Update (20 Feb. 08): In campaign contests so far, Barack Obama has polled the best among black, more wealthy and educated voters and college students, while rival Hillary Clinton has been able to count on women, low-income voters and blue-collar workers. But in early exit polls tonight, Obama held Clinton to a virtual tie among Wisconsin Democratic primary voters who said they have a union member in their household — 50 percent for Clinton to 49 percent for Obama — and actually edged her among women, 51 percent to 49 percent. Clinton held a narrow advantage over Obama among Catholic poll respondents — who made up 43 percent of voters interviewed — 51 percent to 48 percent. She also held narrow leads among voters with only a high school education, people 60 or older and those making between $15,000-$30,000 a year. But Obama kept those margins close and took easy wins among his traditional base of supporters. Among voters 49 years old and younger he had a significant 64-39 percent advantage over Clinton. College-educated voters, who made up 72 percent of those polled, favored him 59 percent to 39 percent. Obama had a slight edge among voters who called themselves Democrats — 50 percent to 49 percent — but overwhelmingly topped Clinton among the 27 percent of respondents who called themselves independents, taking 63 percent of their votes to Clinton's 36 percent. (more...)
(John Zogby of Zogby International). At this time of writing, the two candidates are nearly tied among pledged delegates, and even if Obama wins all of the remaining states with 55% of the vote, he still falls short of the 2,025 total delegates he needs to secure the nomination. Meanwhile, Clinton would continue to rack up almost the same number of delegates based on proportional voting.And if negative (or at least not glowing) stories begin to appear in rapid succession, will his supporters still be so enthusiastic?
Bob Gardner, a veteran political ad man and Republican who has worked with candidates including Gerald Ford and Dick Cheney, said the shifting momentum has turned the race between Clinton, once considered the indomitable leader, and Obama, the former upstart, into an entirely new kind of competition."It's Mac versus PC, Starbucks versus Dunkin' Donuts, Leno versus Letterman," said Gardner, who heads San Francisco-based The Advocacy Group, a crisis communications, corporate and political ad shop. "Hillary is a candidate; Obama is a movement."
But unless there's a shift in the "big mo," it may be that the best scenario for a Clinton nomination may come down to "you hope the other side screws up," he said. "That's a pretty thin reed on which to base a prospect of success."
"I just don't see how the numbers work for her," longtime Democratic consultant Garry South said. "She would have to win 65 percent victories" in most of the big remaining states to surpass Obama in delegates "and get to where she needs to be to win.""The momentum isn't with her," said South, the former senior adviser to California Gov. Gray Davis. "It's an indefinable factor in a political campaign - but an important one."
Adam Mendelsohn, a longtime adviser to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said being on the downside of political momentum is "like flying a plane. When you go into a tailspin like this, the question is: Do you have enough time to pull yourself out?""Barack Obama controls it now," Mendelsohn said of the presidential campaign field. "He has the strength, the money and he has the front-runner status. He controls his fate. It may not be up to her to change it."
Mrs. Clinton’s advisers acknowledged that it would be difficult for her to catch up in the race for pledged delegates even if she succeeded in winning Ohio and Texas in three weeks and Pennsylvania in April. They said the Democratic Party’s rules, which award delegates relatively evenly among the candidates based on the proportion of the vote they receive, would require her to win by huge margins in those states to match Mr. Obama in delegates won through voting.
Now she would have to beat Mr. Obama by more than 20 percentage points in order to pick up a majority of delegates in both states.
Mr. Plouffe said by his count, Mr. Obama had won 14 states by a margin of over 20 percentage points or more; Mrs. Clinton has won two states by that margin.
In Texas, Mr. Penn said Mrs. Clinton would be helped by the Latino vote — which he said could ultimately be as much as 40 percent of the electorate.But Mrs. Clinton faces another problem there in the form of that state’s unusual delegation allocation rules. Delegates are allocated to state senatorial districts based on Democratic voter turn-out in the last election. Bruce Buchanan, a professor of political science at the University of Texas at Austin, noted that in the last election, turnout was low in predominantly Hispanic districts and unusually high in urban African-American districts. That means more delegates will be available in districts that, based on the results so far, could be expected to go heavily for Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton, Dr. Buchanan said, “has got her work cut out for her.”
The projected delegate count by the Associated Press puts Obama ahead of Clinton, 1275 to 1220 - with 2,025 delegates needed to win the Democratic presidential nomination.
A delegate count by The New York Times, including projections from caucuses where delegates have not yet been chosen, showed Mr. Obama with a 113-delegate lead over Mrs. Clinton: 1,095 to 982.
Delegate counts by other news organizations and by the campaigns showed somewhat different results, reflecting the difficulty of trying to make exact delegate counts at this point in the process. The figures do not include superdelegates.
Mr. Obama’s campaign said that he had a lead of 1,139 to 1,003; by the count of the Clinton campaign organization, Mr. Obama was doing even better: 1,141 to 1,004 for Mrs. Clinton.