rudy will do well as there are lots of New Yorkers down there. There will be 3 hours every day between now and the Florida primary trying to tear down McCain as not a real Republican. I 'm going to try to listen to Rush this week to see how he is going to play this one.

Obama needs a convincing win in SC. Less than 5% will probably not be enough. It will be interesting to see what happens in the debate tonight. The debate appears to have been a major factor in the Nevada caucuses according to the exit poll data where Clinton scored real points. Obama is going to need to show some backbone without whining and being hostile.

Josh, thanks for the heads up on the cash. I will be very interested in the Jan 31 reports.

Josh Putnam said...

Rob, that's a great point about the independents. It is time to start looking at which states have open/closed/semi-open primaries and which states have winner-take-all delegate allocation methods. That math is already starting to play a role. The Green Papers (link in right sidebar) has all that information.

Yes, the debate is key tonight for both top Democrats. I disagree with you though that Obama has to win decisively in SC. As long as he can keep the delegate counts close then he has a leg to stand on. Now, it would not hurt him to go into Super Tuesday with a big SC win, but I think for him the important part is winning and taking that momentum into February 5.

Robert said...

Obama and Clinton are not looking good. Edwards may get some benefit from this debate.

If Obama does not win decisively in SC, I don't see how he is going to win enough states and delegates on Tsunami Tuesday. It will be an indication that he has not broken through on the African-American vote. It will discourage the young and the African Americans who will get discouraged and not show up. It appears that the Clintons are working at voter suppression, a technique perfected by Karl Rove.