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


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Heading to Florida, GOP emerges out of chaos

John McCain’s narrow win in South Carolina brought some clarity to the Republican race, that was threatening to sink into utter chaos if Huckabee had managed to scramble the cards once more. Let’s give John McCain credit for his victory, because Huckabee sure looked set to triumph here when he won Iowa on the strength of the evangelical vote. And what is even more remarkable is that McCain managed to win in an environment that was much more difficult for him than in 2000. Only 19% of the electorate was independent this year, versus 30% in 2000, but McCain appears to have narrowly won the vote of registered Republicans. He performed above expectations in the upstate conservative strongholds and triumphed the more moderate coastal counties.

The key factor in McCain’s victory is that the field was fractured. In 2000, McCain was facing George W. Bush who had rallied the party’s establishment. McCain lost despite getting 42% of the vote. This time around, Fred Thompson’s presence on the ballot helped McCain a great deal. By taking third-place and running very strongly upstate (21% in Greenvile County, for example), Thompson kept Huckabee’s percentages down among evangelicals and conservatives. Huckabee “only” got 41% among evangelicals to McCain’s 27%. In Iowa, Huckabee had crushed Romney 46% to 19% among that group. Another factor that helped McCain was Romney’s decision to concede the race a few days ago. That seems to have weakened Romney in the coastal counties and allowed McCain to open up big margins there.

Yet, however narrow his victory and whether or not he would have won without Thompson being on the ballot and without Romney conceding the state, McCain’s win is a huge boost to the Arizona Senator. And it is the main story out of Saturday. We always knew the Nevada results would be overshadowed by South Carolina and its king-maker reputation kings in Republican politics. This by no way means that McCain has wrapped-up the nomination, but he has certainly reclaimed his front-runner status. Since his New Hampshire win, McCain has been rising in national polls and now looks very strong in states like New York, New Jersey and… Florida. With the press now celebrating McCain’s renaissance in the Palmetto State, his big-state advantage will likely strengthen. To put it as clearly as possible, McCain’s rivals better hope to stop him in Florida.

Another reason why the Republican race is now so much more clear — beyond the fact that there is now a front-runner — is that three candidates are much less viable tonight than they were this morning. I am speaking, of course, of Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani.

First up: Huckabee. His nomination route was entirely based on a Southern strategy that would make him win the February 5th states among which evangelicals are the strongest and combine that with strong showings nationally thanks to the force of the religious right and also of more working-class voters that allowed him to helped him claim third-place in Michigan. Huckabee was even hoping to get a strong showing in Florida off a victory in South Carolina. But that strategy is now put in peril. Around 55% of the electorate tonight was evangelical, and if Huckabee did not manage to win in this kind of environment, where can he succeed? The Iowa caucuses were about 60% evangelical — but that was also due to the fact that there were lower-turnout caucuses. Huckabee did not even get a clear win among that group, as his 14% advantage is not enough if he wants to get his Southern strategy to work.

Second, Fred Thompson. South Carolina was “his stand” as he put it, and he came in a weak third. Frankly, one has to wonder whether he isn’t even a bit happy about the results, as long as he made John McCain win. In his speech tonight, Thompson was already speaking in past tense, and he will face a deluge of questions about when he is dropping out. Thompson is nowhere in national polls nor is he polling in significant numbers anywhere else in the country. His only hope was a strong showing there, and it had been a while we knew he would not get it.

Finally, the results tonight were worrisome for Rudy Giuliani. Up until today, everything had played out perfectly for his campaign. Three winners in three states, no front-runner and chaos. But McCain’s rise leaves very little space for Giuliani, so that Rudy desperately needed Huckabee to extend the chaos. Not only do McCain and Giuliani appeal to the same group of socially moderate voters focused on national security, but McCain is strong in the states that Giuliani needs the most. And a recent poll of New York has McCain moving into a tie with Giuliani in his home-state. If McCain had lost tonight, he would have faltered in places like New York and Florida and allowed Giuliani to recuperate his voters just as the spotlight turns back on him. But Giuliani will now have to deal with a surging McCain who will make it that much more difficult for Rudy to get anywhere in Florida. And this is not even mentioning the fact that Giuliani came in sixth in both of today’s showings, at 4% in Nevada and at 2% in South Carolina — two pathetic showings for the candidate who long ran as the national front-runner.

And that leaves McCain confronting Mitt Romney, who came in a weak fourth tonight considering he had spent millions in the state since September. But Romney triumphed in Nevada earlier in the day which guarantees that he stays in the storyline going forward. Romney now has a delegate lead which he will keep until at least January 29th; he is also the candidate with the most state wins, having also won Michigan and Wyoming. And more importantly, Romney has all the money he can wish for given that he is freely spending his personal fortune. Romney probably realizes that he needs to cut McCain’s advantage there, for he cannot afford seeing McCain head into Super Tuesday with a huge high-profile triumph in Florida.

We’re ten days from the next Republican contest, and the storyline has finally gotten more clear: John McCain and Mitt Romney are locked in a tight battle for the nomination, with Rudy Giuliani trying to save himself in Florida and Mike Huckabee trying to generate some buzz in Southern states. Granted, both races have been crazy enough that no one should be counted at this stage, especially in the run-up to Florida. But the situation certainly appears much less chaotic than it did twelve hours ago.


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South Carolina Results Thread: McCain wins tight battle, marginalizing Huckabee!

9:50pm: With 97% of the vote reporting, McCain is ahead 33% to 30% with Thompson at 16% and Romney at 15%. Paul is still in front of Giuliani, 4% to 2%. And in a sign of just how well McCain did in the state’s most conservative areas, consider that McCain trails Huckabee in Greenville County by only 3% (29-26) with all precincts in. Thompson got 21%. This is the kind of place Huckabee had to do much better in.
And with that, here are the main narratives of today on the GOP side — with a more complete analysis to come by tomorrow morning: (1) McCain is once again the front-runner. (2) Thompson has nowhere else to go. (3) Huckabee lost a lot tonight, in particular his claim to hold the evangelical vote, his hope to pursue a Southern strategy and his ability to compete strongly in Florida and on February 5th. (4) This is an awful result for Giuliani, who will have trouble getting anywhere in Florida with McCain strong. (5) Romney saved himself by triumphing in Nevada, and the race comes down to Romney-McCain, at least for the coming days.

9:20pm: South Carolina is called for John McCain! Huckabee is trailing by 14,000 with 83% of precincts in, which is only a 3% difference. Considering that Horry County still has to report, that Huckabee is running weak in upstate and McCain is running strong in coastal states Huckabee has no more paths to victory though he could still hold this thing close. And let’s be clear about two huge reasons that helped McCain here: (1) Thompson’s third-place cost Huckabee his victory — as is demonstrated by Thompson’s strong showing upstate. (2) Romney conceding South Carolina helped McCain open up huge margins in coastal counties or areas where the evangelical vote is weaker. Thompson must be happy about helping McCain; but this is not good for Romney, so he could come to regret his decision.

9pm:
Results are still coming in fast, and it’s now 72% of precincts in. It’s still too close to call, but Huckabee is making up no ground, still trailing 34% to 29% (1,300 votes). Myrtle Beach’s Horry County (where McCain is strong) has not reported at all yet, which is reassuring for the McCain camp.

8:40pm:
Thirteen percent more of precincts are now reporting (for a total of 44%), and Huckabee has recovered a bit, trailing by 7,000 votes, 33% to 30%! Thompson is still third, 15% to 14%. Reports from Huckabee camp indicate that they have not given up hope yet. One example to illustrate Huckabee’s troubles: Greenville County, upstate, is supposed to be Huckabee country and the two candidates are instead tied there. And why is that? Thompson gets 21% in that county… Overall, McCain is running strong in counties where he was expected to be weak — much stronger, in any case, than Huckabee is running in the coastal states. (Did Romney’s pulling out of SC also help McCain? Romney could have gotten some more votes in those same coastal states.)

8:30pm
: Bad news for Huckabee supporters, who is not closing the margin with 30% of precincts in. McCain is up 35% to 28%. In upstate counties in which Huckabee had to do very well, he is not running as high as he is supposed to and Thompson is getting some high numbers, flirting with 20% — most of that support has probably come from Huckabee. In the coastal counties that are key to McCain, he is getting some big margins: He is up by 24% in Charleston County with almost all precincts in. MSNBC seems to have decided that Thompson’s only concern right now is to help McCain — which is perhaps going too far.

8:20pm: Huckabee was getting closer and closer and was only within 3% and McCain suddenly got a surge of votes. With 22% in, McCain is up 36% to 28% again. And you can be sure to attribute some of that margin to Thompson’s presence on the ballot, since a big reason Huckabee is relatively weak among evangelicals is that Thompson took some votes from him.

8:05pm: The results are actually coming in quickly now. With 12% of precincts reporting, McCain is narrowly ahead 34% to 30%, with Thompson third at 15% and Romney at 14%. Ron Paul gets 4% and Giuliani has… 2% yet again! Meanwhile, Thompson already spoke tonight, rather early which sparked speculation that he might be dropping out, but nothing of the sort.

7:50pm: If McCain pulls it off, he will have done so in an environment that is much less favorable to him than 2000, since 19% of voters are independent compared to 30% 8 years ago. McCain is doing much better than he did then — and much better than he did in Michigan. And notice that Huckabee is running significantly weaker among evangelicals than he did in Iowa. Meanwhile, Duncan Hunter has just withdrawn from the race — which means Giuliani better start climbing because sixth spot (which he has gotten in three out of four elections now) will now be the last spot.

7:15pm: CNN has released its first round of exit polls and it looks like McCain is leading by about 3% for now (which is clearly too close to call). Among the 79% of registered Republicans, McCain is up 30% to 29%. But among independents, McCain is up 37% to 23% — which could be enough to pull him in a lead, despite the fact that 79% of voters are GOPers (much higher than 2000. Evangelicals broke for Huckabee 41% to 27%. But Huckabee looks to be only at 14% among non-evangelicals…

7pm
: The polls have closed in South Carolina, and the only definite indication from exit polls for now is that… McCain and Huckabee are competing for first, and Romney and Thompson are competing for third. Stunning, indeed. Other indications from early exit polls: 53% of voters are white evangelicals, which should help Huckabee. And registered Republicans make up 79% of the vote, a much higher percentage than back in 2000.

Original Post: The South Carolina primary marks the first controversy about the voting itself, as there have been numerous reports of machines malfunctioning in Horry County, in the Eastern part of the state. This is one of McCain’s strongholds, as he performed very well here back in 2000. Voters are reportedly being told to pushed away or told to vote with any piece of paper. The situation had not been entirely fixed by 4pm.

This has led McCain endorser state Rep. Tracey Edge to reveal that the campaign was trying to get a judge to extend the voting hours in that part of the state, though the only circuit court judge who is competent to do this appears to not yet have been contacted. A delay would also postpone results being announced, but it might not happen after all, as TPM quotes a McCain spokesperson as denying that the decision to pursue a delay has been made yet.

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is surely breathing easy right now knowing that he will have good press come tomorrow no matter how he does in South Carolina. His crushing Nevada wins ensures that he will be part of the storyline — and frankly perhaps overshadow the SC winner given that he managed to get more than 50% of the vote in Nevada.

While we wait for the polls to close, you can check the Nevada results or these guidelines of what to expect tonight.


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Guidelines to Nevada and South Carolina, with the day’s program

Busy Election Day today, with 3 different contests being held at different times. And that certainly makes life confusing for those of us trying to follow the results. So here is the day’s program:

  • The polls close at 7pm in South Carolina, so results should start tricking in then.
  • The Nevada GOP caucuses start at 9am PT and will conclude by 10am PT. The results will then start being posted, though it could take a few hours for the final numbers to be released (at the latest by 12:30pm PT)
  • The Democratic caucuses start between 11:30am PT, and have to end by 1pm PT. The numbers will start coming in then and we should know who has prevailed in the next 90 minutes or so.

In other words, a near constant stream of politial news throughout the day. And to help you decipher the results, as always, here is a quick guideline of what to look for today:

Democrats: Nevada polls cannot be trusted given that pollsters have no history to base themselves on and that the contest is a middle-of-the-day caucus. It appears that the battle for first place is being waged between Obama and Clinton, with Edwards a distant third — and that could have major repercussions on the final results if Edwards finds himself unviable in many precincts and his supporters have to realign to Clinton and Obama (which should help Obama, at least if we base ourselves on the second-choice preferences expressed in Iowa).

The pressure is much higher on Clinton than on Obama here. It looks like Hillary will have a very tough time climbing back in South Carolina, so she has to be expecting another loss in a week. With Florida and February 5th looming in the horizon, a loss for Clinton today would mean losing two in a row and making Obama that much more powerful heading into the big state contests. For the same reason, Obama can afford losing today since he still looks to be in control in South Carolina and a win there would more than offset a loss in Nevada.

Republicans in Nevada: This is the first result we will know today, and Mitt Romney better win it. It is not just that polls show him ahead so pundits are expecting him to triumph here, but he is the only candidate to have spend time here in the past few days and the only candidate to have invested significant resources in organizing. In the past few days, especially, when it became clear to Romney that South Carolina was a lost cause despite the millions he had poured there since September, the campaign invested even more energy in Nevada to get a win here and be part of the storyline today.

A win by Romney would make solidify his delegate lead and make him the first candidate to win three states (Wyoming, Michigan being the first two). He would certainly claim front-runner status and he would have no problem heading in Florida and February 5th with the necessary coverage.

If the winner is anyone but Romney, that would certainly be huge news and the victor would get a significant buzz out of it. But the second-place could also be good to get for the GOP candidates. If he wins South Carolina and gets second-place in NV, McCain especially will make the case that his candidacy is being received nationally and that he is the new front-runner.

Republicans in South Carolina: This is the big one, of course, the state that no GOP nominee has lost for quite a while and the primary that has broken so many past contenders — starting with McCain in 2000. This time, McCain is back and is battling Mike Huckabee for the win. Polls showed McCain ahead for a long time but a few surveys over the past few days have shown the race tightening considerably, making it anyone’s game.

Both Huckabee and McCain have a lot at stake today. First Huckabee: The SC demographics are as good as it gets for Huckabee, who won Iowa on the strength of the evangelical vote. If he cannot pull it off today, he is even less likely to pull it off in the Southern states on February 5th — and I’m not even speaking of the ability he needs to demonstrate at least to some degree to appeal beyond evangelicals. On the other hand, Huckabee would get a tremendous boost out of a win here. He would solidify his lead in other Southern states and be a major contender in Florida, where some polls have shown him leading.

McCain has just as much to lose tonight. However unfair that is, the press and media now expects him to win SC given his lead in polls and a loss would spark a series of stories about how not that much has changed since 2000, that McCain can only win by appealing to non-Republicans and that the base still distrusts him. After New Hampshire, McCain looked like he might coast to the nomination, starting with dual wins this week. But he lost Michigan, and a second defeat tonight would seriously damage to raise money (always a problem for McCain) as well as his strategy that is based on emerging as the national front-runner and winning big states like that.

Behind the two front-runners, Fred Thompson is the one that has the most at stake here. This is the one state he has poured all his effort in, and the one that his camp has always argued he is favored in. It does not look like he has much of a chance to pull a win tonight, but his choice to attack Huckabee could help him take votes from the former govenor and rise at his expense. Thompson could have a very strong showing tonight, but how much does that help him? Can he stay in the race with anything but a win?

Romney has less at stake here given that he left the state 48 hours ago and did not air ads in the week between NH and MI, but he could certainly get a lot of buzz by a strong showing (a strong third-place?). To be fair, Romney poured millions in the state and started running ads much before any of his rivals did, so I am not sure he should be held to such a lower standard. But of course that’s not how politics works.

And one last note on Rudy Giuliani. He will likely come in with a ridiculously low percentage yet again (will Ron Paul beat him for the third time?), but despite that he has had everything he might wish for now: Huck in IA to get Romney out, McCain in NH for the same reason, Romney in MI because McCain had become very threatening. He would love Huck to win tonight, because a McCain victory would make it extremely hard for Rudy to get anywhere in Florida in 10 days. Giuliani’s luck is truly extraordinary given how short-sighted his strategy is and how pathetic his results in the early states (even if Rudy wins the nomination I will not change my mind on his big-state strategy, whose success has been entirely out of his hands for a long time and that is still alive by a constant stream of miracles).


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Snow and caucus realignment could make things more unpredictable, as final polls have race shifting

The final South Carolina polls released today by Zogby and by ARG are I believe the only surveys to have been in the field on Friday, so that might account for the wide swings we are seeing today:

  • Zogby’s tracking poll has McCain falling from 29% to 27%, with Huckabee surging ahead from 22% to 26%. Romney comes in at 16%, ahead of Thompson at 12%. Paul at 4% and Giuliani at 3% are left far behind.
  • Now the strange ARG poll that is completely off from everything we’ve seen: The poll was taken Thursday-Friday, replacing a previous survey in the field on Tuesday-Wednesday. ARG finds Huckabee at 33% (+10!), McCain at 26% (-7!), Thompson at 21% (+8!) and Romney at 9% (-11!!).

Needless to say that the ARG survey should be taken with extreme caution. ARG also showed widely differing results in Iowa from everyone else and ended being gravely mistaken there. And while the Zogby and ARG polls both find Huckabee surging, they do not agree at all on the direction of Romney’s and Thompson’s movement.

For all it’s worth, ARG also has a poll of the Democratic primary in South Carolina, with Obama holding a 6% lead yet again, 45% to 39%. But the important vote today for Democrats, of course, is Nevada and Zogby’s tracking poll shows no real movement besides Edwards’s collapse:

  • Clinton gets 45% to 39%, with Edwards at 6% (yesterday it was 42-37-12).

The polls generally agree that Clinton is ahead but consider something that no one is really talking about: Nevada is a caucus and, just like Iowa, there will be a realignment phase for voters who are backing an unviable candidate! And considering the percentage that Edwards has been getting in the past few days, it is very possible that he stays unviable in many precincts. That could push him to low totals and it could also make Edwards voters the king-maker in the Obama-Clinton showdown. And the CW is, of course, that that should help Obama, at least in a state like Nevada that does not appear to be voting along strict racial lines like South Carolina.

The X factor among the Republicans in South Carolina, meanwhile, is the weather, with a snow advisory being put out in many parts of the states, with directives to be cautious while driving. This could have a significant effect on turnout — the same way snow probably helped Romney increase his margin on Tuesday by making Democrats and some indies stay home. Here, the same dynamic could play a role if Democrats or uncommitted indies decide that it’s not worth to go vote — and that could hurt McCain. But it could also hurt Huckabee as the regions of the state that are likely to be the most affected or the most dangerous to travel in should be the areas in which Huckabee is the strongest because of the evangelical vote (this report for example has the Huck camp worried about severe weather upstate, which is a crucial area for Huck’s chances). We shall wait a few more hours to know the answers.


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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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Morning delivery of South Carolina and Nevada polls

Polls open in 24 hours in Nevada and South Carolina, and we are getting a new batch of polls, starting with the Mason-Dixon survey of Nevada that was leaked last night. I reported that Clinton and Romney were leading, but here are the actual numbers:

  • Among Democrats, Clinton leads 41% to 32% for Obama. Edwards is far behind at 14%. And while it is difficult to poll these caucuses, the trendlines ought to be very instructive: In last month’s poll, Clinton led by 8% so Obama has picked up no ground.
  • Some important internals: Clinton leads 50% to 29% among Hispanics, and Obama “only” leads by 7% among union households.
  • Among Republicans, Romney gets 34% to McCain’s 19%. Huckabee has 13%, Thompson 8%, Paul 7%. And Giuliani who led the previous Mason-Dixon poll of Nevada, is once again sixth, at 6%! Could Rudy get in behind Paul in both SC and NV tomorrow?

We also have another Nevada poll from Zogby, and it shows a tighter race — though it agrees that Edwards is far behind:

  • Clinton gets 42% to Obama’s 37%, with Edwards at 12%.
  • Clinton leads Obama in Las Vegas (48% to 36%) while Obama leads her in the race of the state (41% to 31%). Here again, Clinton leads among Hispanics 51% to 27%, and Obama crushes her among black voters (81% to 16%) — remember, this did not use to be the case.

As I have been reminding you for the past few days, these surveys cannot tell us that much since no one knows who will show up tomorrow. With no previous caucuses in Nevada to compare this contest to, it’s impossible for pollsters to really know what is going on. And we won’t have to wait for long, as we will get results in the middle of the day tomorrow. The Democratic caucuses start at 11am Nevada time and the GOP caucuses at 9am.

Finally, here is the Zogby tracking pollL from South Carolina:

  • McCain gets 29% to Huckabee’s 22%, just like yesterday. Romney rises 3 points to 15%, Thompson is at 13%, Paul at 4% and Giuliani collapses to 2%.
  • However, Zogby points out that there is a lot of day-to-day movement. This is a three-day poll, and the Tuesday (pre-Michigan numbers) have McCain up by double-digits. But, says Zogby, “In the single day of polling on Thursday alone, Romney hit 19%, while McCain’s lead over Huckabee stood at only 3.2%. If Romney continues to gain after Michigan it will hurt McCain.”

Naturally the one-day numbers are always tricky since they have a large margin of error, and they are a way for Zogby to protect himself if the results are different from what he showed in the poll. But insofar as the trendlines are very much what we would expect post-Michigan, the results are certainly instructive.


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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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South Carolina: McCain is ahead and is starting to draw fire

Two new polls out of South Carolina this morning show McCain consolidating his lead. First up, we have a PPP survey that has been taken after Michigan’s primary though that does not seem to be helping Romney:

  • McCain is ahead with 28%, followed by Huckabee at 20%, Mitt Romney at 18% and Fred Thompson at 17%.

The second poll is Zogby’s tracking poll of which only a third is post-Michigan:

  • McCain stays at 29%, with Huckabee losing a point at 22%. Thompson rises two points at 14% and Romney is now at 12%, with Paul and Giuliani tied at 5%.

Be careful in analyzing Zogby’s numbers, however, since any Romney bump could be detrimental to McCain, while Thompson’s surge appears to be coming at Huckabee’s expense. There is only 48 hours left, but we have seen how quickly dynamics change in the race this year.

The candidates are battling hard, and for evidence of which candidate is afraid of whom check this video someone took of a push poll they received that was pro-Huckabee and anti-Thompson. There are many reports of push polls flying around, and there is obviously no evidence that the Huckabee campaign is pushing this. But it’s one more piece of evidence that Thompson’s revival in South Carolina has been hurting Huckabee the most.

Meanwhile, the McCain campaign has been spending quite some time since New Hampshire claiming to be the object of unfair attacks. It leveled that charge against Romney a few weeks back despite the fact that McCain’s ads were much more ad hominem than Romney’s ever were. And it is now doing the same in South Carolina, having created a “Truth Squad” to fight smears. And this time he might very well be justified given the “Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain” campaign against him.

But McCain’s rivals are not ready to concede that he is being any more attacked than they are (and to be fair, Thompson, Huckabee and Romney have spent quite a few weeks bashing each other here before McCain came into the picture). CNN quotes Rich Galen, a Thompson adviser, as saying calling into question McCain’s complaints: “But ‘the victim of what?’ is, I think, a legitimate question. His victimhood is kind of empty.”

One final note on South Carolina: Mitt Romney has scheduled 2 full days of campaigning in Nevada today and tomorrow. And he is already looking forward to Florida, as he has started running an ad there that is not showing in South Carolina, clearly indicating that he is as close to conceding South Carolina while raising the stakes for himself in Nevada — and that could boost Thompson’s chances of finishing a strong third in SC on Saturday.


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Campaign turns nasty in Nevada and South Carolina

Republicans in South Carolina: Negative campaigning is the norm in South Carolina, where the GOP primary regularly devolves into nasty bickering. 8 years after McCain’s campaign was derailed by a whispering campaign about his “black child,” the Arizona Senator is being hit again by a very ugly flier prepared by a group called “Vietnam Veterans Against John McCain.” The group has also set up a website that details the allegations presented on the flier that McCain is exploiting his POW status and that he collaborated with his captors.

The McCain camp is moving fast to counter the smears, something it did not do very well in 2000. And remember that other candidates have been victim of dirty tricks as well down in South Carolina. In late December, households were sent a postcard that falsely claimed to be issued from the Mormon Church and wished voters a Merry Christmas from the Romney family — a clever way to remind the GOP base of Romney’s religion and get voters angry that they were receiving cards from the Mormon Church.

And Huckabee is also being targeted, as the GOP establishment is organizing its offensive to try and derail the winner of Iowa. An event is being organized today by the Club for Growth, the American Conservative Union PAC and other GOP figures like Dick Armey to discuss Huckabee’s “liberal economic record.”

The union lawsuit in Nevada: The dispute over Nevada’s at-large precincts has still not been resolved, though a ruling should come in the coming days (some background on the controversy available here). The DNC has now entered the fray by filing a brief on behalf of the Nevada Democratic Party and thus in defense of the at-large precincts.

The culinary union is trying to use this issue to motivate its workers to go out and vote for Obama, accusing Clinton of seeking to disenfranchise its workers. Fliers that are being distributed talk about “a hardball effort by Clinton allies to block votes.” Taking steps towards defending the lawsuit, the Clinton camp has explained that a caucus system disenfranchises voters, but why should one particular group (here the culinary workers) be provided accommodations to find a way to vote while no other union or workers’ group is provided a similar boost?

To be fair to the Clinton campaign, there is no evidence that it is behind the Nevada State Education Association, the teachers’ union that has filed the lawsuit. This union is the state’s second largest labor group, and it has not endorsed Clinton. True, some of its leadership has lined up behind the NY Senator, but the factor that explains this dispute the most plausibly is the pre-existing tension between Nevada’s unions.

This article in the Las Vegas Sun details the animosity of many the state’s unions (including some that are not involved in this lawsuit or that are backing Obama, like the AFL-CIO or SEIU) towards the Culinary, an animosity fueled by the latter’s clout, size and influence. Many unions also reportedly resent the Culinary’s refusal to stand by them in labor disputes and referendum campaigns.

And it is perfectly reasonable to believe that the teacher’s union is going after the Culinary because of what it feels is just one more illustration of the unfair advantage its workers are granted. Why aren’t our working sites made into at-large precincts so that our employees can work? And frankly, if the Nevada Democratic Party was so concerned about offenses to the democratic process, it should just have thrown caucuses out of the window and opted for a primary.


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Morning polls: We’re already on to the Saturday contests

The primary process never stops and — merely 12 hours after the Michigan primary is called — it’s on to South Carolina’s GOP contest and the Nevada caucuses. Two polls this morning set the stage for what to expect. The first is Zogby’s new tracking poll from South Carolina. This is the first installment, done from the 13th to the 15th, which means we will know in the coming days whether Romney and McCain move at all because of Michigan’s results:

  • John McCain is ahead, as in most South Carolina polls, with 29%. Huckabee follows at 23%, and everyone else is far behind. Romney gets 13%, Fred Thompson 12%, followed by Paul at 6%. And Giuliani is once again behind Paul (can he survive losing to him three times in four contests?).
  • Zogby predicts 75% of the sample will be registered Republicans, and as often McCain does better among independents. But it’s important to note that he does lead among registered Republicans (29% to 24%), which he was not able to do in 2000.

South Carolina was McCain’s doom in 2000, but notice that he is much stronger among registered Republicans than he was back then. Also, the fact that there is only three days of exclusive SC campaigning reduces the likelihood of a concerted attack against him. Huckabee’s problem is that Thompson is holding firm and perhaps even rising in some polls, and most of those votes are coming from Huck.

Second is an American Research Group survey from Nevada:

  • Among Republicans, Mitt Romney has the lead 28% to McCain’s 21%. Then comes Thompson at 13%, Giuliani at 11%, Ron Paul at 9% and Huckabee at 8%.
  • In the Democratic race, Clinton is barely ahead 35% to 32% for Obama, with Edwards close behind at 25%. In confirmation of how much things have tightened, compare these numbers to early December’s when Clinton led 45% to 18%.

The Republican numbers here contradict the Research 2000 we saw the other day that had Romney fourth in a muddle for first, with McCain slightly ahead. The CW of Nevada is that Romney is the favorite, so we will see in the coming days. If he gets a win here, that would be three states in his column — and it would allow him to get some of the momentum out of Saturday that the winner of SC was supposed to get.

The big fight of Nevada, of course is the Democratic caucus, and things have been heating up lately between Obama and Clinton and even more so between the Nevada unions that have dragged their fight to the courts (more about that soon). The Research 2000 poll had similar results, and it’s striking that Edwards has a high number here — he could surely have done some damage had he gotten the culinary workers’ endorsement as he was hoping to.


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Michigan votes, as candidates start thinking ahead to SC

Polls are now open in Michigan, and they will close at 9pm ET. The catch: The Las Vegas Democratic Debate will start at the same time, forcing political observers to keep one eye on Nevada and one eye on the GOP results. For now, however, the focus is still on the Republican race with the big question mark of who is turning out to vote, and what proportion of the electorate is independent and registered Democrat.

And, as always, we start off the day with our final tracking polls (remember, why polls were completely off in New Hampshire, they had started to show a Clinton come-back by the last 24 hours). And thus here is Zogby’s survey:

  • John McCain gets 27% to Mitt Romney’s 26%, with Huckabee at 15%, Ron Paul at 8%, Thompson at 5% and Giuliani at 3%. Yesterday, the numbers were 27-24, so a small rise for Romney. Zogby adds that Romney is (oh so) slightly ahead on Monday alone.

The second poll comes to us from Mitchell Interactive, a Michigan based polling group, and it has some major movement for Romney:

  • Today, Romney gets 36% to McCain’s 29% with Huckabee at 12%. Yesterday, Romney was only ahead 29% to 27% and the first tracking poll of the group taken after New Hampshire had McCain ahead 23% to 16%. The two previous polls obviously have a much higher number of undecideds and this poll is basically registering undecideds breaking for a candidate — and Mitt Romney is getting the lion’s share.

And third, ARG also is showing Romney surging upwards — though he only rises to a tie:

  • McCain gets 31% to Romney’s 30% with Huckabee also rising at 19%. Over the week-end, ARG’s poll had McCain at 34% and Romney at 27%. But ARG is predicting 80% registered GOP turnout, which is much higher than other polls.

What is next for the Romney campaign? Once the front-runner in every state that has already voted, Romney cannot afford getting second-place for the third time. That would make him more consistent than other candidates, but it would also mean a second straight high-profile defeat to John McCain, and in the state that is the most naturally fitted to Romney’s message since it is one of the most focused on economic issues (as opposed to national security, where McCain has an edge).

If McCain wins, frankly, the story will not even be about Romney’s loss given how close McCain will get to insuring he gets the nomination if he scores a victory here — independently of whatever Romney does. But if Romney wins, he clearly is ready to wage an all-out-war in the coming weeks and is in position to get strong showings in South Carolina, Nevada and Florida — further demonstrating that he is running a national consistent campaign.

News a week ago was that Romney had abandoned South Carolina as he had pulled out of the state, but reports today are that he is getting ready to start running ads again in both South Carolina and in Florida. It is a bit surprising to see him play in the South again given so close to voting day, but he would probably get some kind of exposure boost if he won today and he often posts very good numbers in that state.


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More polls: Clinton and McCain rise nationally, but Nevada has tight races (plus g-e surveys with more good news for McCain)

Let’s start by recognizing John McCain’s incredibly strong poll numbers today. Combine this morning’s poll diary with this one, and he leads in every single primary poll that has been released — and there are six of them: He has big leads in two South Carolina polls, and is ahead in Michigan, in Nevada and in Florida (two polls there) — and though some of these are by small margins he has barely campaigned at all in NV and FL for now. He is also surging in the national polls and looks very strong in the blue states of WA and OR in the general election (see below). It could all go very quickly if McCain wins Michigan tomorrow (and that’s a big if; if Romney gets Michigan the GOP race could sink into further chaos).

And now let’s see the details of those polls. First up, Nevada, which is the un-polled contest, the state that no pollster is delving into given that Nevada is holding caucuses, notoriously hard to survey (the only reason anyone tries Iowa is that there is a lot of previous experience in the state). But Research 2000 delved into it today and released the following survey:

  • In the Democratic race, it’s a three way tie: Barack Obama gets 32%, followed by Hillary Clinton at 30% and John Edwards at 27%.
  • Among Republicans, it’s 22% for McCain and 18% for Giuliani, followed by Huckabee at 16% and Romney at 15%.

There are two striking results in this poll. First, John Edwards is very much still in the race here, and you be sure that has much to do with the fact that this is a caucus. Though the big problem that Edwards is facing is that he has even less support from labor than he did in Iowa: The SEIU here is supporting Obama and so is the biggest labor group (the culinary workers’ union).

The second striking result is Romney’s coming in fourth. He is without a doubt the candidate who has spent the most resources and time in Nevada — and he is likely to do so even more in the coming days now that he seems to have conceded South Carolina. The press seems to be treating Romney as the favorite in Nevada for that reason, but this poll suggests Romney does not have an advantage in these caucuses after all.

But as we said, look at the poll with a skeptical eye. The way pollsters can figure out who is a “likely voter” is by looking at whether they have caucuses before; but this is the first time Nevada has played a role like this in the nominating process, so most indicators that are available are muddied.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen released a primary poll from South Carolina in both parties:

  • In the Republican primary, McCain is pulling ahead, now leading 28% to 19% for Huckabee and 17% for Romney. Thompson is at 16%, a 4% rise in a few days — almost all of it at Huckabee’s expense (remember that Fox debate last Thursday?). Rudy is only at 5%.
  • In the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton has cut the margin by more than half, trailing 38% to 33% “only” while she was down 12% last week. Obama is ahead by 23% among black voters and Clinton is up by 19% among white voters, with Edwards taking 31% of that group’s vote, ahead of Obama as well — which is further proof of how racialized the vote in this state is becoming. Note that this morning’s PPP poll of SC showed no such tightening.

Clinton and McCain’s rise in South Carolina are parallel to their surges in the latest national Gallup poll, that has McCain going up from 19% to 33% in a week, with Huckabee and Giuliani to 19% and 13% respectively. In the Democratic race, it was a 33-33 tie last week, with Edwards at 20%. Now, Clinton is ahead at 45% with Obama at 33% and Edwards at 13%. And before we dismiss national polls, don’t forget that February 5th is pretty much a national primary day so these polls are going to become relevant very soon — possibly for the first time in primary history.

Finally, SUSA released three general election polls today — and they confirm that John McCain is the most electable of the Republicans, by far (just as in Saturday’s CNN national poll that has McCain running about 15% better than his rivals):

  • In Missouri, first, John McCain defeats Clinton 50% to 44% and crushes Obama 51% to 40%. Huckabee also does very well, edging out Clinton 47% to 45% and Obama 51% to 41%.
  • Clinton and Obama both beat Giuliani (47-43 and 47-44) and Romney (49-42 and 48-43).
  • Oregon is even more striking. Compare the domination of Clinton and Obama against Giuliani (52-39 and 56-35), Romney (54-38 and 57-34) and Huckabee (54-40 and 55-38) and the stunning strength McCain displays, beating Clinton 49-45 and tying Obama 47-47.
  • Results in Washington are similar but less dramatic, though Clinton runs weaker than Obama. She loses 49-46 to McCain but Obama beats him 52-43. Neither trembles against Giuliani (51-38 and 57-35), Romney (54-38 and 63-32), and Huckabee (54-40 and 60-35).

Two observations on electability. First, among Democrats. As we have often noticed over the months, Clinton runs slightly better than her rival among traditionally red states and especially in the South, and while Missouri is not in the South it has trended Republican lately. On the other other, Obama is often found to poll better out West.

It is much easier to draw conclusions in the GOP race. McCain’s strength is so consistent it is really difficult to doubt that he would be the strongest general election contender. What is striking is how well Huckabee runs in Missouri and how poorly he does in Washington and Oregon; not that it is very surprising given the difference in the reception Huckabee received in Iowa and New Hampshire. For now at least, Huckabee’s base is the evangelical vote — and that base is much stronger in the Midwest than in coastal states.



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  • 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
  • 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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