2am: Contrary to what most reports are indicating, it looks like Clinton could win the delegate count of the Texas primary, despite the fact that she is only winning the state by 4% right now (a margin that could still decrease). Burnt Orange Rerport has posted a very very important breakdown by state senate districts, and it projects Clinton ahead 64 delegates to 62 delegates. Now, we were expecting Clinton to lose the delegate count with such a small victory, but here is why that is not happening: the 19th, 20th, 21st districts — at the border — all look like they went for Clinton with more than 62.5% of the vote, which means she got a 3-1 delegate in all of them. She got more than her total delegate lead just in those districts, and we were expecting the two candidates to split most of these 2-2 (In the 26th as of now, Clinton is barely missing the mark and has to settle for a very disappointing 2-2 split, though this could still vary). By building up huge margins in these Latino districts, Clinton is unexpectedly strong in the delegate count and she offsets the fact that delegate are disproportionaletly attributed in Obama-heavy districts. To add insult to inury, it seems that Obama missed the 6-2 split in Austin and has to settle for a 5-3 split instead in the biggest prize of the night! All these districts are stil counting votes, so the delegate allocation can still change — and I will keep an eye on it.
With that, Clinton goes into the caucus part of Texas with a small cushion. Let’s see if that’s enough to get her a delegate lead out of March 4th. With 22% in, Obama is up 56% to 44% — clearly this could be a big result for him.
1:40am: The new updated OH exit polls show that Clinton won by improving her stance in some Obama demographics: She won the male vote by 3%, and only trailed by 4% among college graduates (whereas she won by 18% among those with no degree). She even tied him among families with an income of more than $100,000. Finally, the exit poll suggests that Clinton forced a tie among the 30% of independents and registered Republicans who participated in this primary. She made no inroads whatsoever, however, among black voters, a group she lost 87% to 13%, but her strength among the white vote (64% to 34%) is surprising given how much she had weakened there in the past few weeks — and especially among white men, a group she had serious trouble with as of late but among which she won 58% to 39%. Also determinant, Clinton has a 16% lead among those who decided over the past week (and even bigger among those who decided in the past 3 days.
1:20am: The official Vermont delegate count is 9-6. In Rhode Island, it is still unclear as to whether Clinton got a 3 or a 5 delegate lead. In Ohio, meanwhile, Cincinnati is now fully in (finally) but Cleveland is two thirds reporting. Obama is not creating any kind of big margin there (52% to 47%), so it now appears pretty much certain that Clinton will get a double-digit lead in Ohio (with 92% reporting, she is up 55% to 43%), which I had pointed at hours ago as the mark above which Clinton could hope to create a new narrative in this race ( I confess I did not expect her to meet the double-digit mark)!
1:00am: Texas called for Clinton! Incredible night for the New York Senator who won 3 out of 4 contests, two of them decisively.
With 77% reporting, she is up 51% to 47% — and Austin, Dallas and Houstin will not be enough to change that. The delegate count is still unclear, but as I said earlier there is some hope for Clinton in these Southern districts in which she is posting some huge margins. In Houston and Dallas, however, Obama appears to be just above the threshold for that extra delegate, which should help him in the final count.
The caucuses, meanwhile, are starting to report. With 5% in only, Obama is up 56% to 44%.
12:10am: This could end up being a huge factor in the Texas primary: Clinton is getting some huge margins in Southern Texas, above 70% (even 80%) in many of the counties there. And they aren’t small counties either: In Hidalgo County, for example, gives Clinton 50,000 votes to Obama’s 17,000… with only 49% reporting (which also implies Clinton still has some vote reserves here). Why is this especially important? This is an area with 4 delegate districts which the candidates were supposed to split 2-2. If Clinton is able to open up a 3-1 delegate district in a few districts here, it could allow her to get an unexpected delegate lead in places we were expected to see a tie.
She is leading 51% to 48% statewide right now, more than 60,000 votes ahead. But Houston is still barely reporting.
11:50pm: Obama speaks in San Antonio, Texas, accuses McCain and Clinton of “echoing each other.” Expect him to pick up this theme in the coming days. In Ohio, Clinton is still up 56% to 42% and Cleveland has started reporting! And with 16% reporting… Clinton is actually very narrowly ahead. It looks like Clinton will maintain a double-digit lead in this state. In Texas, meanwhile, Clinton has passed the million votes mark and is 50,000 votes ahead.
11:30pm: In an enthusiastic victory speech from Columbus, Ohio, Clinton repeated “Yes we will,” vowed to press on and give millions of Americans who still haven’t voted a chance to vote: “We’re going on, we’re going strong, and we’re going all the way!” She is showing no intention of withdrawing, and unless Obama really turns things around in Texas, it’s going to be hard to force her out of the race until… April 22nd.
In Texas, we have crossed the 50% precincts reporting mark — and Clinton is up 30,000 votes. Austin is now 64% reporting and Dallas is at 54%, so they are both above the statewide number, not a good sign for Obama. In Houston, however, we are still at 14% reporting, so there still are a lot of votes to come from there. Clinton can count on El Paso — 12% reporting — where she is leading by a huge margin for now (69-25). No word from the caucuses yet.
11:15pm: Austin and Dallas suddenly reported a big chunk of their votes (they are up to 30% and 35% reporting respectively), but Clinton managed to cling to her lead, albeit a very small one (17,000 votes). In Ohio, it’s still 57% to 41% with almost two thirds of the vote reporting, and here again Obama’s strongholds are finally reporting: Cincinnati is now 20% in.
11pm: Ohio is called for Clinton! The networks are not waiting for Cincinnati and Cleveland to start reporting to call Ohio. The margin is so big at this point that even big Obama margins in those cities could close the gap. For now she is only increasing her lead, back in front 58% to 40%.
In Texas, Clinton is pulling ahead quickly (though the big cities are still out); she is now up 20,000 votes.
10:50pm: Clinton has overtaken Obama in Texas (by 1,100 votes), with 24% of precincts in. She has been rising very steadily since the early votes put her down by about 100,000 votes about 90 minutes ago. There are two conflicting factors are at play here: (1) The Obama-favoring cities have yet to report, and while El Paso and San Antonio haven’t either Obama’s strongholds have more voters. (2) Clinton’s huge late momentum (61% among those who decided in the past 3 days) means that we have to expect that she gets a lead among those who voted today, which makes this steady catch-up game entirely logical.
In Texas, still no news from the caucuses but as much as the system is defensible in places like Iowa which know how to run a caucus, it makes no sense in a state that never seen anything like this and is finding itself entirely overwhelmed.
10:30pm: The margin in Texas keeps getting smaller, a 9,000 votes margin for Obama now (49-49) with 19% reporting! It’s difficult to know exactly which districts are reporting faster he
re given the early voting numbers, but it does look that Austin, Dallas and Houston are reporting much slower — which is good news for Obama — but neither have El Paso and San Antonio. In Ohio, things look good for Clinton right now (56% to 42%) as Obama’s margin in a place like Columbus is a bit smaller than it should be, but it is obviously impossible to know what is going on until we get an idea of the kind of margin in Cincinnati and Cleveland.
A few clues about exit polls: 61% of those who chose in the last 3 days in Texas went for Hillary Clinton, providing her a crucial last minute boost. The big debate, of course, will be what cause this last-minute surge. Also crucial to Clinton’s win: (1) Latinos backed her heavily, 63% to 35% and (2) independents and Republicans (about 30% of the vote combined) gave a very small edge to Obama, within single digits, a much smaller margin than in some of the previous contests.
10:10pm: CNN is describing scenes of chaos in the Texas caucuses, for example a voting location at which there were so many people in the room as to create a fire hazard, leaving to hundreds of people being left out of the room… with no one knowing what to do with them. You can be sure the Clinton campaign is taking notes of all of this to mount a strongest than ever charge against caucuses in coming days (if they are still alive, of course, which is still unclear at this late hour). In Austin, meanwhile, one of the caucuses has not started yet… as they aren’t able to get things organized. That means people have been waiting there for 2 hours.
In Rhode Island, Clinton is keeping her huge 61% to 38% lead (this is bigger than in New York right now), though this is one place where even-delegate districts could hurt her bid to get more delegates — the most likely scenario right now is a 3 delegate lead, though this will obviously evolve.
In Ohio, 35% reporting still put Clinton up 57% to 41% but 0% of Cleveland and Cincinnati’s counties are reporting, though we are at 45% of Columbus’s counties (with Obama up by 10% there). In Texas, with 15% reporting now we are at a 27,000 vote margin.
9:55pm: McCain gives his victory speech, with a banner reading “1191″ in the audience. He devotes a significant part of his speech to Iraq, and on national security more general, a clear signal of where is going to take the race over the next few months. He goes on to discussing the economy to some length at well, mocking the Democratic refusal of trade and globalization. He ends with, “The contest begins tonight.”
Meanwhile, there is interesting movement in the Democratic side: In Ohio, we are now at 21% counted and Clinton is hanging on to a 20% lead. (Remember that she led by a huge margin Missouri for most of Super Tuesday until St. Louis reported. We will know more about Ohio as soon as the cities start reporting). In Texas, Obama is now suddenly up by only 51% to 48%, a 35,000 vote margin. But the surprise comes from Rhode Island, where Clinton is leading 62% to 36% with 28% reporting (with 70% in the Provide County!) — this could give her more delegate than most of us expected if she holds on to that margin.
9:30pm: Rhode Island called for Hillary Clinton, her first win since February 5th, and breaking a 12 win-streak for Obama! Now let’s see whether she can get any delegate advantage out of this. In Texas, we are now at a 53-46 margin, with more than 1 million votes counted. In Ohio, we have reached the 11% precincts mark, with a 24% Clinton lead (as I explained 5 minute sago, however, the Obama-heavy parts of the state are not reporting at all, including Cincinnati and Cleveland, but still).
9:25pm: Speaking to his supporters in Irving, Texas, Mike Huckabee drops out and announces his support for McCain and need to unite the party.
Meanwhile, 8% of precincts are reporting in Rhode Island and show Clinton up 53% to 46%. In Ohio, we’re at 6% reporting and Clinton is up 60% to 38% — but the parts of the state that are reporting are where she is expected to do well. And keep in mind that Cleveland, one of Obama’s strongholds, will report late since polls were opened much longer.
9pm: McCain becomes the GOP nominee. Polls have closed everywhere now, and Rhode Island and Texas are called for McCain which CNN calculates with grant fanfare gets the Republican above the 1,195 delegate mark.
Among Democrats, RI and TX are both too close to call. Exit polls in RI show a very close race, with Clinton about 3% up once again. The Texas exit polls have Clinton up extremely narrowly as well (though early polls are not included here, I believe). The exit polls also show that there is a big educational gap (with Clinton winning ahead among those without a college degree, Obama among those who do) but there is almost no income gap here, with all income groups (except those earning less than $15,000 and more than $200,000) splitting their vote. There is, however, a clear gender gap in TX, +13% among men for Obama and +17% among women for Clinton.
8:55pm: A new batch of early votes have been counted in Texas and the margin is now 85,000 votes between the two candidates so a slight improvement for Clinton which puts her down 54-45 with almost 1 million votes counted (which means we probably now have about a quarter of the votes reporting).
Another interesting point: Unless Obama crosses the 65% mark in Vermont (which he is far from with 37% of the votes in), the delegate split will be 9-6, so a 3 delegate advantage.
8:45pm: The Texas caucuses are underway, and they look to be as chaotic as we expected. The Clinton campaign is charging that the caucuses are marked by irregularities and that Obama supporters have taken control of some caucuses locations. In Ohio, the polls in Cleveland were kept open for by a judge because of high turnout.
Ohio is still not reporting its numbers, while Obama is up 46% to 36% with more than 800,000 votes counted (almost all are early votes, but this will represents about 20% of the final turnout, so Clinton has digged herself in a hole).
8:20pm: Ohio polls have been closed for 50 minutes now but almost no votes are being released. An interesting exit poll result is that Clinton got a much higher percentage of the white vote than usual — 61%.
The Texas primary is shaping up, though, with Obama blowing out Clinton among early voters. 1% of precincts only is reporting, but early voters could amount to between 30% and 50% of voters and those numbers are coming in fast: Obama is up 58% to 41% right now, 430,000 votes versus 300,000 votes! This could a huge result going forward, as it is going to be very difficult for Clinton to overcome this huge a margin in early voting. (Wolf Blitzer does not appear to understand that the 700,000 votes already reporting are not coming from that 1% of precincts but are early votes, since he announced after reading those numbers that we should get some numbers results from early voting soon.)
8pm: Most polls have now closed in Texas as well (except in the El Paso region) and it looks like the networks are going to wait to release exit polls, but the first votes are already being reported (it’s still very early). The results in Ohio are also coming in very slowly. We are already at 13% in Vermont, and the numbers are 58-40 for Obama. (Can someone explain why Wolf Blitzer insists that “we don’t know where these votes are coming from” when CNN’s results page has a very clear map of which counties are reporting what?)
7:35pm: Ohio polls have now closed. McCain is called the winner, and the Democratic race is too close to call. The CNN exit polls right now are showing Clinton up by a 3-4% margin — way smaller than what she needs. If these numb
ers are confirmed, Clinton will not get the margin she needs in Ohio. The income and education gaps are back in full force here, with Clinton much stronger among lower-income and less-educated voters.
7:10pm: The polls have closed in Vermont, and the state was quickly called for Barack Obama and John McCain. Exit polls show a big Obama victory (probably above 60%), but VT only awards 15 delegates so the split will likely be somewhere around 10-5 (which could end up being meaningful).
6:45pm: More exit polls hint, still from the second wave of exit polls, i.e. these numbers could still shift dramatically, particularly the internals, so don’t rely on them. They have Clinton winning Texas women 54%to 46% (which is good for her, but definitely underwhelming). But some very good news for Clinton supporters is her huge lead among late-deciders, 66% to 34% (unclear whether late-decider means decided today or over the past 3 days, but it confirms that Clinton has had some momentum over the past few days, as the last polls were suggesting). In Ohio, Clinton is up for now among union voters (56-43) as well as among those who say that NAFTA has taken jobs away (51-48). Meanwhile, MyDD posts some overall numbers that have Obama up 2% in OH and TX (essentially an exit-poll tie, and it is unclear what those numbers rely on).
I will post updated and refined numbers as they become available through the night.
6pm: As always, take all exit polls before polls close with a huge grain of salt. These hints come from second wave of exit polls, and they were wildly off in many states on February 5th. That said, the first leaked exit polls look to be showing close races in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island, and a clear Obama lead in Vermont (I have not seen exact numbers, which is why I am going to leave it at “close races”). The AP is also reporting that about 1/5 Ohio voters are independents and 1/4 in Texas, two indications that are pretty much in line with what we expected (ARG modeled 23% and 27% respectively in its latest poll release).
Also, CNN is reporting that Texas Latinos are going for Clinton 64-35 and blacks going for Obama 84-16. This is roughly what we expected — though if confirmed this means that Clinton has made no inroads among blacks and Obama among Hispanics — which means that the determining factor will be the relative turnout of blacks and Hispanics. And the Washington Post offers us a hint of that: “In Texas, Hispanic turnout was up from 2004, when Latino voters made up about a quarter of all Democratic primary voters.” That would obviously be a significant boost to Clinton’s chances.
Original post: Yet another results thread — perhaps the last one of the 2008 primary season, perhaps the prelude to many more to come. And it could be a long night, since we will have to wait all the way to the end of the Texas caucuses to get an idea of the shape of the race. The first polls close at 7pm in Vermont, followed at 7:30pm by Ohio. Most of Texas will close at 8pm ET, though the El Paso region will be voting until 9pm. (If past election nights are any indication, votes should start coming in at 8pm and not wait until 9pm). Rhode Island closes late, at 9pm as well.
Since there are no exit polls for now, read these guidelines of what to watch for tonight.