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Category Archive for ‘SC-Dem’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'SC-Dem' Category


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With his SC triumph, Obama brilliantly beat all expectations and set himself up for a dramatic run to Super Tuesday

The Clinton campaign was prepared to spin the results of South Carolina and argue that the demographics of the state guaranteed an Obama victory. The press was about to create trouble for Obama’s campaign by casting him as the “black candidate” who won a primary on the strength of the black vote. But that was before the phenomenal margin of Obama’s triumph became evident. With almost all precincts reporting, Obama is ahead 55% to 27% for Hillary Clinton, with Edwards held off at 18%. That means that not only did Obama unexpectedly cross the 50% threshold but he also got double the number of Clinton’s votes.

Obama built up his margin by crushing his adversaries among black voters — 55% of the electorate — who gave him 80% of the vote. But he also exceeded expectations among the white votes. Polls had him hovering above 15% of the white electorate, but exit polls showed him getting 24% of whites, more than holding his own against Edwards and Clinton who stayed in the high 30s. Obama also looks to have pretty much tied Clinton among white males.

In other words, the election’s storyline of an electorate dramatically polarized along racial lines did not come to pass. The Obama campaign was worried that a big win here would be cast as natural for a “black candidate” and that that would lead him to not be able to compete effectively come February 5th, but it instead got the ideal scenario: A win and headlines such as the New York Times’s talking about “a coalition of whites and blacks.”

Two hours before the results, I wrote that, “If the margins are pretty much what we expect… it is unlikely that the results will change that many fundamentals heading into February 5th.” Clearly, the margin between Obama and Clinton was not what we expected, though Clinton at least avoided the debacle of third-place and Edwards did not manage to keep it very close. First of all, the racial polarization storyline — which would have gone a long way towards undermining an Obama win — will not play out very far (despite Pat Buchanan’s assertions on MSNBC). Second, there is no doubt that Obama will be boosted by such results. A 27% point rout of Hillary Clinton is so stunning that it will make a lot of people look at Obama again, as well as give him a lot of earned media. And that is key to Obama’s Super Tuesday strategy where he needs to make up a lot of ground fast in major states across the country, from California to Missouri.

Given how high expectations were for Obama, it is most impressive that he got the kind of win that will still resonate in more states. Clinton’s hope, of course, is to get a big win in Florida on Tuesday. And despite the state not having any delegates, it will be hard for the press to ignore a contest in which more than a million voters go to the polls. Will that be enough to stop the Obama momentum? Don’t forget that about a third of Florida voters have already voted early or absentee according to most estimations, so that is a big share of the vote that will not be affected by the South Carolina results — and all indications are that Clinton has won big among that group.

Clinton’s biggest problem right now is that her strategy is once again being put in question, just as it was after her Iowa loss. It is telling that Obama’s collapse in New Hampshire did not lead to this kind of introspection, nor did his Nevada win. But watching the coverage last night, the consensus was that Bill Clinton was directly responsible for his wife’s humiliating defeat.
And indeed, comments like the one Bill Clinton made yesterday undoubtedly crossed the line of what is acceptable. Asked an unrelated question in the afternoon, Bill unexpectedly brought up Jesse Jackson in a surprisingly transparent attempt to bring up race: “Jesse Jacksonwon South Carolina twice, in ’84 and ’88. And he ran a good campaign. Senator Obama has run a good campaign here, he has run a good campaign everywhere.”

As the consensus now is that Bill Clinton is radioactive, he will no doubt become so with every one of his words being dissected. Obama’s criticism that he is running against both Clintons will be treated much more legitimately after the South Carolina results. Expect a deluge of stories like this one from the New York Times.

It is worth asking, however, how much if at all Bill did hurt Hillary yesterday. There were two questions in the exit poll to measure Clinton’s impact. First, Obama overwhelmingly prevailed among those who made up their mind in the past 3 days — the period in which Bill’s criticisms were the most widely aired. But of the 60% who said that Bill’s campaigning was important in their choice, Obama was ahead but by a margin much inferior to his overall lead, so there is no explicit backlash registered here. Another statistic that we can use is Obama’s 24% among white voters — what accounts for his rise out of the teens? If it is whites reacting to an attempt to make the electorate polarized and make them look racist, Bill Clinton could indeed be faulted. Overall, this will force the Clinton camp to reassess how they want to use Bill Clinton.

And just like that the campaign goes national. The candidates cannot really campaign in Florida — though Clinton will reportedly travel there for private fundraiser! — so they now have to concentrate on February 5th. Obama will have to transition fast from states in which he had campaigned for months and in which he had an impeccable organization to states in which he will have to rely on momentum and buzz to counter Clinton’s organizational advantage. The polls still show Hillary with significant leads in most Feb. 5th states, for example in California and Missouri, for example, that Obama needs to target; he particularly needs to attack the interior states to show that Clinton has trouble winning anywhere but the coasts.

The next few days will tell us how much South Carolina has changed the situation in the Democratic race, though remember how short-lived Obama’s bounce out of Iowa (or Clinton’s bounce out of New Hampshire and Nevada) ended up being.


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South Carolina results thread: Barack Obama crushes Clinton, Edwards third

9:25pm: Obama is by almost 30%, 55% to 26% with almost all precincts in (95%). In his victory speech, Obama emphasized the need for a new politics that he argues SC revealed, blaming the Clintons for their divisive politics: “We’re looking to fundamentally change the status quo in Washington – a status quo that extends beyond any particular party. And right now, that status quo is fighting back with everything it’s got.”
One more note about the results is that turnout was truly outstanding — more than 500,000 voters in the Democratic primary. And not only is that higher than the previous record of 290,000 (in 2004) it is also superior to the Republican turnout of last week (about 442,000). And this is South Carolina, a staunchly red state that Republicans dominate in federal elections.

9:00pm
: With 86% of the precincts reporting, Obama is holding to a massive lead, 54% to 27% for Clinton. Edwards failed to ride any late momentum, at 19%. News is that Edwards is launching ads in 9 states, showing no signs of heading out. Also, reports are that Clinton is heading to Florida on Sunday for fundraisers, which could be a violation of the pledge — though it does not appear that she will hold any public events for now. And Ben Smith reports that Bill Clinton’s image was booed at the Obama headquarters.

8:00pm: With 9% of the vote in, Obama is up 50% to 30% for Clinton and 20% for Edwards. Bill Clinton’s comparison of Obama to Jesse Jackson is getting a lot of attention right now (though, as I already mentioned, those who say they paid attention to Bill Clinton these past two weeks went for Clinton more than those who did not, so the exit poll at least don’t have much evidence of a Bill backlash).

7:35pm: NBC is being called Clinton for second place, a small consolation for Hillary in a disastrous night overall. Obama’s victory could be as big as 30%, and he looks set to cross 50%. Good thing for Clinton that about 30% of the Florida electorate has already voted. (More about this later, but Gov. Crist of Florida is endorsing McCain, a big (and slightly unexpected) boost for the AZ Senator.)

7:20pm: A very interesting exit poll is that, among the 20% who decided in the past three days, Obama got 57% and Clinton 18%, a big explanation for what we are seeing today. The consensus in the coverage right now seems to be that Bill Clinton’s aggressiveness and the role of race moved some white voters to go for Obama after all as a backlash. 60% of voters are saying that Bill Clinton’s campaigning was an important factor in their decision but 47% of these voters went for Obama and 38% for Clinton. If anything, the margin here looks to be much smaller than the margin overall, which does not confirm at all that Bill Clinton hurt his wife.

7pm: Barack Obama has won the South Carolina primary with “a substantial margin.” Clinton is running second but MSNBC says it’s still too early too call the order. Exit polls have Obama leading the black vote 80% to 17% for Clinton and 1% for Edwards, while the white vote divided itself between Edwards and Clinton (39-36)and 24% for Obama. Both of Obama’s numbers are larger than expected, which should help him argue that the electorate is not as polarized as the media is making it. And if those numbers hold it could mean a 20%+ Obama triumph. Also, it appears that Obama won black women just as much as black men, against predictions that Clinton was doing better among black women these past few days.

6:45pm: First hints at exit polls show more than half of the electorate is black, which is obviously great news for Obama. The polls that had some tightening at the top usually justified it by a declining proportion of black voters to under 50%. Another interesting exit poll, 50% of voters are saying both candidates attacked each other unfairly. 70% say it of Clinton and 56% say so of Obama. The Clinton representative on MSNBC just acknowledged that “we know Obama will have a pretty good evening tonight.”

Original post: Polls are closing at 7pm, and the first poll exit polls should be trickling in shortly. The only indication we have for now — as in any Election Day — is turnout. And it looks to be massive, as all reports are of waiting-lines and a record-setting number of voters. 290,000 Democrats went to the polls in 2004, and estimations today are that 350,000 of them could vote. That significant increase would match the experience in the previous voting states like IA and NV. Naturally, it is impossible to know who this turnout benefits without determining whether whites and blacks are increasing their participation are equal rates or not.

For now, you can check these guidelines of what to expect tonight.


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Setting South Carolina guidelines: Could it be anything else than Obama-Clinton-Edwards?

2 hours from polls closing, we shall try to set a few expectations — no predictions — for South Carolina’s Democratic primary.

Ahead in South Carolina for most of the fall, Hillary Clinton relied on her strength among black voters to keep Obama away. They reversed positions among the black votes around December, allowing Obama to pull away from Clinton. And throughout January, Obama solidified his lead among African-American voters, first on the strength of his Iowa triumph and then on the basis of the electorate’s racial polarization following the controversies on race between the two campaigns. It is truly stunning that Clinton was winning the black vote a few months ago.

In the days leading up to New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign was pretty much ready to concede both Nevada and South Carolina as surveys showed a widening Obama lead in the Palmetto State. But then New Hampshire happened and the dynamics of the campaign changed overnight. But it was too late for Clinton to catch up the black vote. And she stayed away for most of this week, dispatching her husband instead to try to keep the margin close without wasting too much time in a contest she did not believe she could win.

The winner of the state back in 2004, John Edwards was marginalized for most of the campaign, but he is closing strong and looking for a second-place finish. Though the polls have not been kind to him, they have picked up some late momentum of his. The problem for Edwards has always been his non-existence among the black electorate, where polls show he gets between 3% and 7%. Despite his strength among whites (where he could very well pull ahead of Clinton) that made it impossible for Edwards to break through like he did in 2004.

And here we are now. The expectations are set for an Obama-Clinton-Edwards finish, so anything other than that will be a huge story. And keep in mind that margins could change more easily than in other contests: Given the huge racial polarization that is taking place here, a small change in the proportion of voters will lead to numbers to shift more than usual. Whether blacks represent a small majority or small minority of voters could make the difference between Obama blowing Clinton by massive double-digits or if Clinton can spin this as a come back by holding him to single-digits. And recent indications that Clinton is getting some female black voters back makes the race even more confused, underscoring how much we don’t know about tonight’s results in an electorate that is much more conflicted than in previous states. Similarly, a larger proportion of whites or of independents could help Edwards storm up and take on Clinton — and that would be truly disastrous news for the New York Senator (keep in mind that she still has Florida to recover prior to Super Tuesday).

If the margins are pretty much what we expect and the order of finish is O-C-E (which is obviously a big if, two hours from polls closing), it is unlikely that the results will change that many fundamentals heading into February 5th. Clinton won Nevada last week, relieving the pressure of winning South Carolina. One thing the election could affect is Edwards’s viability next week. Even if he comes in third, a strong showing by Edwards (say, over 20%) could put him back in the race and make Edwards voters in February 5th states stick with him after all. That could allow Edwards to pick up many delegates then and make it that much more difficult for Obama and Clinton to gather a majority of delegates — and in the possibility of a brokered convention, that would put Edwards in the position of king-maker.

Also, expect some Clinton surrogates to try and portray Obama as the “black candidate” who is most strong in the South… That would be very unfair and unjustified given Obama’s Iowa victory, but who knows what that could do to the electorate of February 5th.

The potential troubles Obama could have because of this are heightened by the media’s determination to paint the Democratic race as a racial battle. Remember, the NYT illustrated one of its first article on the subject with pictures of Elizabeth Stanton and Frederick Douglass. And the media’s choice to run with this storyline only accentuates the polarization and actually does make the electorate polarized. The Politico’s Ben Smith points out a truly amazing example of how far the media will go to portray the racial polarization. He links to this graphic on MSNBC’s website today:

A quick glance at the picture gives the impression that the black and white women are staring each other down in a racially charged confrontation. And this squares with the subtitle of race as “a subtext” of the election. But look at the photograph more closely and you will realize that… all these women are Edwards supporters and holding signs for the former North Carolina Senator.


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The South Carolina expectations are set, and McCain keeps a small Florida lead

Polls have opened in South Carolina, so it is time to review the state’s final polls released this morning and last night. And let’s start with Zogby’s tracking poll that looked so puzzling yesterday:

  • Obama is back to a wide 41% to 26% lead, with Edwards at 19%. Yesterday, it had tightening to 38% for Obama, 25% for Clinton and 21% for Edwards, so it does look like Edwards is losing ground in his race to second.
  • SUSA’s final survey shows similar results. Obama is up 43% to 30% — a slight tightening, with Edwards higher than he has been at 24%. Obama gets 73% of the black vote, while Edwards and Clinton tieat 38%.
  • And then comes the ARG poll that is off what we have seen with other pollsters: Obama is down to a 39% to 36% lead, with Edwards at 22%. That’s a 6% drop for Obama in one day at the expense of Edwards who picks up 10%. Not to hit ARG here, but don’t forget they showed just as wild swings the night before South Carolina’s GOP primary and it didn’t really come to pass. Clinton’s lead among whites is 45% to 33% for Edwards while Obama ‘only’ gets 61% among blacks.

The polls look to have stabilized after the flux they looked to be in yesterday. And this is important because it sets the expectations for tonight and will determine the media’s coverage both before and after the results are announced. But the extent of the racial polarization means that a small change in the composition of the electorate could have huge repercussions on the results as a whole, so don’t think some sort of surprise couldn’t happen, especially when it comes to margins.

And with that, on to the Florida Republican primary where Zogby released its first tracking poll today:

  • McCain is up 31% to 28% for Romney with Giuliani far behind at 15% and Huckabee at 10%. Zogby tells us “it was a big one-day result yesterday for McCain,” which raises the possibility that McCain is the beneficiary of Thursday’s debate after all.

This is the third poll in a row that has McCain with a small lead and above the 30% threshold. I said two days ago that the test for him in Florida is whether he can get out of the 24-25% range in which he was stuck in most polls for a week and whether he could get a big enough plurality in this closed primary — and he appears to be taking care of that worry. Romney better find a way to stop McCain in the next 3 days for McCain looks very strong already in February 5th states.

Speaking of Super Tuesday, we got a poll from Missouri today released by Rasmussen. This is one of the states that Obama is putting the most hope in:

  • Clinton leads 43% to 24% with Edwards at 18%, a disappointing showing for the Illinois Senator 10 days from the contest.
  • The GOP results are also interesting, as Huckabee gets 27% and McCain 26%, with Romney at 18% and Giuliani at 7%.

It does look like there is room for only one conservative alternative to McCain, and Huckabee and Romney are dividing up that electorate. If McCain wins Florida and sets himself up for 02/05 battles against Romney in some state (CA), Huckabee in others (the South) and Giuliani in the Northeast it’s hard to see how he does not come out of that with a big enough delegate lead to proclaim himself the presumptive nominee.


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Primary polls: South Carolina looks to be in flux and Florida stays too close to call

It is getting hard to know what is happening in South Carolina. Is Clinton on the verge of sinking to third-place? Or is she rather recovering from an awful week in the state and is she now in sight of Barack Obama? There is no question that there would be tremendous shock if the order of arrival is anything but Obama-Clinton-Edwards. If Clinton comes in third, expect a whole new round of stories about her negative campaigning, Bill Clinton crossing the line and that could hurt her terribly with 10 days to go before Super Tuesday. And if Clinton somehow pulls this off or gets within a few points of Obama, the momentum she might get out of it could very well prove unstoppable for the Illinois Senator.

But we aren’t there yet, of course. And the mere fact that we are wondering between those two extremities points to both of them being unlikely. But we have to keep our minds open to a surprise looking at the latest polls:

  • The Zogby tracking poll is fascinating, because it examplifies both trends. In today’s numbers, Obama is at 38%, Clinton at 25% and Edwards rises at 21%, looking close to overtake Clinton. But Zogby points out that, on Thursday alone, it is Clinton that is looking strong, trailing only by 5%, 36% to 31%, with Edwards at 19%. That’s only one third of the sample, so big margin of error, but it does confuse talk of an Edwards surge.
  • Next comes the Mason-Dixon poll which has Obama up 38% to 30%, with Edwards at 19%. Clinton would not be able to trumpet a single-digit loss, but you better believe she would be very relieved.
  • Finally, the most recent PPP poll shows no tightening race at the top whatsoever but confirms that Clinton is getting dangerously close to Edwards: Obama gets 44%, Clinton gets 24% and Edwards gets 19%.

There are hints going in nearly all direction which means one thing: There are a lot of soft backers and undecided voters. And add to that the surprising following statement from ARG’s pollster:

For the first time in 10 days, we saw some shifts last night that could change the race. John Edwards is picking up some support among white voters… Clinton is making up support she is losing to Edwards from African American women… If this trend holds tonight coupled with a decrease in African American voting, the race between Clinton and Obama will be closer than our Jan 22-23 survey suggests.

It does seem that all bets are off! In the Zogby poll, Obama is down to 55% of black support, down 10% from two days ago. And Edwadrs is rising from the dead to capture 7% of black voters — which he really needs to do if he wants to get second. The Mason-Dixon poll also has Obama slightly lower among black voters than he has been in the past few weeks, leading Clinton 59% to 25%. Edwards slightly leads the white vote with 40% to 36% to Clinton. And in a sign of just how absurdly polarized the SC electorate has become along racial lines, Obama gets 10% of white voters!

Meanwhile, both McCain and Romney get good news out of the latest SUSA poll of Florida:

  • McCain gets 30% to Romney’s 28%, and everyone else is far behind. Giuliani gets 18% and Huckabee 14%.A few days ago (before THompson’s exit), it was McCain up 20% to Giuliani’s 20%, with Romney at 19%.
  • Among Democrats, Clinton stays ahead 47% to 30%.

The good news for Romney is evident. He has jumped up 9% in the space of a few days, and has clearly picked up the most Thompson backers. He has distanced Giuliani in his attempt to at least guarantee second-place.

And the good news for McCain is as evident, and I’m not talking about the fact that he is leading. In almost every poll we have seen of Florida in the past few days, McCain has been stuck in a 23% to 26% range. Depending on Romney’s percentage, McCain has led or trailed — but always from the same number. That made me wonder whether McCain could get a large enough plurality of the vote to win in this closed primary, especially with Thompson’s withdrawal. So McCain will be happy to see that he is able to get undecideds to break his way and finally break out of the 23-26% range.

Update: A second Florida poll, this one from ARG also has McCain rising higher. He gets 31% to Romney’s 26% with Huckabee at 15% and Giuliani at 14%. This is still a slight tightening of the race, as Romney trailed by 7% a few days ago. But Romney probably needs Giuliani to be stronger and take more votes from McCain to be able to top the Arizona Senator.

Keep in mind also that it is absurd to just take Thompson out of these polls entirely as some of these pollsters are doing. Not only will Thompson’s name still appear on the ballot, but about a 25% of the electorate had voted by Thompson’s withdrawal, meaning that Fred will still get some support on Tuesday. Also ARG very strangely includes a party breakdown, with McCain leading by 3% among Republicans and by a wide margin among the 6% of independents. I’m not sure what that means given that Florida is a closed primary — who are these independents ARG is polling? Registered Republicans who describe themselves as indies? Or is there a methodology problem here?


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Not much suspense about the outcome, but there is plenty to watch for in South Carolina

No one really doubts that Obama will win South Carolina on Saturday, though Clinton could still benefit from a surge in the share of white vote and in the proportion of whites she gets. Like most victories that are expected, the margin will determine the coverage Obama gets on Saturday: (1) Will he beat Clinton decisively? And (1) will he cut his losses among whites?

If both conditions are fulfilled, Obama could certainly get a significant bounce heading into February 5th. Otherwise, his win will be covered but remain unlikely to change the dynamics of Super Tuesday. And Clinton knows that she needs to minimize her involvement in the Palmetto State to make a defeat seem unimportant (though she was ahead here for much of the fall). She has barely campaigned in the state, and she was in… New Jersey last night, one of the states she must win come February 5th.

And with that we got two new polls today showing Obama leading — albeit his movement goes in opposite directions:

  • In the ARG survey, Obama increases his lead a bit and is now up 45% to 36%, with Edwards far behind at 12%. Clinton’s lead among white voters is particularly higher than usual (52% to 24% for Obama, with Edwards at only 16%), while Obama crushes her 71% to 17% among blacks. ARG also has whites making up 55% of the electorate, which is a higher proportion than usual.
  • The Zogby poll, meanwhile, finds that Obama has slipped from 43% to 39% in a day, with Clinton at 24%. Edwards has risen to 19% — threatening Clinton’s second place. More surprisingly, Obama is going down among black voters (down to 56%) and Edwards pulled in 27% for Wednesday alone, increasing every day — and passing Clinton.

There is no question that a third-place Clinton showing is not expected and would generate a lot of bad press for the New York Senator — perhaps even similar to that she got after Iowa. With all her attempts to distance herself from the state and seem unconcerned, Clinton should be very careful here. At the same time, Edwards could only take second with a sizable lead among whites. After all, he is nowhere among black voters and that is a significant disadvantage he has to make up.

The problem for Edwards at this point might be financial. His campaign just e-mailed out a plea to its supporters to donate money so this new ad can air: “I’m contacting you with an urgent request. If we can raise $65,000 today, we can get a great campaign spot featuring John on the air in South Carolina for the last 24 hours before the primary this Saturday.” Of course, this is also probably an exaggeration of the campaign’s financial trouble, but candidates rarely make so direct appeals unless they really can’t air an ad (remember Thompson going off the air for 24 hours in Iowa in the week leading up to the caucuses).

One more consideration related to Edwards is what effect keeping him in the race longer could have on Super Tuesday. Both candidates were expecting Edwards to get a second whooping in South Carolina after Nevada’s 4% and have nowhere to go but fade, opening up a huge number of votes on February 5th. If Edwards gets second or a strong third (which is definitely possible), don’t expect him to go anywhere or surrender his 15% to his rivals. Edwards is still in a position to get many delegates on Super Tuesday and possibly play king-maker if it all goes to a convention. And that prospect must be terrifying to both the Obama and Clinton campaigns, who would much rather have things under their direct control.

Update: More confirmation of an Edwards rise in South Carolina comes from SUSA’s latest poll from the state. It shows Obama at 45%, with Clinton at 29% and Edwards at 22%. A week ago, it was Clinton at 36% and Edwards at 15% — a clear trendline. Clinton gets 37% of the white vote to Edwards’s 33%, while Obama crushes Clinton among the black vote 73% to 18%. To overtake Clinton, Edwards will probably have to win the white vote by at least double-digits, so he is not quite there yet.


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Count no one out: Florida is wide open (for Republicans, that is)

Four new polls out of Florida today show different leaders and varying margins. The one vague consensus appears to be that it’s a McCain versus Romney race with Giuliani and Huckabee lagging behind but well within striking distance. To the numbers:

  • The most reputable poll is the St. Petersburg Times’s. It has John McCain at 25% with Romney at 23%, with Huckabee and Giuliani at 13%. The poll was conducted prior to Thompson’s dropping out and has the former candidate at 4%.
  • We also get Democratic numbers from this survey, with Hillary up 42% to 23% for Obama and 12% for Edwards.
  • McCain is also ahead in the new Strategic Vision poll which has him up 25% to 22% on Giuliani, with Romney at 20% and Huckabee at 18%. Thompson got 6% in this survey.
  • A week ago, Strategic Vision showed McCain ahead 27% to 20% to Huckabee, with Romney at 17%, so the race has tightened.
  • And Romney fans get to celebrate because the former governor is up in two other polls. First, an Insider Advantage poll that has him at 24%, with Giuliani at 19%, McCain at 18%, and Huckabee at 12%.
  • Second, a PPP survey has Romney leading 28% to McCain’s 25%, Giuliani’s 19% and Huckabee’s 15%.

Huckabee at this point is the only candidate among the top four who is retreating from the Sunshine State. Though he led in some polls here back in the days of his national surge in November, Huckabee doesn’t have the money to compete here and expect to see him declining in the coming days. The question, of course, is who Huckabee defectors end up voting for.

Giuliani has put everything in Florida and it seems that he will leave everything there as well if he loses the state. He is spending about $375,000 a day right now, and he is still close enough to hope that investment yields him a victory next Tuesday. Helping Giuliani is the fact that McCain appears to be having some money problem that has forced him to attend fundraisers these past few days instead of traveling around Florida (yet again, this is probably the best time to spend time raising money, given that the campaign will go national immediately after Florida).

But every one is at a loss to explain why Giuliani is still refusing to go after McCain in what could be his only hope of hoping the Senator’s momentum at this point. Today, Giuliani released a web video criticizing McCain’s opposition to a national catastrophic fund — but such an attack only has a chance of doing any damage if it is aired on TV or in mailers, of course, not on the Internet. (Update: The WaPo’s Fix has a link to this web video and also wonders why Giuliani is not going all-out with this issue that Chris Cillizza describes as a rare clear policy difference that could be a huge political winner. A puzzled Cillizza adds, “We tried to get to the bottom of this decision, speaking with any number of Giuliani advisers. They insisted that the decision not to put the ad on television had nothing to do with money.”)

One more reason to not dismiss Giuliani’s chances at a strong showing: Don’t forget (as I have already discussed) that Giuliani’s strength comes from absentee voting and early voting. Recent polls have shown him tied with McCain among those who have already voted (which could be about 25% of the electorate at this point) and looking much weaker among those who have not. But that means that Giuliani has a base of votes that have already come in and that he is more immune than the other candidates to whatever movement occurs in the final week.

  • More evening polls: Heading to February 5th

A few more noteworthy polls tonight, starting with Rasmussen’s new South Carolina survey, that has Obama with a widening lead, 43% to 28%, with Edwards at 17%. The black votes goes big for Obama, 68% to 16%, with Clinton taking the white vote 40% to 21%. Edwards is second there with 27%.

Meanwhile, we are getting an increasing amount of surveys from February 5th states, some of which have not been surveying that much so it’s a good opportunity to get a better idea of what to expect in two weeks:

  • In Arizona, a good test of the Western vote in which Latinos could make a difference, the GOP race is not close, as John McCain gets his home-state 41% to 18% for Romney. Everyone else is in single-digits… And it’s not usual to see Romney that much stronger than Giuliani in states where the campaign has not engaged, a sure sign that Romney is starting to be paid attention to.
  • In the more interesting Democratic race, Clinton has a big 45% to 24% lead. This is the kind of red-leaning state Obama should look into winning to demonstrate his appeal in territory Democrats have struggled in, and he should be helped by Gov. Napolitano’s endorsement — but this is a big lead that will be hard to close.
  • Some interesting numbers also from the Alabama primary which has Clinton at 31% and Obama at 28% in what is essentially a statistical tie. Clinton is crushed among the black vote — but what gives her a small lead her is that Edwards is very weak among white voters, at only 13%.
  • Finally, in a Quinnipiac poll of New Jersey, the race to watch is the GOP fight between Giuliani who has slipped into second-place at 26% and McCain who has taken the lead at 29% — Romney is third at 14%. Thompson gets 9% here — so the distribution of that vote will be very interesting to watch. Naturally, NJ was supposed to be one of the two most momentum-proof states for Rudy, so…
  • Among Democrats, Clinton is leading 49% to 32%, with Edwards at 10% — but she trails among black voters by just as much as anywhere else, 62% to 27%, showing that she has lost the black vote pretty much nationally at this point.

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Good and bad news for Clinton: Obama has a wide lead in South Carolina, but it’s going to be hard to ignore Florida

Zogby’s first tracking poll of the Democratic race in South Carolina is out, and it gives a wide lead to Barack Obama:

  • Obama gets 43% to Clinton’s 25%. Edwards’s is not that far behind, at 15%.
  • Clinton is doing stunningly poorly among two groups. First, she loses the black vote 65% to 16%. And she barely gets a better share of the male vote, trailing 50% to 19%. The white vote is very divided, as Clinton is barely ahead of Edwards there — 33% to 32%, with Obama trailing at 18%.

Zogby points out that Edwards appears to be catching up a bit more every day — and there is no question that Clinton falling to third would be a big blow to her campaign. But that for now seems unlikely. Even if Edwards manages to pull to a tie among the white vote, most polls agree that he gets almost no share of the black vote which would make it very difficult for him to rise to a significant percentage.

The problem for Obama right now is that, if these numbers hold on Saturday, many in the media might be tempted to describe him as “a black candidate” who won on the strength of the black vote. Needless to say that such racial polarization would not play well for Obama come February 5th. This would naturally be extremely unfair to Obama and a stunning mischaracterization of the campaign since he had no problem winning a large plurality in Iowa, which is pretty much entirely white. So let’s keep in mind that no one dismissed Clinton as the “female candidate” after New Hampshire because she relied on the women vote to get ahead.

Meanwhile, Clinton gets some very good news in her quest to make Florida relevant. All polls indicate that she is marching towards a big victory in the Sunshine state and, a week from Super Tuesday, she is hoping that gives her a boost — especially if it can offset the probable loss in South Carolina. The problem, of course, is that no one is campaigning in Florida because of the pledge, there is no ads running (except on national cable, though even that sparked a controversy when Obama started running his) and no delegates. But look at what Marc Ambinder reports out of Florida today:

For Democrats, the number of returned absentee ballots in Florida so far exceeds the total number turned in in the 2004 general election, and the number of Democratic early voters plus the number of absentees requested is more than the number of actual voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada combined.

The numbers tell the story: 96,286 absentee ballots have already been returned, and the turnout projection right now exceeds a million voters. Can the media possibly ignore a contest in which voters came out in such high numbers and had an actual choice between candidates, since no candidate withdrew his name from the ballot? In Michigan, only Hillary was on the ballot so her “win” obviously had to be presented with question marks. But in a contest in which none of the candidate has an unfair advantage, how can the press not cover the primary if that many voters go to the polls?


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Evening polls: California shaping up to be the big prize of Super Tuesday

The first noteworthy poll released today comes from South Carolina and its Democratic primary, which is only 4 days away:

  • Barack Obama is widening his lead, as he gets 44% to Clinton’s 28% and Edwards’s 15%. A week ago, the margin was 44-31.
  • As always, the numbers to watch in SC polls are the racial breakdown, and the electorate is clearly very polarized: Obama leads 70% to 15% among the black vote (I know I often repeat this, but it was only about four months ago that Clinton still led among African-Americans). Among whites, Obama is third at 17%, behind Clinton at 43% and Edwards at 30%. Consider also that 51% of the sample of this poll is black. And another very interesting observation is that Barack’s lead is the same among males and females.

The only good news for the Clinton campaign is that her South Carolina loss is expected and will be covered accordingly by the media come Saturday. But she has to be careful to not fall too far behind; while Obama is expected to win, a 16% loss would be much more than the CW dictates and could be lead Clinton into a world of trouble 10 days from February 5th.

Speaking of Super Tuesday, California is looking to be the prize to get as it is the only very big state that is not in the home-area of one of the Democratic candidates (Obama has Illinois, Clinton has NY and NJ). And among Republicans, CA and its winner-take-all delegate allocation could decide who emerges out of February 5th with the delegate lead — and the status of front-runner. With that, we got two polls from California today. First, the Republican race:

  • EMC Research found John McCain at 24% followed by Romney at 20%. A week prior (in survey taken shortly after New Hampshire), McCain had 30% and Romney 14%, so some major movement. Behind, Fred Thompson is third at 12%, Mike Huckabee at 11% and Giuliani at 7%.

The most shocking number is probably Giuliani’s fifth place showing; he was long ahead by significant margins in states like California. But as he lost his national lead, he also collapsed in places like this. Would even a win in Florida save him at this point?

Second, remember that California is a closed primary (like Florida) and that McCain will face the same problem as in the Sunshine State: How to win with the smallest possible plurality? His hope is to keep the race fractured — but with Thompson’s withdrawal, that’s 12% (probably coming from conservative voters) that will have to be redistributed. So don’t count Romney out, especially considering that he will certainly fund extensive ad campaigns in this state.

  • On the Democratic side, EMC has Clinton leading 39% to Obama’s 28%. Edwards gets 12%.
  • More importantly, a Field Poll was released (the survey that is considered by far the most reliable among CA pollsters). The numbers are very similar to EMC: Clinton gets 39% to Obama’s 27% and Edwards’s 10%. This is more or less the same margin that the Field poll had found in December. And it is remarkable how stable hte race has been. The first Field poll, released in March, had Clinton up 41% to 28%!
  • The Field poll provides interesting internals: Clinton leads 59% to 19% among Latinos, who make up 26% of the poll’s sample. Obama leads by less among black voters, while the two are tied among whites. So Clinton’s lead is almost entirely fueled by her edge among Latinos.

I had expressed my doubts about how much Clinton’s reliance on the Latino vote was justified, saying that they are depending on the theory that Latinos don’t want to vote for black candidates. I now have to admit that Clinton’s lead among Hispanics appears to be real, though I’m still not sure if this tendency can be attributed to racist sentiments or not. We will hopefully get more information about the Latino vote in the coming weeks.

For now, it appears that neither candidate can possibly be out of the race if they win California, which is what makes this contest so important. An Obama victory especially could make him the front-runner by giving him a come-from-behind victory in a large and diverse state that is far from his own base. And if Clinton combines wins in New York and New Jersey with a triumph in California, she would also probably be hard to beat.


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The Democratic race, post-Nevada: Clinton win should limit the probable pain of South Carolina

More than a day after Clinton was declared the winner of the Nevada caucuses, the two campaigns keep throwing mud at each other about what happened in Vegas. The first controversy, of course, was whether it mattered that Barack Obama is getting one more delegate to the national convention than Hillary Clinton is. The Nevada Democratic Party did try to put an end to the debate by pointing out that no actual delegates were being attributed yesterday, and that this first process consisted in the selection of delegates to the April state convention at which the national delegates will be selected. Yes, this is very confusing, but the point is that the contest yesterday was not about delegates; if we are going to have a brokered convention, it is the margin in February 5th states that will matter, not whether Obama or Clinton got one more representative out of Nevada. The bottom line is that Clinton won by 6% — and she probably had a wider margin of supporters going in, since Edwards backers appear to have moved more towards Obama than towards Clinton.

The second controversy has been picking up today, as the two camps are accusing each other of perpetrating fraud and vote suppression. The Obama campaign is accusing the Clintonites of having closed the door of the caucuses early at 11:30am. That, they claim, prevented Obama backers to trickle in until noon, as they were supposed to be allowed to. There was indeed anecdotal evidence that doors close too early at a handful of precincts, and the Obama campaign is pointing to a Clinton manual that says: “11:30: Caucus chair closes door.”

The two responses to these allegations are obvious. First, the Clinton camp did not run the caucuses, the caucus chairs did and they had their own manual — so how would the Clintonites have closed doors at 11:30am? Second, even if there were indeed mistakes, there is no evidence that Obama supporters were more likely to come in closer to noon and Clinton backers closer to 11:30am. And the Clinton campaign is responding by throwing its own allegations of voter intimidation to the Obama campaign, focusing in particular on the Culinary’s efforts to get out voters — but the Nevada newspapers that looked into this found no evidence that intimidation tactics were used.

Overall, the storyline is clear: The election were disorganized and the state’s lack of experience dealing with large-scaled caucuses was evident. But there is no indication whatsoever that one candidate or another was favored by this disorganization, and the fight over who got the most delegates is meaningless to the question of who won Nevada. Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama in Nevada — and the media is covering it like that, which means most voters nationally will be reading that headline. Clinton did much better than expected among union members — especially in the Strip where the Culinary failed to organize its members to go out for Obama. To put it simply, the union endorsed Barack much too late, and the Clinton campaign had already done too much outreach in Vegas for the endorsement to change that much.

Going forward, then, how does Nevada affect the coming contests? With a week to go to South Carolina, yesterday’s caucuses should not affect the results there dramatically. If anything, Obama’s win there is even more likely now given how badly Clinton was crushed among black voters. If that pattern holds — and it is conform to what we saw in Michigan on Tuesday — there is no way Clinton can get that close in South Carolina, which is why she is likely to spend much of the coming week reaching out to African-American voters. She at least needs to keep it close in next week’s primary to avoid Obama getting too big a momentum out of that state and into Florida. At the same time, Clinton will drive up expectations for Obama; at this point, no one really expects Hillary to pull it off next Saturday and the campaign will milk the expectations game as much as it can.

There is no question that the Nevada win is crucial for the Clinton campaign — but it was much more important to avoid possible damages than to get any real momentum. Clinton would not have been in good shape if she had gone 0-2 following New Hampshire and heading in the big-states. A lot of the pressure was on Hillary yesterday, and she had much more to lose than Obama. She performed the way she needed to and she can now prepare for Florida and February 5th on a roughly equal playing field. Her campaign also has got to be happy that she handily won the Hispanic vote in Nevada. I suggested the other day that Clinton’s reliance on the latino vote could prove her undoing, but it carried her through yesterday. If this pattern holds in Florida, I could be ready to retract that comment and admit that Clinton has a huge advantage in states like California if she holds on to the Latino vote like that.


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McCain keeps an edge in South Carolina, Democrats vote along racial lines

12 hours from the polls opening, three new polls from South Carolina confirm that John McCain is favored going into tomorrow’s voting, albeit by differing margins:

  • The SUSA poll has McCain maintaining his lead, 31% to 27% against Huckabee. It was 29% to 26% a few days ago. Romney and Thompson are basically stable at 17% and 16%, with Paul at 5% and Giuliani at 2%.
  • The Fox News survey, which was taken on January 16th and 17th, has McCain with a very health 27% to 20% lead, with 15% to Romney and 11% to Thompson, with 4% to Paul and 3% to Giuliani. Last week, McCain was leading Huckabee 25% to 18%. Notice, however, that there is a high number of undecideds (19%); other polls show that evangelicals are more undecideds than non-evangelicals, which could help Huckabee.
  • Finally, an Insider Advantage conducted the poll entirely Thursday and finds Huckabee and McCain tied at 26%, with Thompson and Romney at 13%. Giuliani and Paul are tied at 5%. The pollster adds that (1) indications are that Huckabee’s turnout and motivational edge could help him catch up a few points, and (2) the Wednesday polling has huckabee up 5% (though I’m not sure what that means since this poll was entirely taken on Thursday).

McCain looks to be ahead but Huckabee has what it takes to catch up with him tomorrow. Behind the two front-runners, Romney and Thompson are playing for third — and even that would certainly not be good enough for Thompson, though it could boost Romney heading into Florida (especially if he wins Nevada).

SUSA also released numbers for the Democratic primary to be held next week, and the results favor Obama still, as he leads 46% to 36%. That’s actually an improvement for Hillary who was trailing 50% to 30% in the last SUSA poll taken before New Hampshire. But she is truly sinking among the black vote. Take a look at the trendline:

  • In November, the first SUSA poll, Obama led the black vote 52% to 39% (and that was after a significant improvement on his part, since Clinton led among blacks for much of the year). Two weeks ago, it was 69% to 23%. Today, Obama is ahead 74% to 20%.
  • Meanwhile, Clinton is running much better among whites than she did two weeks ago, which accounts for the improvement of her results. She then led 38% to 29%, now she gets 50% (the highest since early December) to 26% for Edwards and 22% for Obama.

The South Carolina primary is clearly coming down on racial lines, and the racial controversies of the past 10 days account for the polarization of the electorate. And this is not a game Clinton can win in that state, especially with Edwards in the game.


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New polls from Nevada and South Carolina show states ready to split

With one more full day of campaigning for Republicans in South Carolina and for Democrats and Romney in Nevada, we get a new batch of polling from both states with results that are inconclusive at best.

Nevada: Let’s start out west, because we only have one poll from NV and its results are not yet fully known. But the Las Vegas Sun has already leaked the major story: Romney and Clinton are both up by significant margins. Romney is leading the field by 15% and Clinton by 9%. The survey was conducted by Mason-Dixon, a reliable pollster. There is no question that such a decisive victory in Nevada would be a divine surprise for Clinton and, to a lesser extent, for Romney (whose victory here has become expected); and it would allow Clinton to ease the pressure of what looks like a probable defeat in South Carolina.

But keep in mind that the only two other polls released this week (Research 2000 and ARG) had a toss-up in the Democratic race and a tighter Republican race. The reason for this is evident, and the Sun admits it: “The problem is that no one — and I mean, no one — has any idea what the turnout will be.” The Nevada caucuses have never played such a role, turnout in 2004 was only 9,000 voters, and absolutely no pollster has any clue how to project turnout for Saturday. I will of course update with the actual numbers tomorrow morning — and we should also get Zogby’s take on Nevada then.

South Carolina: This is a primary, and is much easier to poll. And get ready, because there was a deluge of surveys in the past few hours, so much so that I am going to have to separate out Republicans and Democrats. Since the GOP primary is only in two days, let’s start with Republicans. And it is obvious that polls disagree very much on whether McCain has a significant lead, though they all put him at the top and agree on a basic order:

  • Two polls out this morning from Zogby and from PPP had McCain up 7% and 8%. And they are supported by the ARG survey that has McCain up 33% to Huckabee’s 23%. Romney is close behind at 20%, with Thompson at 13%.
  • But three other polls have much closer races. The most important is surely the Mason-Dixon survey in which McCain leads 27% to 25%, with 15% for Romney, 13% for Huckabee, 6% for Paul and 5% for Giuliani. Evangelicals favor Huckabee 33% to 20%, but McCain leads 2:1 among non-evangelicals.
  • Second, the SUSA poll (conducted on the 16th) has McCain at 29%, Huckabee at 26%, Romney and Thompson at 17%, Paul at 5% and Giuliani at 3%. The previous SUSA poll was done on the 7th, so post-Iowa but pre-New Hampshire, and it had Huckabee leading McCain 36% to 17%.
  • Finally, Rasmussen came out with the tightest poll of them all, showing McCain and Huckabee tied at 24%, with Romney at 18%, Thompson at 16%, 5% for Paul and 3% for Giuliani.

Just like Iowa, it all hinges on evangelical turnout for Huckabee. Evangelicals came out in higher than expected numbers in the caucuses, and propelled Huck to a 9% lead despite the fact that he was under-organized. If Huckabee manages to make that happen once more, he could very well take the lead Saturday night. If he fails, however, his candidacy will be in serious peril, for he cannot succeed in an electorate of which about half is evangelical, can he win anywhere?

Notice also that all four polls agree with the basic order: McCain - Huckabee - Romney - Thompson - Paul - Giuliani, setting up an honorable result for Mitt and yet another shocker for Giuliani. For the candidate who had the national lead until a month ago, getting in under 4% in 3 of the first 4 contests has got to be humiliating. Naturally, this order could be completely shuffled up, as all the polls also agree that most of the margins are well within the margin of error.

And now on to the Democratic race, where four polls were released this afternoon. All give a healthy lead to Obama who has consolidated the black vote and looks unlikely to look back in the next 9 days. Which makes a Clinton victory in Nevada that much more important:

  • Rasmussen gives Obama a 44% to 31% lead, which is a significant improvement from the 5% lead he had a few days ago (that poll looks like an outlier as Obama was up double-digits in Rasmussen surveys for a few weeks now).
  • Mason-Dixon agrees with the storyline, giving Obama a 40% to 31% lead, with 9% for Edwards.
  • Insider Advantage has it outside the margin of error as well, 41% to 33%, with 13% undecideds. Among black voters, Obama leads by a crushing 61% to 17%. Remember when Clinton led the black vote just a few weeks ago?!
  • And ARG pits the race a bit more close, 44% to 38% with 9% for Edwards.

Clinton has entirely lost the black vote, but Obama trails widely among the white electorate. And to put it in frankly, Clinton’s problem is very simple: John Edwards is taking a part of the white vote that might go to her otherwise. The electorate here is divided along racial lines, and Obama’s disadvantage among the white vote is being offset by the fact that Clinton and Edwards are dividing up that vote. The most clear indication yet that race is playing an actual role in determining results — just as Clinton relied on the female vote in New Hampshire to press ahead.



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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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