Potomac primary results thread: Obama sweeps, Huckabee fails to complete late Virginia surge

9:45pm: Obama is giving a stump speech of his own from Madison, Wisconsin. After today's margins, Obama could very well make March 4th irrelevant by another comfortable victory in Wisconsin next week, so Clinton better pay attention to next week's primaries.
And DC was called for McCain.

9:30pm: Polls close in Maryland, and John McCain and Barack Obama are projected to win that state as well, sweeping the Potomac primary. Obama's margin of victory in Maryland appears to be just as big as in Virginia, which should allow Obama to increase his delegate lead. Just as Saturday, Obama managed to outperform the already high expectations.

9:25pm: Hillary Clinton is giving a stump speech from El Paso, Texas, as if this was not an election night. Her point is obvious: Ohio and Texas are what matters. But NBC's Chuck Todd is projecting a margin of about 20 delegates out of Virginia, and that should make it increasingly hard for Clinton to catch up in terms of pledged delegates, even with March 4th wins -- though she could potentially say she is ahead in the popular vote. (Note that a new Wisconsin poll that I will blog about more later has a close race, with Obama up 4%.)

8:35pm: Virginia is called for John McCain, who takes all 60 delegates. The outstanding precincts were in McCain strongholds, making it impossible for Huckabee to catch up. This is a huge relief for the McCain camp. They will have to explain why they once again so stunningly lost the conservative vote, but this was the last chance Huckabee had of prolonging the race.

8:30pm: Exit polls show Obama getting 90% of the black vote in Virginia, which appears to be his highest share in any primary yet. The GOP race has now been stable for a while, now a 3,000 vote gap. Fairfax County has not reported at all yet.

8:15pm: DC is called for Barack Obama. None of these wins are surprising in any way, but their accumulation is nevertheless impressive. In Virginia, there is now 1,100 votes separating McCain and Huckabee with 38% of the vote in. Remember, if McCain wins by one vote, he gets all of the state's delegates.

8:00pm: With 24% reporting in Virginia, McCain just pulled narrowly ahead 47% to 45% (a 800 vote lead). Northern Virginia is just starting to come in, however, while Huckabee's strongholds in Southern Virginia are almost fully in.

7:40pm: With 7% reporting, Huckabee is ahead 51% to 42%, though keep in mind that McCain areas tend to report later than Huckabee areas (remember Missouri and Louisiana). On the Democratic side, Obama is up 62% to 37%.

7:30pm: The second update of exit polls now show a toss-up between Huckabee and McCain, a stunning result in and of itself, no matter who ends up winning. McCain was up 30% in polls taken on Friday, up 10% in polls taken over the past 48 hours, and now seems to have fallen down into a tie. The apparent size of Obama's victory also hints at a possible explanation, as many moderate Republicans and independents might have crossed-over to vote for Obama instead of McCain (the inverse of what happened in New Hampshire).

Original post: The polls closed at 7pm in Virginia and the networks wasted no time before calling Virgina for Barack Obama. No surprise there, but the size of the victory looks to be bad news (yet again) for Hillary Clinton. The first exit polls hint at Obama breaking the 60% threshold, with a big delegate margin coming out of that.

The GOP's Virginia race has not been called yet and remember that 60 delegates hang in the balance, winner-take-all. The first exit polls have McCain up in single-digits, so this could potentially be a long night.

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  • I look forward to seeing the spin the HRC campaign comes out with.

    Obama won a blow-out victory which was a primary in a mid-sized purple state. He won latinos, blacks and white men. Losing by only 10% with white women.

    Normally HRC says caucuses in red states don't matter or elections in states with very large black populations do not count. Lets she what the excuse is for this debacle.

    By Anonymous Guy, At 12 February, 2008 20:53  

  • I forgot to mention that Independents could vote in either the GOP or Democratic primary. They therefore had a choice of McCain or Hillary/Obama. They choose in large numbers Obama - this bodes well in a Obama/McCain General Election.

    Also HRC likes to mention how well she did in MA and NJ. VA has more electoral votes than MA and only slightly less than NJ - so this is a big deal.

    By Anonymous Guy, At 12 February, 2008 21:19  

  • While I agree Obama has good standing with indies, don't read too much into most of those indies going Democratic over Republican. Most probably thought the Republican contest didn't matter.

    By Anonymous Andy, At 12 February, 2008 22:31  

  • Neck and neck still. This is great for keeping everyone's interest. Now that Barack has an edge I hope the Obamans can set aside that nasty anti-Hillary vitriol and concentrate on the general. With the lead comes more scrutiny and hence more negative press. It won't be coming from Hillary so now you can't blame her. Barack better handle it more maturely or he'll crumble. He definitely needs to smile and not react too rapidly to criticism. Presidents live in a world of criticism and the ability to stand your ground and not show weakness is crucial. This kindergarten style of denial and blame ain't gonna work from now on. Expectations just got raised.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 February, 2008 22:38  

  • Neck and Neck??? Get a grip.

    Obama is turning this into a rout.

    "Super-Delegates" don't count until Denver. Unless she does something drastic, and SOON. This won't reach Denver.

    With McCain Clinching tonight. Its imperitive that the Demos. Wrap this up QUICKLY.

    That DOESN'T mean a civil war 7 weeks before the GE.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 February, 2008 23:02  

  • Barack just finally caught up and there are still 450 superdelegates uncommitted. A rout is a seriously over-optimistic assessment. Doing a hundred down the freeway makes great time but the risk of a fatal crash is greater. I'm perfectly happy to see this drawn out until the very last second because each and every minute of oxygen in the air is consumed by our Democratic race. Their race is boring and not worth even paying attention to. Give the nation enough of our platform that they dismiss theirs as just plain crazy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 February, 2008 23:36  

  • Look at it this way. We have two bad-ass trawlers sweeping the political sea with the biggest net ever made to catch the attention of the electorate. I'm in no hurry to let one get too far ahead and lose half our catch. As long as both ends cross over near each other, we will have united the largest sweep of the national election imaginable. I would love to have that mass of voters converge upon the republicans in the very last days before election day. The more drama and suspense the better. I realize everybody has put time and money into this, but this is the best show on earth now and it'll be worth it to both sides of the Democratic divide. So forgive me for trimming the throttle on one side or the other because I've got a tsunami to make.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 13 February, 2008 00:07  

  • I've had my money on Obama since July. There won't even be any necessity for considering super delegates. In a couple of weeks we will be wondering what exactly all that fuss was about. I can't wait until about a week from now when the meaningful Ohio and Texas polls start coming out.

    By Anonymous stone621, At 13 February, 2008 00:51  

  • It's virtually impossible for either of them to win without superdelegates. Except of course if one were to quit. Do the math.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 13 February, 2008 08:46  

  • One will quit! Hillary. The super delegates will NOT overrule the popular will of all of the millions of people who have voted.

    By Anonymous stone621, At 13 February, 2008 15:17  

  • If the millions of people that voted prefer Hillary and the subtraction of the non-Democrats bear that out then the superdelegates will ensure the majority will of Democrats only. That's the intended purpose of this superdelegate system. It was designed to counter outside influence on the nomination process. To avoid that scenario, Obama supporters were supposed to change their registration to Democrat. I hope all you independents switched. You could be in for a rude awakening. I'm pretty sure enough of you became Democrats though.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 13 February, 2008 20:13  

  • I will vote for Hillary if she is the nominee. Having said that, she will not be the nominee. Blame Mark Penn, Mandy Greenwald, Bill Clinton, but most of all blame the candiate herself. She has run a very bad campaign which really has no rationale. She is not a LEADER.

    By Anonymous stone621, At 13 February, 2008 20:42  

  • While I too will vote for the nominee,I have a completely different perspective. Rather than placing blame, I'll give credit. I have a very poor opinion of Obama's campaign. His rhetorical skills don't alter my understanding of his platform shortcomings. I have no doubt however that his mistakes are correctable if he should win. I do have some issues with him that might put him at a disadvantage in the general. I feel pretty confident that I can counter those through the DNC after the convention. A smart person listens more than he talks. If he keeps his ears open, he'll get all the help he needs.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 13 February, 2008 21:07  

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