Election Night: Obama wins Mississippi, Carson holds IN-07 for Dems

As expected, Barack Obama won the Mississippi primary. Exit polls indicate that Clinton could have crossed 40%, and while we will have to wait for the final results to know the delegate spread there is a possibility that she can cut her losses since she kept it close in the state's white regions, while Obama ran up the margins in the predominantly black areas.

The vote was as racially polarized as we have seen all year: Obama got 92% of the black vote (to Clinton's 8%), and Clinton 70% of the white vote (to Obama's 26%) -- that's a 128% racial gap. That also means that Clinton's margin of defeat was probably as good as Clinton could have hoped for. She has not gotten that much higher among the African-American vote throughout the primaries, but she has never ended up with this big a share of the white vote.

More confirmation of how the two electoral coalitions differ: The third of the electorate that has a good impression of McCain votes overwhelmingly for Clinton, the two thirds that have an unfavorable one go overwhelmingly for Obama. And 3/4th of Clinton backers in Mississippi said they would be dissatisfied if Obama was the nominee, a much higher proportion than what we are used to seeing. Clearly, Mississippi's conservative (white) Democrats do not trust Obama and do not want to see him as the nominee, most evidently because of racial factors.

Meanwhile, the special election in IN-07 has not been called yet -- and with 42% of the vote it is very tight. Carson is leading 50% to 47%, which is only about 700 votes. It's not possible to know how many of the ballots come from Indianapolis since all the results are from Marion County; late ballots tend to be more urban so that should favor Carson as more ballots are counted. Needless to say that if Elrod were to win that would be a huge relief for the NRCC a few days after their loss in IL-14, and merely keeping it close will allow them to argue that special elections are unpredictable and that no trend should be read in Foster's victory. For a background of this race, check here.

Update: Carson did increase his lead as all ballots got counted. He won 54% to 43%, a 9,000 vote margin. And he therefore holds the seat for Democrats, some of which were slightly worried about what might happen here. This makes Carson the second Muslim representative ever elected to Congress.

In Mississippi, Obama won 61% to 37%, so Clinton failed to cross the arbitrary 40% threshold I had proposed for her. But as I predicted after seeing exit polls, Clinton managed to cut her losses among delegates, a rare case in which it is her rival and not her that is hurt by the delegate attribution rules. Because Obama failed to cross the 62.5% threshold he splits the statewide delegates 6-5. Overall, Clinton kept it close in the state's white regions (she won the 1st congressional district), so Obama ends up with a 5 delegate lead: 19-14.

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  • based on the exit polls showing hillary with about 41%, I'd say the delegate split should be about 20-13. Your thoughts ?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 March, 2008 21:36  

  • AP has just called the election for Carson in IN-7. With 73% of the precints, he currently has 53% of the vote, with Elrod about 44%, a 9% spread. It seems that lack of NRCC money and name recognition really hurt Elrod. If this margin of victory holds, Carson will be favored for the Dem primary because he has proven that he isn't as weak as many said that he would be. Very telling of how the GOP's financial woes are hurting their chances of challanging Democratic held seats.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 March, 2008 22:57  

  • "...If Jesse Jackson were not black, he wouldn't be in the race."

    -Geraldine Ferraro


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 March, 2008 03:20  

  • "Gayness can be cured"

    - Donnie McClurkin, fundraiser and performer for Obama in South Carolina

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 March, 2008 07:52  

  • Anonymous 7:52 - your great leader (aka Billary Clinton) said that -
    "It is regrettable that any of our supporters on both sides, because we've both had that experience, say things that kind of veer off into the personal,"
    Therefore ease up on some person nobody has ever heard off (Donnie McClurkin) - Ferraro was 24 years ago on the ticket, so a little better known.
    Keep it on the issues, on electability, on popular vote and delegate lead.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 12 March, 2008 08:20  

  • Taniel - thanks for updating even when travelling.
    The Democratic primaries continuing now have the real risk of alientating a substantial section of the party who ever wins the nomination. McCain will be stronger in November because of this. The GOP only needs to hold the states it won in 2004 to win again, yet PA, WI, MN, OR, WA and MI are weakly held by the Democrats there is potential for McCain to pick up one or two of these. This would negate the Democrats winning OH or VA/CO. And to think it was expected in Janauary that the GOP primaries would be the more contentious and long running with 5 major candidates!
    2008 is a bumper year for us politics fans!!

    By Anonymous Guy, At 12 March, 2008 09:14  

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