5.20.2008

Results thread: Clinton triumphs in KY, Obama gets Oregon and welcomes majority of pledged delegates

2:30am: Barack Obama got a large victory in Oregon. With 76% reporting, Barack Obama leads 58% to 42% -- a large victory that exceeds expectations and partly balances the trouncing he received in Kentucky. Obama got a huge margin in Portland's county, which is over-reporting. I am unable to get a sense of how favorable the last quarter of counties will be for Obama and how the margin will evolve as the last precincts report. Estimates right now give Obama an 8 pledged delegate lead in the state (Clinton had an edge of 23 in KY).
In the Senate race, Jeff Merkley managed a narrow victory against Steve Novick -- 45% to 41% at the present moment, but Novick has already conceded. He will face Gordon Smith in the fall in what is a victory for the DSCC's efforts to influence the results of a state primary. As for the last Oregon primary that we were following, Erickson managed to get the GOP primary in OH-05 despite the dramatic allegations that he had paid a woman to get an abortion and the calls from a pro-life group for him to drop out of the race.

11pm:
Results start being reported in Oregon. I am not sure how the exit poll was conducted here since all the voting was conducted via mailing, but the exit poll shows that SUSA got it exactly right: the two are tied among women and Obama gets a lead solely from the male vote, which he leads by 29%. This suggests that Obama will win by double-digits. He also won the votes of voters with no college degree. He also won voters with incomes of less than $50,000. Among registered Democrats, Obama is up by single-digits. Overall, Oregon looks to be as much a repeat of Wisconsin as any state since in that Obama seems to have made inroads in Clinton constituencies.
I will not be able up to update the results for a while. Follow the results here.

10:30pm: With more than 99% of the precincts reporting in Kentucky, Obama is sitting at 30,0% while Clinton is at 65.5%. This is as big a margin as Clinton was hoping for, and it will trigger a new round of stories about Obama's weakness among blue-collar white voters. There have been many states now in which Obama has had trouble appealing to this group of voters -- just as he had trouble reaching 15% in Hispanic border counties in Texas. In relatively populous Pike County, for instance, Clinton beat Obama 91% (almost 13,000 votes) to 7% (not even 1,000 votes). The pledged delegate count is also very favorable to Clinton, as she got 37 delegates to Obama's 14.
Just as I explained this afternoon, however, these results are less interesting for the way they impact Clinton's chances (it is too late for that, and Clinton could have gotten a bigger margin without changing her chances much) than for their impact on Obama's candidacy going forward. For a presumptive nominee to not reach 30% in two states in a row does not inspire triumphant stories. But, Obama will get a good wave of stories because the important milestone he reached a few hours ago by clinching a majority of pledged delegates!

10:20pm: In his speech, speaking in Iowa in a clear sign that he was getting ready for the general election, Obama channeled some of the themes of his speech on the night of the caucuses. Obama proclaimed that "Change is coming to America" and defied the "cynics" that had counted him out. He claimed the majority in pledged delegates, clearly laying down a claim to the nomination while choosing his word carefully to not let Clinton say he is claiming victory before he has reached it: "Tonight, in the fullness of spring, with the help of those who stood up from Portland to Louisville, we have returned to Iowa with a majority of delegates elected by the American people, and you have put us within reach of the Democratic nomination."
He also kept up with a theme in recent days of heralding Clinton's historic candidacy, one he called "groundbreaking" in an appearance earlier this week. Today, he proclaimed that, "No matter how this primary ends, Senator Clinton has shattered myths and broken barriers." And he repeatedly celebrated Iowa, and how representative it is of America's problems, hopes and aspirations:
It’s what I saw all those years ago on the streets of Chicago when I worked as an organizer – that in the face of joblessness, and hopelessness, and despair, a better day is still possible if there are people willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it. That’s what I’ve seen here in Iowa. That’s what is happening in America – our journey may be long, our work will be great, but we know in our hearts we are ready for change, we are ready to come together, and in this election, we are ready to believe again. Thank you Iowa, and may God Bless America.


9:45pm: The campaigns released their primary totals today, with the Obama campaign announcing that it had raised $31 million. That's actually surprisingly close to Clinton's total of $22 million (it is unclear whether all of that is primary funds, but how many donors would be willing to donate to Clinton's general election funds?), surprising considering that Obama was already heavily favored to get the nod throughout April. The McCain campaign has raised less than both Democrats, at $18 million.

9:30pm:
Obama has clinched a majority of pledged delegates. According to my calculations, he needed 14 more to reach that point, a number he reached in Kentucky alone. And this despite a massive trouncing: With 97% reporting, Obama is barely clinging to the 30% mark, distanced by Clinton's 65,5%. This means that Clinton will get a very significant delegate margin out of the state. This is a bigger margin than most polls predicted, and I was correct to assume that with Louisville out of the way Clinton's margin would only increase through the night. In the Senate race, the November match-up will oppose Bruce Lunsford to Mitch McConnell.

7:45pm:
With 43% of the precincts reporting, Clinton leads 58% to 39%, and Obama is holding on to a higher than expected showing though his stronger counties (around the cities of Fayette and Louisville) have nearly finished reporting. Obama is getting less than 10% in a number of counties, with Clinton routinely above 85% in a lot of rural counties, especially in the Appalachia region in Eastern Kentucky. Note that John Edwards is not repeating the stunning 7% he got last week in WV, as he is only at 1.7% here; combined with the uncommitted vote, however, more than 3.5% of voters refused to pick between Clinton and Obama (that's actually much less than the number of GOP voters who shunned McCain, who is only getting 73% of the vote).
In the Senate primary, Bruce Lunsford is leading but by a slightly narrower margin than expected.

7:30pm:
Looking at exit polls, the key constituencies are behaving as they have throughout 2008: Clinton carries women by 40% (54% among white women) and she gets 69% among voters with no college degree. She also trounces Obama among voters with a college degree, but less overwhelmingly. More surprisingly, there is no gap along income lines (as Clinton trounces Obama among lower income voters only slightly more than among higher income voters) or along religious lines. Another interesting result is the partisan breakdown: Clinton leads by 40% among registered Democrats, while the independent vote is a much narrower 45% to 40%.
As for the racial factor, it looks to have been as important as in West Virginia as 21% of voters say that race was important to them. Overall, Clinton got 72% of the white vote and Obama got 88% of the black vote. Also, 54% of voters say that Obama shares the views of Jeremiah Wright. 56% of all voters say they would not be satisfied if Obama wins the nomination.

7:15pm: Kentucky called for Hillary Clinton.
Nothing surprising at 7pm, as networks quickly called the state for Clinton. Exit poll numbers, now available, suggest that Clinton will get a margin superior to 30% -- the result she was hoping for. With 27.5% reporting, Clinton is leading 57% to 39.5%; if Obama can hold on to these numbers -- and hover around the 40% mark -- he will have greatly exceeded expectations. But consider that 88% of Jefferson County, where Louisville is located, has already reported, and that Obama is narrowly ahead in that county. This is the only region where Obama could have expected strong results, and it is likely to only go downhill from here.

6:20pm
: Kentucky Results have started coming in despite the fact that not all polls are closed in the state. Only 0.5% of precincts are reporting, so it is still early (Clinton is starting with a big lead, with 78% of the vote). But the exit polls are revealing of the state of mind of Kentucky voters, with about 80% of Clinton supporters say they would be dissatisfied if Obama were their nominee, and more saying they would vote for McCain than for Obama. Kentucky is among Obama's worst states in the primary as well as the general election when compared to Clinton: The latest SUSA poll of Kentucky had McCain leading Clinton by 2% and leading Obama by 37, even besting him among registered Democrats by 1 percent!

Original post: Kentucky and Oregon voters were probably hoping that their primaries would seem more momentous. Not only did Indiana and North Carolina bring an effective end to the competitive part of the race, but the primaries were overshadowed by news that Senator Ted Kennedy had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. The political world -- Republicans and Democrats -- hurried to offer their tribute to one of the most famous American politicians, with Senator Byrd gaining the most headlines for his teary speech on the floor of the Senate.

We will likely have much more to say about Kennedy's condition and the implications of this news for the Massachusetts political scene, but for now it is Kentucky and Oregon's turn to shine. Results start trickling in at 6pm ET from Kentucky, with all polls closing at 7pm. In Oregon, results will start being released at 11pm. So this will be a long stretched out night election night.

This will be only the second election night that I will not be constantly liveblogging through the night (the first was Mississippi on March 11th), nor will I be able to watch Obama's Iowa speech live; but I will certainly offer very regular updates. For now, you can look at my guidelines for tonight's results -- both at the presidential and gubernatorial level.

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18 Comments:

  • The only result that could cause an upset is if Obama lost Oregon.

    The media and some on here harp on about how Obama doesn't do as well as Clinton with white working class, under educated folk but forget Wisconsin and probably Oregon. Both of these states are actually Democratic (in 2000 and 2004) unlike KT and WV.
    The question should be reversed, why isn`t Clinton doing better with minorities, educated whites, men etc. She has not once taken a large number of Obama's base whereas Obama has taken Clinton's base a few times.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 20 May, 2008 18:46  

  • I just saw Senator Byrd's speech today--that was very touching. Byrd and Kennedy are so much different in terms of their backgrounds but so similar in their desire to help the ones when no one else has a reason to help. Both have pasts that show they have made mistakes, and, at the same time, are able to learn from them.

    Peace to Senator Byrd and Kennedy.

    By Anonymous Jim W, At 20 May, 2008 19:08  

  • It must be something to do with Appalachia - Obama is getting much more than 10% in the Western (non large city, non university areas) part of the state which is equally blue collar. Appalachia doesn`t matter in the GE - but it is surprising that they are going 90-10 for Clinton in those sparsely populated eastern areas

    By Anonymous Tom, At 20 May, 2008 19:52  

  • I think that Obama will do slightly better in KY then WV primarly based on the fact that there are more blacks in KY then in WV. However, it will probably be only worth 2 points or so. The real surpise would be if Clinton wins Oregon, as that would be a message that Obama may truly be weakening, althrough it wouldn't be enough for him to lose the nomination.

    I'm an atheist so I don't pray but I will give my condolecenses to the Kennedy family. Ted Kennedy is one of best Senators in the U.S. Senate and it will be a great loss when the last of the Kennedy brothers passes away.

    On the politics of this situation, Kennedy was last relected in 2006 so his terms ends in 2012. If he decides to get intensive chemopherapy then it would severely limit his duties as a Senator, and he could retire early so he could spend his last days with his family. On the other hand if his treatment is not as debilitating or he decides not to get it at all, he could just decide to continue being a Senator and just retired at the end of his term early in 2013. Either way Democrats would be favored in stronlgy liberal MA. Gov. Deval Patrick would appoint a Democrat to the seat who would be favored for the following special election. The GOP really collasped in this state, as they lost thier last bastion of strength, the governor, in 2006, and I think that only candidates who could be competive for the GOP would be eiether former Gov Bill Weld or former Gov Paul Cellucci. Anyone else would lose easy, especially considering the big sympathy boost the democrat would have by relating to Kennedy.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 20 May, 2008 20:06  

  • Obama has a big big problem on his hands, and it's not going away.

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/05/20/schneider-democratic-division-continues-to-run-deep/

    By Blogger Daniel Greenfield, At 20 May, 2008 20:47  

  • Obama does have problems: however they are not insumountable. Once Clinton endorses Obama her supporters will steadly start to support Obama, but as long as Clinton remains in the race the divisions will continue.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 20 May, 2008 21:12  

  • Once again, though, Daniel, we see these problems more and more in states where Obama isn't all that competitive in the GE--and doesn't need to be. He polls very poorly in WV and KY, but they're centered in the very heart of Appalachia, his weakest area in the country. If you look at a county-by-county map of where Clinton has won big percentages of the vote, it maps perfectly to the Appalachians (with a few Arkansas counties thrown in).

    That is prime Clinton country, but it really doesn't hamper him in the GE all that much.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 20 May, 2008 21:36  

  • Daniel's link says:

    "According to the just released exit polls, only 33 percent of Clinton backers said they would vote for Obama should he be the party’s nominee."

    First, those numbers can only improve after the nomination is settled.

    Second, I think one should keep in mind that those numbers are for Kentucky, which neither Clinton nor Obama is likely to win anyway.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 20 May, 2008 21:42  

  • You are right Dsimon. Just as Obama has won states that democrats won't win in Nov. (Kansas, Missipi, Utah) Clinton has also won states that won't go for either democrat (Olkahoma, Tennesee, Arizona).

    Obama is in a weak state in the GE now, which is he must handle Clinton delicately, which he seems to be doing very well himself (unlike some of his supporters like Daschle). There are some indications that Clinton will strongly support Obama in November: as long as she is treated nicely and MI and FL delegates are restored (or mostly restored). Clinton herself has been laying off the nasty attacks that she had been putting on Obama, which is good sign that she will be willing to accept her loss. Unforantely alot of her supporters do not at this point (especially among women, I'm hearing of groups of Clinton's supporters organizing themsevles into a bloc which will vote McCain in GE if Clinton loses nomination). Hopefully once Clinton drops out Obama will start doing better.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 20 May, 2008 22:52  

  • I'm hearing of groups of Clinton's supporters organizing themsevles into a bloc which will vote McCain in GE if Clinton loses nomination

    It's amazing to me that some of Clinton's supporters would prefer the possibility of McCain replacing two liberal Supreme Court justices with two conservatives. Hopefully Clinton will reduce the level of defections by pointing out that helping McCain win would do irreparable damage to the causes she and her followers support.

    By Blogger dsimon, At 20 May, 2008 23:11  

  • CNN just projected that Obama would win Oregan. No suprise here.
    Oh and on the exit polls: I don't know what SUSA did but Wolf Blizter is saying that CNN used phone calls and ask the respondents if they are democrats who had voted in the primary and what thier preference is. Maybe SUSA did a simliar thing.

    And yeah Dsimon, it does seem to be amazing that Clinton's female supporters would back a candidate who would appoint judges who would overturn Roe vs Wade. My view as I have said previously is that once Clinton drops out of the race and endorses Obama, her supporters will start to stream towards him. But as long as she in the race, Clinton's supporters will despise Obama.

    By Anonymous jaxx raxor, At 20 May, 2008 23:17  

  • McCain is about as likely to appoint conservative judges as Huckabee is likely to become an athiest. With a super majority in congress, there's no threat to women's rights. The bigger threat is Obama legitimizing the moral aspect of the anti-abortion lobby. Those comments drove a lot of non-theists to oppose Obama. A weak McCain is probably easier to get meaningful legislation through than a knuckleheaded Obama. Those of us at the top of the IQ scale are getting increasingly nervous about Obama's mediocre intellect and headstrong foot and mouthisms. Unless McCain selects a diehard right-winger for VP he's looking better than Obama. The Obama rationale seems to be getting weaker every day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 May, 2008 08:07  

  • Anonymous--

    I'm sorry, but 1: a super-majority in congress is absolutely not a sure thing at this point, especially if Obama's as weak a candidate as you seem to think and will hurt down-ticket , 2: Obama "legitimizing the moral aspect of the anti-abortion lobby" is no different than Kerry's stated position and explanation thereof, which, as I recall, won praise from most people for it's well-articulated expression of the conflict most people in this country have over the issue. Given Obama has 100% ratings fro Planned Parenthood and NARAL, while McCain has 0% from both groups, your idea that Obsma is somehow more dangerous to choice is patently idiotic. 3: If you're the same anonymous poster I've argued with on this site several times now, I can assure you of something: Obama is much, much smarter than you. I promise.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 21 May, 2008 08:16  

  • Stephen, Obama may be smarter than you but I've got at least sixty points on him. Kerry lost, remember? You like to think that you can overcome overwhelmingly bad odds and you would make a great casino customer but you're just not smart enough to call any ideas "patently idiotic" as you do. Obama is a fundamentally flawed candidate that cannot win the general. That doesn't mean that down the ballot candidates will suffer from his massive impending defeat.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 May, 2008 09:34  

  • I guess now Stephen's post will be deleted? Personal attacks and use of terms like "idiotic" were your limit weren't they? That's why I like using anonymous on these blogs, it I didn't there'd be nothing but personal attacks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 May, 2008 09:47  

  • Taniel - Obama out fundraised Clinton by nearly 50% - not hat close. Remember this included her amazing $10 million in the 24 hours following the PA primary. So she raised $11 million the rest of the month (not good).

    I see Obama won white men, tied with wehite women, won lower income whites in Oregon. So he has no across the board weakness with whites. Just appalachia.

    I would prefer to the candidate to be very weak in some states (KT, WV) and very storng in other states (like WI and OR) so that the candidate doesn`t have to waste money and time defedning states they may not hold and tryoing to get states they may not win. For example CLinton is weak in OR and WI and competitive in KT. Come the GE she could lose all three whereas Obama will definately win 2 and then can go after VA, CO etc. Sometimes it is useful to know where not to put resource so you do not spread yourself too thin.

    By Anonymous Mike, At 21 May, 2008 09:48  

  • Obama outraised Clinton by 40% and is consistently outspending her and losing. There are just too many states that Obama can't carry to win this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 21 May, 2008 10:12  

  • "anon"--

    Grappling over intelligence on the internet is idiotic. You could claim to have an IQ of 180, but A: you'd have no way to prove it, and B: you're not exactly saying anything that bolsters that claim.

    As an aside, only very stupid or ignorant people think that IQ is the be-all-end-all of intelligence, and I say that as someone with a very high IQ. There are people with excellent logical, spatial, and mathematical skills who are still hopelessly stupid in many ways. Maybe your IQ is 180, I don't really care, that doesn't stop you from being emphatically wrong in this situation.

    More on the point:

    1: Kerry lost? No kidding. But that wasn't the argument you were making, you argued that Obama granting validity to the moral position of the pro-life crowd was more dangerous than John McCain's threat to overturn Roe v. Wade. The question is, did you say the same about Kerry when he did the same? Did *anyone* say the same about Kerry?
    2: How did what Obama said in any way contradict the Clinton doctrine of "legal, safe, and rare"? It seems that there is broad consensus among both politicians and the nation that abortions are, y'know, less than ideal.
    3: Obama's "odds" on the election are even at worst. He's polling evenly with McCain, and fivethirtyeight.com has both him and Clinton slightly leading McCain nationally in the odds. Rasmussen markets shows Dems with a 62% chance at the presidency, even though they show Obama as having a 93% chance at the nomination. The odds for Obama are just fine.
    4: How can you possibly say that Obama being crushed in the general, as you think he will be, won't affect the down-the-ballot results? Are you telling me that a crushing presidential defeat *won't* depress Democratic vote? Please, if you're so fricking smart prove it by making an ounce of sense, because thus far you are totally failing to.

    By Blogger Stephen, At 21 May, 2008 12:13  

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