States called, Dem: Obama (GA, IL, DE, AL, ND, CT, CO, MO, UT, AK), Clinton (OK, AR, TN, NY, NJ, MA, AZ, CA)
3am: Last thought of the night will be on the California results, where Clinton is ahead 53% to 39% with 48% reporting. The counties where Obama is the strongest are reported much more rapidly than Clinton’s strongholds. Marin County (55-39 Obama) is 98% in, and San Fransisco (52-44 Obama) is 78% in. In contrast, LA County (59-36 Clinton) is 36% in, and Clinton’s margin there could force some good delegate splitting in even district delegates. McCain, on the other hand, is getting wins across the state, leaving little hope that Romney could win some many districts. McCain should get a big delegate lead in CA.
Meanwhile, with 47% of the vote reporting in NM, Clinton is back up by 900 votes!
2:25am: Clinton just sank in the caucus states, and that by itself likely cost her a delegate lead tonight. Look at Idaho for example, where Obama got 80% of a total of 20,000 voters (!). That means a 15-3 delegate lead for Barack. In Colorado, where Obama won 2:1 against Clinton, he gets a 13-6 delegate lead. As I already pointed out, Obama got a bigger edge in IL than Clinton did in NY, and that also is helping him offset Clinton’s big leads in places like AR and MA.
1:45am: With 30% reporting in California, Clinton is up 53% to 37%. In the last state to have not been called, Obama is up by 400 votes in New Mexico, with 38% reporting.
12:50am: Chuck Todd’s estimates of the delegates count paints a stunningly divided race. Counting estimates in New Mexico and California — the only states in which the margins are not clear yet — Todd gives 841 delegates to Obama, 837 for Clinton (+/- 10 for both candidates). The reason for this is Obama’s massive victories in the caucus states that have given him a very comfortable lead. Clinton had to perform better in places like Minnesota and Kansas.
Overall, the Democratic race could hardly be more equally divided. Clinton did win some very important races — California, Arizona, Massachusetts and New Jersey — but Obama’s victories in Connecticut, Alabama and Missouri are significant, especially when you consider that Obama held Clinton to smaller than expected margins in states like Tennessee.
Obama will emerge out of Super Tuesday with a pledged delegate lead, if you don’t count Florida and Michigan. And expect those two states to soon become a very contentious issue that the DNC will have to deal with very quickly.
12:40am: Fox calls Missouri for Obama, an important win for the Illinois Senator. MSNBC invents a category, calling Obama the “apparent winner” without explaining how that differs from a call. McCaskill immediately says, “This is Middle America, this is not the far coast.” She also feels the need to say that, “I don’t agree with all of Senator Kennedy’s policy positions” before praising Kennedy’s endorsement…
Depending on how big Clinton wins California, Missouri should allow Obama to get the media to cover this as a tie. It is worth noting that his two most significant primary wins tonight (CT and MO) came in very small margins, and Obama has a bigger margin in Alabama.
12:25 am: NBC/CNN call California for both McCain and Clinton. This is huge news for both candidates, as it looks like neither race was that close. This should allow her to get a significant delegate lead out of California and offset whatever problems she faced in Illinois and even in places like Tennessee. In the Republican side, this confirms McCain’s big night. How are conservatives are going to stop McCain’s momentum with his hugely significant win in CA and Missouri? For the entire night the networks were talking about a bad McCain night with one CNN journalist wondering why we weren’t waiting for California. Within 15 minutes, McCain has turned the storyline around.
12:20am: Missouri called for McCain. This is a gigantic win for the Arizona Senator, and it is going to make it extremely difficult for his rivals to continue contesting this race. McCain wins 58 delegates here, and it is not going to be easy for his rivals to keep the delegate count close. The networks are speculating on why McCain failed tonight, but if he holds on in California (as both early results and exit polls suggest he might) it is going to be a big night for him.
12:10am: Obama has pulled ahead in Missouri, in a key move for him if he wants to spin this as a split decision. If California goes Clinton (which is obviously not a given for now) a victory in Missouri would be big for Obama. In California, with 15% reporting, it’s 55% to 32% for Clinton, though the regions of the state are not at all reporting at the same rhythm so these numbers will fluctuate. But remember the CNN exit polls are pointing at a strong Clinton showing here.
Midnight: Barack Obama takes hits at Clinton in his speech. The US needs a “clear choice,” he said, giving a list of reasons he is a much clearer alternative than Hillary (he cites original Iraq vote, not wavering on torture, Iran).
Colorado and Montana are called for Romney, in success for his caucus strategy that is starting to get him some major victories.
In Missouri, McCain is pulling ahead, now 7000 votes ahead with 94% percent in. As always in Missouri, St. Louis is coming in late and transforming the results, making Huckabee go down and lose 58 delegates… and making the Democratic race agonizingly close. (I apologize for covering this as a battle for victories, when it really doesn’t matter in the delegate race whether Obama or Clinton get 7000 votes more. It is hard to break out of the horse race habits.)
It is also worth pointing out — in the context of delegate allocation, that is very important — that Clinton’s win in Tennessee is now smaller than it seemed a few hours ago. She is leading 54% to 41%, and that should prevent her from getting too big a delegate lead. As I explained this morning, the distribution of which districts have even/odd delegates makes it very hard for Clinton to get a delegate lead here at the district level unless she wins big statewide.
11:45pm: Two big calls: Arizona is called for Clinton, and Tennessee is called for Huckabee. Polls were showing a very tight race in both states. Colorado goes Obama, like all the other caucus states, with a huge margin. While these wins were expected, Obama is going to get some big delegate leads out of Colorado, Minnesota, etc.
What a race in Missouri! McCain is now ahead by 3000 votes, with 91% reporting. Don’t forget (I can’t say it enough) that Missouri is a winner-take-all state, so McCain could be on his way from getting all 58 delegates. It would be very hard for In the Democratic race, it’s down 49-48!
Obama gets to the podium and starts his speech while McCain is still talking… But McCain stops talking just as Obama was about to say his first sentence, in strangely coincidental timing.
11:35pm: The delegate allocation in NY and IL is now coming in, and it bring good news for Obama who picked up a lot of delegates in New York. He got 90 delegates in NY, versus 142 for Clinton, a 52 delegate margin. In Illinois, Clinton gets 43 delegates only, with 110 for Obama, a 67 delegate margin. That’s a great margin for Barack.
One interesting note: Clinton won the only majority black district of New York, NYC’s 15th district, represented by Charlie Rangel (a major Clinton endorser). Clinton won 54% to 46% — but she had to split the delegates since it was an even number district.
More good news for Obama in Delaware, where he gets a 9 to 6 delegate lead for the entire state. And he is also likely to get some big delegate margins in the caucus states, as he is winning places like ND, KS with big proportions.
11:30pm: Exit polls in California are showing Obama winning the white vote, 49% to 43% but losing the Latino vote 66% to 33%. The Latino vote was the key measure we were waiting for in California, and it looks like the Kennedy effort to push Obama up in that group has not gone his candidate that far.
Meanwhile, in Missouri, Huckabee is up 214 votes with 87% reporting, but St. Louis is coming in slowly and Huckabee only has 17% in that county… That could spell trouble for Huckabee. With 88% reporting in Tennessee, Huckabee is up 34% to 32% with Romney.
11:15pm: Missouri is now a three point race in the Democratic side, with Obama rising quickly. Meanwhile, it’s worth pointing out that Obama’s lead in Alabama is much narrower than it appeared at first, which is obviously very significant in the context of delegate allocation. With 90% reporting, he is leading 56% to 42% — a big margin but better for Clinton than the 70% he was getting a few minutes ago.
Romney wins Minnesota, a caucus state, though the delegate allocation is proportional. The rules are really messing up any chance Romney had to make news tonight.
11:05pm: Polls close in California! The exit polls right now show McCain and Clinton up narrowly. In another key Western state, Arizona, Clinton is up 51% to 40% with 39% of the precincts reporting.
But the CRUCIAL state right now is Missouri, in both parties: With 78% reporting, McCain just took the lead here by a thousand votes. Don’t forget, this is winner-take-all. McCain wins by a vote, he gets 58 delegates. The Democratic race is also fascinating. Clinton is leading 51% to 46% but St. Louis and Kansas City are still coming in so Obama is still in the hunt for a win here.
10:55pm: Claiming victory in an upbeat speech, Clinton claims victory in… American Samoa!
Meanwhile, Minnesota is called for Obama, an important state which was holding a caucus, advancing the sweep of the caucus states for Obama. This gives him a good list of states… with Colorado probably coming out soon.
10:50pm: McCain wins Arizona. That is not a surprise at all, but it did take more than 90 minutes for his state to be called. As many of McCain’s strongholds, Arizona is winner-take-all so Romney is completely shut out of the state’s delegate.
10:45pm: VERY big win for Huckabee, as Georgia was just called for him. The state allocates 33 delegates winner-take-all statewide, with the rest being distributed district-by-district. Those 33 delegates are obviously very good for Huck.
For Obama supporters in Missouri, the good news is that Jackson County (Kansas City) is also reporting slower than the rest of the rest and Obama is doing better than Clinton there. But this is also bad news for Huckabee, who is trailing in those portions of the state.
10:35pm: Speaking second, Romney vows to press on, though he has nothing much to claim but victory in MA and UT…
In Missouri, Clinton is ahead 53% to 43% with 58% reporting, but St. Louis and its county are reporting much more slowly, so don’t count Obama out just yet in Missouri. He also is leading 2:1 in Colorado, with 10% reporting, getting close to a sweep of the caucus state.
Also, the New Jersey numbers are getting closer now, with Clinton up “only” 53% to 45%.
10:30pm: Obama prevails in Connecticut, a huge victory for his campaign. This was a state that was supposed to go for Clinton, in the Tri-State area. This will definitely be used in Obama’s spin going forward, a good win in Clinton’s backyard. Obama’s lead is only 50% to 47%, so the candidates are likely to split the delegates pretty equally here.
10:20pm: Obama is continuing to do well in the caucus states. Kansas was just called for him, as he is leading 72% to 27% there with 67% in. Meanwhile, Huckabee is continuing to do well in Missouri (up 35% to 32%), in Georgia (also up 35% to 32%) and Tennessee (up 34% to 32% with 68% in). A win in MO and GA would get Huckabee a lot of delegates. Romney is doing a bit better in caucus states now, leading in both Montana and Minnesota.
10:10pm: Mike Huckabee is the first candidate to take the stage and he claims he is now in a “two-person race.” And indeed he is likely to come out ahead of Romney in the delegate count, but that is because alll the states in which Romney is much much stronger than Huckabee (the Tri-State area for example) are winner-take-all. In New York for example, Huckabee gets 11%. The same is true in CT and NJ. But since Romney is shut out as well, this will not appear in the delegate results.
10pm: Romney wins Utah, an unsurprising result (a recent poll gave him 81%). Obama wins North Dakota and Utah, two caucus states (he is leading ND 61% to 37% with 89% in).
New York is going bigger for Clinton than expected, 60% to 38% with 47% reporting, though Obama is doing better in Illinois, winning with 65%. Both candidates are likely to open some delegate leads in their home states, but we will have to take a look district-by-district to know whether Clinton and Obama managed to force ties in even districts.
With 46% reporting, Huckabee and McCain are completely tied in Tennessee, at 33%,. This would be another big potential win for Huckabee, though the states he is winning are not winner-take-all.
9:50pm: Oklahoma is called for McCain, a good win in a very conservative state. And the caucus states for now are not going for Romney, a surprise given his efforts in those states and given his big victories in places like Wyoming, Maine and Nevada. This night is not going well for Romney. Huckabee is taking the role of McCain’s alternative. Though this could change depending on what happens in California. But even there, a Romney victory would not get him that many delegates.
9:40pm: Obama is winning in the caucus states comfortably right now (leading in MN, Kansas, Idaho, all big) and he is holding out for a win in Connecticut. With 50% in, it’s 50% to 48% for Obama but New Haven and Hartford, two cities that are supposed to help Obama, are coming in very slowly.
With 22% in, we are starting to have a better idea of Missouri with Clinton up 19% and Huckabee up 5%. Obama should do better once St. Louis starts coming in.
Right now, Clinton is leading 462 delegates to 392. Among Republicans, McCain has won 302 (credit NY + CT + NJ), with Huckabee 48 and Romney 44.
9:30pm: Some big projections were just announced. Clinton took Massachusetts and New Jersey, two states that her campaign was very worried about. Alabama was called for Obama, and he appears to be winning it big. All these results appear to be rather comfortable, which is surprising given the very tight polls. Massachusetts is being portrayed as a semi-upset for Clinton, and the size of her victory is indeed a bit embarrassing for Kennedys… if it holds that big (Boston hasn’t come in yet).
Meanwhile, Huckabee is continually to do well, leading in Missouri, Georgia and… Minnesota (surprisingly). And Alabama’s call for Huckabee is being confirmed by MSNBC. Confirming that Romney is not doing well as of right now, he is not even leading in caucus states!
9:20pm: New York called for McCain, 101 delegates winner-take all go for the Arizona Senator. Not a surprise at all, but McCain is amassing delegates…
On the Democratic race, the key exit poll out of New York is that Clinton got more than 70% of the Latino vote. If that holds in California, it could spell trouble for the Obama campaign.
Obama is still ahead in Connecticut, in what could be his biggest victory yet given that CT is in Clinton’s backyard. But we are not there yet, as the lead is only 50-47. Clinton is looking good still in New Jersey and is not weakining in Massachusetts with 30% in. Meanwhile, Fox looked to have been wrong on the Alabama call, as McCain is ahead comfortably for now, with 15% in.
9:10pm: Obama won his first competitive primary, it’s Delaware. This is surprising given that it is a coastal Atlantic state, and, despite it being a small state it is a good win for Obama.
In Georgia, the numbers have not moved with 41% in, with Huckabee 3% up McCain and 6% up Romney.
9pm: Clinton wins New York. All other states closing at 9 — including Arizona’s GOP race — have not been called yet. The exit poll in Arizona has McCain up by a few points only, very surprisingly. Remember, however, that Arizona is winner-take-all.
In Missouri, with 4% in, Clinton is up 56% to 37% for Obama. In Massachusetts, Clinton is up huge right now — but Boston has not come in at all yet, so a lot of votes are outstanding.
A note on Alabama: It has been called by FoxNews, not by any other networks. And McCain is winning the vote for now. So I have not included it in the final cont for now.
8:55pm: Things are looking much tighter than in the second wave of exit polls, as I already noted earlier (and warned could happen). With 30% in, Obama is now up 48% to 46% in Delaware, but Clinton is pulling ahead in Massachusetts, 56% to 40% with 11% in. With 5% in, Clinton is up big in New Jersey, 62% to 34%. With 12% in, McCain is up 2% on Huckabee in Oklahoma.
We are now waiting for the 9pm states to close, including New York, New Mexico, Colorado.
8:45pm: Delaware called for McCain. It’s a winner take all state, so Romney is shutout here as well. With 16% in, Obama is up 50% to 45%, but no projection yet.
In Georgia, it’s 35% Huckabee, 32% McCain and 29% for Romney with 25% in. But the strongest Romney counties, around Atlanta, are coming very slowly, so Romney could still come back and win this thing.
Massachusetts is starting to coming in as well, with Clinton up 9% with 7% reporting.
8:30pm: Clinton and Huckabee are declared winners in Arkansas. Clinton declared winner in Tennessee. No surprises here.
Meanwhile, Romney is suddenly competitive in Georgia, 34% Huckabee to 31% for Romney and McCain.
8:25pm: Alabama is called for Huckabee! This is the first competitive state to be called, and Huckabee is starting to have a very good night. Not only did he win West Virginia, but Alabama was a genuinely competitive state. Worth noting that Romney was not competitive in Alabama. In Georgia, we have 10% in with Huckabee at 37% to 33% for McCain.
Obama is staying stable in Connecticut, up 50% to 48% with 10% reporting now.
8:20pm: Updates from the Southern states: In Georgia, With 7% in, Obama is up 55% to 40%. Huckabe is up 37% to 33% for McCain with Romney at 25%. Exit polls look to be really good for Obama and Huckabee in Alabama. In Tennessee, Clinton looks good and so does Huckabee. Can Huckabee sweep the South? And in the all important Missouri, exit polls show Romney-McCain tied and Obama-Clinton tied as well.
And with 4% in in Connecticut, it’s 51% to 46% for Obama.
8:10pm: New Jersey called for McCain.
CNN’s exit poll shows McCain up in Oklahoma for now, though it’s too close for now. In CT, the exit poll has a small lead for Obama. The MA exit poll has a tie at 48-48 for Democrats. Clinton has a tiny exit poll lead in NJ. All of these states are very close; there has been a tightening since the second wave of exits.
8pm: Projections GOP: Connecticut, Illinois called for McCain; Massachusetts called for Romney; Missouri, Tennessee, New Jersey (!), Oklahoma, Delaware, Alabama too close to call. Projections Democrats: Illinois called for Obama; Oklahoma called for Clinton; Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee
7:45pm: At 8pm are closing: Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee
Important reminder about the early exit polls I reported at 6:20: The second wave had Obama had 75% in Georgia. Now the third exit poll poll wave have Obama up around 65%. Keep that in mind when assessing how much trust to put in the second wave. With 2% reporting, Obama is up 56% to 38%, with McCain up 36% to 34% for Huckabee and 26% for Romney.
7:15pm: All eyes are on Georgia right now, where the GOP primary is looking like a toss-up. The newly-updated CNN exit poll gives a tiny lead to Huckabee, approximately 33% to 31% with McCain at 30%. This is going to be a very long night for Georgia Republicans. Among Democrats, Obama looks to have about 66% of the vote… and 88% of the black vote with Clinton at 11%. The exit poll shows Clinton winning the white vote 57% to 39%. That could mean Clinton is shut out of delegates in some major districts.
7pm: Polls have closed in Georgia and no surprise here. The state is called for Barack Obama, and the Republican race is too close to call (3-way).
CNN’s national exit polls show that those who decided in the last 3 days have split their votes equally, 47% going to Obama and 46% for Clinton. That has got to be reassuring for Clinton as Obama’s camp was counting on a last minute surge. And a note to all those whose tension is rising fast: 71% of Clinton voters would be happy with Obama, and 72% of Obama voters will be happy with Clinton.
6:20pm: The first hints at exit polls are coming from the National Review which is reporting on the second wave of GOP numbers. California (40-36 McCain), Missouri (34-32 Romney) and Georgia (34-31-30 Huck) are all very close, so there is hope for those who are trying to derail McCain. Meanwhile, Huckabee looks stronger than expected throughout the South. Meanwhile, the second wave of exit polls on the Democratic side comes to us from MyDD and they have good news for Obama who looks good in AL, GA, IL, who leads in CT (53-45), DE (56-42), NJ (53-47), MO (50-46). MA is close, and Clinton can count on NY but by a smaller margin than she hoped. First wave numbers in California have Clinton very narrowly up.
Remember those are all very early exit polls, they do not include absentee and early-voting, and things will still move a lot in the coming hours. We all know how much the exit polls favored Kerry on Election Day 2004, and that’s because second wave exit polls are not meant to be that reliable. So no one should start celebrating.
Original post: The first polls close in an hour, and we are waiting for the first batch of exit polls. Of course, we already know the results from one state, with Huckabee’s West Virginia victory. This will certainly be a long night, with California closing at 8pm PT, 11pm ET. Alaska will close even later. Though we could very well see a trend forming. As I have said a few times, a 2-3% uptick for either candidate could be enough for them to sweep most close states.
For now, you can read these guidelines of what to watch for tonight.