South Carolina results thread: Barack Obama crushes Clinton, Edwards third

9:25pm: Obama is by almost 30%, 55% to 26% with almost all precincts in (95%). In his victory speech, Obama emphasized the need for a new politics that he argues SC revealed, blaming the Clintons for their divisive politics: "We’re looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington – a status quo that extends beyond any particular party. And right now, that status quo is fighting back with everything it’s got."
One more note about the results is that turnout was truly outstanding -- more than 500,000 voters in the Democratic primary. And not only is that higher than the previous record of 290,000 (in 2004) it is also superior to the Republican turnout of last week (about 442,000). And this is South Carolina, a staunchly red state that Republicans dominate in federal elections.

: With 86% of the precincts reporting, Obama is holding to a massive lead, 54% to 27% for Clinton. Edwards failed to ride any late momentum, at 19%. News is that Edwards is launching ads in 9 states, showing no signs of heading out. Also, reports are that Clinton is heading to Florida on Sunday for fundraisers, which could be a violation of the pledge -- though it does not appear that she will hold any public events for now. And Ben Smith reports that Bill Clinton's image was booed at the Obama headquarters.

8:00pm: With 9% of the vote in, Obama is up 50% to 30% for Clinton and 20% for Edwards. Bill Clinton's comparison of Obama to Jesse Jackson is getting a lot of attention right now (though, as I already mentioned, those who say they paid attention to Bill Clinton these past two weeks went for Clinton more than those who did not, so the exit poll at least don't have much evidence of a Bill backlash).

7:35pm: NBC is being called Clinton for second place, a small consolation for Hillary in a disastrous night overall. Obama's victory could be as big as 30%, and he looks set to cross 50%. Good thing for Clinton that about 30% of the Florida electorate has already voted. (More about this later, but Gov. Crist of Florida is endorsing McCain, a big (and slightly unexpected) boost for the AZ Senator.)

7:20pm: A very interesting exit poll is that, among the 20% who decided in the past three days, Obama got 57% and Clinton 18%, a big explanation for what we are seeing today. The consensus in the coverage right now seems to be that Bill Clinton's aggressiveness and the role of race moved some white voters to go for Obama after all as a backlash. 60% of voters are saying that Bill Clinton's campaigning was an important factor in their decision but 47% of these voters went for Obama and 38% for Clinton. If anything, the margin here looks to be much smaller than the margin overall, which does not confirm at all that Bill Clinton hurt his wife.

7pm: Barack Obama has won the South Carolina primary with "a substantial margin." Clinton is running second but MSNBC says it's still too early too call the order. Exit polls have Obama leading the black vote 80% to 17% for Clinton and 1% for Edwards, while the white vote divided itself between Edwards and Clinton (39-36)and 24% for Obama. Both of Obama's numbers are larger than expected, which should help him argue that the electorate is not as polarized as the media is making it. And if those numbers hold it could mean a 20%+ Obama triumph. Also, it appears that Obama won black women just as much as black men, against predictions that Clinton was doing better among black women these past few days.

6:45pm: First hints at exit polls show more than half of the electorate is black, which is obviously great news for Obama. The polls that had some tightening at the top usually justified it by a declining proportion of black voters to under 50%. Another interesting exit poll, 50% of voters are saying both candidates attacked each other unfairly. 70% say it of Clinton and 56% say so of Obama. The Clinton representative on MSNBC just acknowledged that "we know Obama will have a pretty good evening tonight."

Original post: Polls are closing at 7pm, and the first poll exit polls should be trickling in shortly. The only indication we have for now -- as in any Election Day -- is turnout. And it looks to be massive, as all reports are of waiting-lines and a record-setting number of voters. 290,000 Democrats went to the polls in 2004, and estimations today are that 350,000 of them could vote. That significant increase would match the experience in the previous voting states like IA and NV. Naturally, it is impossible to know who this turnout benefits without determining whether whites and blacks are increasing their participation are equal rates or not.

For now, you can check these guidelines of what to expect tonight.



  • In SC:

    Obama first, Clinton second, and Edwards third. No shocker.

    What is the ramifications? For Obama, an obvious boost among blacks, for Clinton, really nothing since the Nation as a whole will not pay too much attention to SC, and for Edwards, sayanora. Edwards is toast. He should have won this primary, and he will be lucky to come within 8 percentage points of second. Print it out: RIP for Edwards.

    By Anonymous Southern Slav, At 26 January, 2008 18:54  

  • Huge win for Obama. If these margins hold up, the racial breakdown of the vote will be insignificant.

    By Anonymous Andy, At 26 January, 2008 20:16  

  • The nation always pays attention to a huge win; especially one where Obama won in every demographic. Another hole in the Clinton armor. And a major "butt out" for Bill. Obama is definitely still in this race. It won't be over on Super Tues. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's endorsement won't hurt either. Watch for Super Delegates to start shifting towards Obama. Let's leave the Clinton's in the past where they belong!

    By Anonymous stone621, At 27 January, 2008 02:13  

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