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CNN's Puerto Rico Exit poll

Topics: 2008 , Associated Press , Barack Obama , CNN , Exit Polls , Hillary Clinton , MSNBC

The Page has posted a few numbers from the first wave of interviews from what he describes as "CNN's unilateral" Puerto Rico exit poll. I checked, and I'm told that Edison-Mitofsky -- the firm that usually does all of the exit polling for the consortium of the five major television networks and the Associated Press -- is conducting a Puerto Rico exit poll today exclusively for CNN.

The polls close at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. A link to CNN's exit poll tabulations should appear here at that time. Further updates (and don't expect many) will be in reverse chronological order.

10:00 p.m - One last update for tonight: The final count in Puerto Rico, with 100% of precincts reporting, shows Hillary Clinton defeating Barack Obama by 68% to 32% margin, or by 141,662 of 384,578 votes cast.

Some of our readers have been debating the meaning of the turnout that was lower than some expected, but the biggest consequence of the turnout is that Barack Obama remains ahead in most counts of the "popular vote" even with Puerto Rico included. As ABC polling director Gary Langer explains tonight, Clinton only leads "by counting all her Michigan votes, and zero there for Obama." Adding Michigan's undeclared votes to Obama ahead would erase even that advantage.

The big problem with counting "the popular vote," is that so many different permutations exist for counting it, an issue I've written about twice previously. If you liked the Jay Cost spreadsheet that I linked to earlier -- the one with 15 different ways of counting the popular vote -- you will love the updgrade from FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver. He has posted a "Popular Vote Scenario Tester" tonight that provides 96 different ways of computing the Democratic "popular vote."

4:15 - The CNN exit poll tabulations have revised, presumably reflecting the gradual replacement in the estimate model of exit poll interviews with actual votes in the sampled precincts. The current estimate looks to be roughly 69% for Clinton and 31% for Obama.

3:24 - Thatcher and Uri ask in the comments about the likely margin and its impact on "the popular vote." When it comes to the Puerto Rico turnout and margins, I have no idea. The cable news networks will have the most current information.

As for the impact on the many potential "popular vote" totals, the best "what-if" tool I know of is the Jay Cost spreadsheet. You need to fill in the margins for West Virginia (147,410 for Clinton), Kentucky (249,436 for Clinton) and Oregon (148,458 for Obama -- all totals from the New York Times tallies).

3:04 - For those wondering (I was), MSNBC's call w(as apparently based (at least in part) on a telephone poll conducted over the last few days. They will have results from that shortly.

3:00 Both CNN and MSNBC call Puerto Rico for Clinton, CNN "by a wide margin" based on their exclusive exit poll, MSNBC by a "significant" margin. The initial CNN exit poll shows a 70% to 30% margin among both men and women, the easiest extrapolation of the primary season.

2:56 - MSNBC reports they expect a "low voter turnout," perhaps as low as 400,000.

2:45 p.m. Bill Schneider on CNN just announced that those who made up their minds in the last week went for Hillary Clinton 67% to 33%. That presumably means a comfortable Clinton win today, given her lead in the two pre-election polls. But we'll see.

Nate (the blogger formerly known as Poblano) had some similar speculation based on an earlier Schneider report earlier this afternoon.

 

Comments
Thatcher:

Hey Mark -

Since we know it's going to be large ... exit shows 70-30 ... which direction from that do you think it will go? closer to 75-25 or 66-33? :) That's about all we can really be watching for, yes?

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Uri:

The margins don't really matter, it's all down to the voter turnout which sounds extremely low, so it's a win for Obama since she cares about the PC.

I am surprised that Obama's not doing better though: you would think that more hispanics (though are PR actually considered hispanic?) would move towards him, especially with Richardson having campaigned there?

Any idea how the "pop vote" is now counted under the HRC math with the Florida/Michigan settlement? Are Florida counted as half or as full in that math?

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Thatcher:

@Uri -

Florida is to be counted in full, I believe. But I also believe that the DNC RBC recommended for Clinton not to use the Michigan numbers when spouting the "popular vote". But, the Clinton camp is using them.

So, with Florida but without the caucus states, Obama leads about 160-170k in pop vote. Add about 110k for caucus states, if you wish.

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Uri:

@Thatcher: I thought that the consensus was to count uncommited as Obama in michigan? How comes that not's a pop vote? I'm surprised the RBC even addressed this since they don't recognize the legitimacy of the pop vote.

I was hoping she'd at least get the pop vote though admittedly it doesn't matter and wouldn't have mattered anyway. Heck, if popular vote mattered we'd have Gore as president.

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Thatcher:

@Uri -

Actually, Obama had enough votes on the RBC to split MI 50/50 instead of by the results of the illegitimate primary of 73-55. S0, what happened was the RBC approved (something like 19-8 - and note that means 5 Clinton supporters voted in favor of this) for the Michigan State Democrats proposal of 69-59. The only change beeing that they each count as a 1/2 vote (as the penalty for holding a contest early).

The speculation is the reason why they didn't go 50/50 is because they wanted the appearance of being "fair" and they didn't go 73-55 because that would somehow give the appearance of legitimizing the early contest. By going with 69-59, it didn't follow the results of the vote, and therefore the vote shouldn't be used in anyone's tallies to promote the "popular vote" argument.

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tom brady:

Please. This is not a win for Obama. Turnout may be lower than Clinton hoped, but in her wildest dreams she couldn't have envisioned a thumping like this. The exit polls indicate she won every demographic: income, education, gender, geographic area. Obama needs to trump this on Tuesday by a) winning and b) trotting out the supers needed to put him over the top. Otherwise he risks buyers remorse beginning to set in. This is a big victory for clinton, low turnout or not.

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Uri:

I'm wondering about the PR results for two reasons.

First, ~30% in the exist polls said they don't "know Obama well enough". Considering that he has advertised, visited once (it was covered) and had Richardson campaigning, and they do follow news from the mainland, this is strange. If PR had been after Iowa, that's one thing. But at this point, Obama is a household name, the next president, etc. The reason I'm raising this is because it is possible (slightly possible) that this is an early sign of some buyers remorse (if PR voters had represented mainland voters, which is doubtful). In other words, "don't know him" could be a sign of either lack of experience, or a sentiment that he wasn't "counting them" the way that some PA/OH/WV/KY voters seem to feel.

Second, I've mentioned this before, assuming that PR follows Hispanic voting patterns (I'm not from the US so I'm not sure about the connections) I'd have expected to see more movement towards Obama, especially with Richardson as a likely VP candidate and someone who campaigned in PR.


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carl29:

Hello guys!! Long time no "read" you. Let's go to what we came for: This is the first primary where men outnumbered women, 51% Men and 49% women. Is there any other primary where you have seen such thing. It calls my attention the puertorican women were not as excited as their counterpart in mainland. Another point, the turnout was extremely low, taking into account that puerto rico's regular turnout is around 80%. For what I've seen I think that at the end of the day around 250,000 people would have voted. Take into account that around 2,000,000 people were able to vote. The Clinton campaign was not worried about whether they would lose or win but about turnout. The whole time spent there was about getting out the vote. Were they succesful? I don't know. In a place where the average voter turnout is 80%, getting a 15% turnout doesn't sound like wow.

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Uri:

@carl29: They have an average voter turnout of 80% for what? Mainland voters don't vote like that even in the GE.

Primaries? I doubt it.
They don't vote in the general elections.

Maybe for their local elections which would make sense since it's unions and such.

Admittedly though, 15% is fairly bad.

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carl29:

Sorry for not making that clear. The voter turnout is for local elections of course: governor, mayor, and any other elections. Puerto ricans consider politics a "national" sport. I was just talking to a Puerto Rican friend of mine who is just surprised at the low level of support for this primary, for Hillary. Although he had told me that the democrats would not get the same level of turnout as the "Puerto ricans elections." However, he thought the turnout would be around 50%. He is really surprised by the 15% turnout. He also mentioned that the majority of those voting are people with family residing in New York, around 75% of the voters.

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Paul:

Worst case scenario for Obama seems to be the following: 26% in Puerto Rico - 14 of 55 delegates; 52% in South Dakota - 8 of 15 delegates; and 50% in Montana - 8 of 16 delegates. After the latest deal in Florida and Michigan, he would have 2190 delegates against Clinton at 2046, with 2118 now required to win. There are 205 uncommitted super-delegates, of which Clinton would have to win 86% (176 out of the 205 uncommitted) to get to 2119. Is there any possibility at all that 86% of the remaining super-delegates would over turn the pledged delegate majority to Obama?

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eternaltriangle:

I'm pretty sure getting shot is Obama's worst-case scenario (which is not exceedingly unlikely, considering almost 10% - 4/44 - of presidents have been assassinated, while many more have had close calls).

But I think the scenario that keeps Clinton in this is that super-delegates can move. It is fairly obvious Obama will get to 2118 and then some. I don't see Clinton immediately and enthusiastically endorsing unless she gets the VP nod. Rather, she is more likely to suspend her campaign and hope for a scandal to hit Obama during the summer.

Obama probably comes out with a lead of ~136 in pledged delegates, and could very well increase his superdelegate lead to 100 (winning remaining supers 120-60) if the remaining supers rally heavily to him once it becomes totally clear he has won. So he goes to Denver with a 236 delegate lead.

If something happens that makes him unelectable... here we are talking about something substantial coming out of Rezko; Obama himself (or, as is more likely, Michelle Obama) being linked directly and publicly (on youtube) to black separatist/anti-white sentiments*...

It would take a swing of 118 super-delegates to make it close - or about 27% of Obama's super-delegates. At least about 20-30 initially supported Clinton so one would think they would be easier pickings. For the rest, it is hard to envision them coming around to Clinton unless something like the scenarios I listed above transpired.

*For the record I do not think Barack Obama has such sentiments, and suspect that his membership in Trinity United was mostly at the behest of 1. his ambitions/community organizing role and 2. his wife. (you might also add 3. his personal search for identity).

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kingsbridge77:

Obama supporters who wish to pooh-pooh this loss because of "low-turnout" should note that caucuses, dominated by Barack Obama, have had a pathetic 5% turnout. Much less than PR's 13%.

Get real.

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Uri:

I don't understand the 13% figure.

Does somebody actually know how many registered democrats are in Puerto rico ?

If I understand correctly, you had to be registered to vote.

The total population is 4 million. There were 350k primary votes

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carl29:

Hello kingsbridge77: I respectfuly disagree with your impression about the turnout in caucases. Starting with Iowa, turnout in every state has been record, regardless if it was a primary or caucus. Google the name of every single state and you will find out the more than double of the people who participated in 2004 came out this time around. The reason that I'm very surprised about Puerto Rico's turnout is because I was prepared for about 1,000,000 people coming out to vote. I have Puerto Ricans friends who thought that the turnout would be approaching 50%, which is in the low range for Puerto Rico. So, I honestly thought something like that would happened. I thought Hillary would come out of Puerto Rico with about 500,000 extra votes.

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illinoisindie:

Puerto Rico is over and two days to go.
My take on todays Primary... Clinton won. You get 50.1% of the vote you win period. Here is the qualifier, the win doesn't help propel her popular vote argument. Also she gets a demerit for failing to turn out the vote...
Puerto rico... while a great place to visit with wonderful people and beaches... it aint a state with electoral votes so it doesn't help that argument either. So I am not realy sure what was accomplished today... Now if she wins Monatana or south Dakota then I see a renewed argument (as faulty as it will be)...more popcorn please

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Thatcher:

@kingsbridge77 -

Let's put Puerto Rico turnout in perspective with the Iowa caucuses:

Iowa has 2,073,921 total registered voters as of February 1, 2008. Of those, 699,446 were registered as Democrats. I use the February 1 stats since these would be the best numbers to use to understand how many were registered as Democrats to vote for the January 3 caucus. Only people who were registered as Democrats (or switched to the Democratic Party on Jan 3) could caucus. http://www.sos.state.ia.us/elections/voterreg/Archiveregstat.html#2008

699,446 registered Democrats ... about 239,000 caucused in Iowa on January 3rd. That's about 34% of registered Democrats. http://www.iowademocrats.org/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/1126757/pid/315102

Today in Puerto Rico ... about 385,000 voters went to the polls for the primary out of the 2,366,667 registered voters (open primary). 16% turnout. http://ceepur.org/Presidenciales08/Div/index.aspx.htm

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Nickberry:

Puerto Rico is important to the Democratic Party even though it means nothing in the General Election. Notably, the exit polls for Obama were pitiful... and that ought to give someone some pause. According to CNN, Obama has won the Hispanic vote in only three states... two with a handful of Hispanic population and his home state Illinois. That ought to give someone some pause.

The only scenario that Obama wins the popular vote is with counting the "estimated" numbers from the caucuses in IA, NV, ME, WA... and that varies quite a bit depending on the "estimate" as well as if the WA caucus is replaced with the WA primary which the latter reduces Obama's popular votes by 50K. I think it is "fair" to ignore states without official "popular vote" numbers.

And why Obama does not want to concede the popular vote to Hillary since he has the delegates does not make sense. The primary race is so close, it is about time that everyone acknowledge the slim margins... and that the superdelegates will decide the Democratic nominee.

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JWilly48519:

If buyer's remorse were beginning to set in, I'd think it would begin to show in the national Obama-vs-McCain tracking polls.

OTOH, the samples from tracking polls easily could be too low-information/lagging-awareness to reveal onset of buyer's remorse in a leading-indicator way.

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killias2:

Nickleberry,

I love how you conveniently forgot all the scenarios where people count only legitimate political contests. What's a legitimate political contest? How about a contest where the candidates campaign, where all the major candidates are on the ballot, where turnout isn't one THIRD of comparable states, and where the results actual reflect the wishes of the voters?

Among the legitimate contests, Obama has won the popular vote with or without the caucuses. If you want to completely ignore the large chunk of Michigan Democrats that support Barack Obama and recognize a contest that has never been recognized as legitimate by the DNC or the voters of Michigan, then that's your business. I could've sworn Clinton wanted to give a voice to the voters of Michigan, but I guess those were just more worthless words from "everyone knows this contest won't count for anything" Clinton.

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Nickberry:

Red Herring regarding "legitimate" contests. No matter what the DNC Obama supporters say... Both Florida and Michigan certified their primaries (ergo legitimate) because these primaries did take place within the state election rules. And I think over 2 million voters is also a legitimizing factor.

Notably, in the popular vote count, Clinton beats Obama even when Obama is given ALL of the Michigan uncommitted votes, yet exit polls show that those votes were by those who supported several candidates not on the ballot (Obama, Edwards, Biden, Richardson). So actually here, Obama received an advantage.

Petty "political" argument to take ONE "political" comment made by Hillary on public radio in a state far away as a basis for ignoring over 2 million voters.

Again, why all the angst over Hillary getting more popular vote" equivalent to .1%??? Is giving Hillary bragging rights too much to ask? Is it your idea that Hillary should be disenfranchised from her own accomplishments? What would be the purpose?

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marctx:

I think it is obvious that Obama will be the nominee, but Hillary gets to to have great stats for 2012. History will concede the popular vote argument with an asterisk to Clinton. You can argue all you want about fairness, but the fact remains more people voted for Hillary than any primary candidate in history. It won't help convince SD, but man is she going to have a great i-told-you-so argument in 2012 after Obama looses. This vote in PR as well as the unprecedented after the fact primary poll (has that ever been done before?) AFTER the primary in California, Hispanic voters were the only group to not substantial abandon Clinton (about 63% still supporter her I think). This Hispanic voter (along with probably about half the others) will be voting for McCain. Look to Bush's 44% support from Latinos as proof and McCain is way better than Bush on Hispanic issues.

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killias2:

Nickleberry,

It's not just me that discounts the results from Michigan. The DNC did before the contest (by not allowing campaigning, and by saying that the contest would result in no delegates) and after (by yielding delegates based on other criteria, not based on the results of the vote). Clinton did before the vote, and, while you may be quick to just throw that away as a random comment, I think it's pretty important that she told the party, the voters in Michigan, and the world that this contest didn't count. Almost half of the Michigan voters themselves do not think the results from that vote should count. I have one poll that showed a plurality of Michigan voters feel it shouldn't count, but I can't find it right now. Regardless, Rasmussen (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/election_20082/2008_presidential_election/michigan/election_2008_michigan_presidential_election) had a poll where fully 41% of Michigan voters feel that the results of that contest shouldn't count. Sure, Rasmussen has a plurality (48%) saying it should, but I think we clearly have a sketchy vote when 40% of the possible participants feel it was illegitimate.

Finally, the Michigan Democratic Party itself discounted the results of that "primary" when it aggressively pushed the 69-59 compromise.

So, you have the DNC, about half of the Democrats of Michigan, the Michigan democratic party, and pre-vote Clinton all claiming the contest was illegitimate. You're gonna sit there and tell me with a straight face that this should be counted?

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Nickberry:

FYI... the DNC did not prohibit campaigning in Michigan and Florida. The candidates individually pledged to the four early states that they would not campaign. Kucinich did not sign a pledge and in fact did campaign in Michigan.

FYI... Hillary told NO voters in Michigan that there vote did not count. She made a generalized political statement on Public Radio (New Hampshire, I believe, and definitely not Michigan). Quit making stuff up. It is only in recent times that anyone is aware of that ONE and ONLY statement.

FYI... You are using a small sample in a poll to negate the votes of 600,000 people. What a ridiculous argument.

FYI... Only a few people in the Michigan Democratic Party came up with that solution.. and one of them strongly disagreed after he read the DNC rules.

FYI... If Obama wants to count the delegates from Michigan awarded to him than the popular votes count. Obama got the advantage in the resultant scenario. Either all or nothing. Obama et al cannot pick and choose.

By the way... You never answered my question on why you think it is important that Hillary not be ahead in popular votes. It is fact when she states that 17 million people voted for her... actually almost 18 million (17,916,838 and includes caucuses....according to RealClearPolitics) which is .05% more votes than Obama received.

I mean really... what is the problem if Obama will win the delegate count to become the Democratic nominee?

No matter your argument, you can believe that Hillary will using her political power to modify rules at the convention for the next Presidential Primary... as did Teddy Kennedy (allows committed candidates to vote for any candidate) and as did Jesse Jackson (redistributed delegate allocations to give minorities more weight).


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killias2:

"FYI... the DNC did not prohibit campaigning in Michigan and Florida. The candidates individually pledged to the four early states that they would not campaign. Kucinich did not sign a pledge and in fact did campaign in Michigan."

I'm sorry. I forgot Kucinich was a major power player in these primaries. How many votes did he get in Michigan again?

"FYI... Hillary told NO voters in Michigan that there vote did not count. She made a generalized political statement on Public Radio (New Hampshire, I believe, and definitely not Michigan). Quit making stuff up. It is only in recent times that anyone is aware of that ONE and ONLY statement."

Okay, so she didn't tell anyone. They had to listen to hear what was said. Regardless, she said it didn't count. However you try to spin that out of existence, she said it didn't count. The voters were told by the DNC that it didn't count, and that they would be awarded no delegates.

"FYI... You are using a small sample in a poll to negate the votes of 600,000 people. What a ridiculous argument."

FYI... You are using the results of an election that had only 24% of the number of voters involved as Kerry's 2004 effort in Michigan. To compare, even Florida had 48 of Kerry's vote come out. The average in other states like Michigan: 79%!

"FYI... Only a few people in the Michigan Democratic Party came up with that solution.. and one of them strongly disagreed after he read the DNC rules."

Which member of the Michigan Democratic Party didn't agree with this? I'm curious. I'd like to hear more about this. Regardless, this is what the Michigan Democratic Party aggressively pushed for without the support of the Obama campaign.

"FYI... If Obama wants to count the delegates from Michigan awarded to him than the popular votes count. Obama got the advantage in the resultant scenario. Either all or nothing. Obama et al cannot pick and choose."

The 69-59 compromise is not related to the flawed vote. That's why they didn't go 73-55 - just to explicitly deny the connection of this compromise to the initial vote. Sure, Ickes and a few others tried to claim that 4 of Hillary's delegates were being hijacked and that the uncommitted delegates were given to Obama, but that's not the official stance (as was made clear by replies to Ickes). The 69-59 vote is based on a logical attempt to give voice to the intent of all the Democrats of Michigan, not just the less than 50% who support Clinton and not just the less than 30% of Michigan Democrats who voted in a flawed primary.

"By the way... You never answered my question on why you think it is important that Hillary not be ahead in popular votes. It is fact when she states that 17 million people voted for her... actually almost 18 million (17,916,838 and includes caucuses....according to RealClearPolitics) which is .05% more votes than Obama received."

Again you're counting a flawed primary, which is laughable. I'm arguing this not because it is essential for Obama's campaign but because I think the flawed perception that Clinton won some mystical, magical popular vote could damage Obama in the fall. It's wrong, and it needs to end now.

At the end of the day, you'd like us to recognize as legitimate a vote that: A. Was declared (and has been re-declared) illegitimate by the DNC, which is THE legitimizing force of Democratic Party elections. B. Was declared illegitimate by all the major candidates, including your own favorite candidate. C. As a result of this illegitimacy, had a turnout of less than a third of similar states during this primary cycle. D. Ignored the wishes of roughly half of the Democrats of Michigan. E. Is seen as illegitimate by roughly half of the Democrats of Michigan.

Clinton should get on her knees and sing her praises to Jesus for getting the delegates out of Florida and Michigan that she got. She's already convinced the DNC to retroactively change the rules at the end of the game, and I can't believe the gall she must have to try to push it further. In the interest of giving the voters a voice, she'd trample the wishes of half of Michigan's voters. What a sore loser.

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Nickberry:

OK... Why in the heck would there be a " flawed perception that Clinton won some mystical, magical popular vote"... AND how could that "damage Obama in the fall?" That does not make sense. This is the Democratic primary in June. No one will care about this in September, October, or November. Some might revisit it if Obama is far behind in the polls then, but the primary contest is so close anyway, the popular vote is inconsequential to that scenario.

You also stated "It's wrong, and it needs to end now." Wow.. you sound quite autocratic. Most have conceded that counting the popular vote now is NOT wrong, because it is part of Hillary's argument to the superdelegates. It may be futile, but at least Hillary gets to leave the race with some sense of accomplishment. Attitudes like yours is why many Hillary supporters have decided to vote for anyone but Obama. So much for Obama et al bringing the party together.

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killias2:

Nickleberry,

The fact of the matter is that there is no winning when it comes to Clinton supporters anymore. If we don't reply, then you just feel confirmed in all of your suspicions. If we do, then you claim that we are all rude, sexist, kool-aid drinking, eggheads or something.

If I say, "yeah, Clinton won the popular vote" even though there's no defense for that position, you guys won't just sick back and be happy with that. No, you'll yell and scream and curse how the nomination was stolen and how Obama is a bad nominee and how you're leaving the party. If we do argue that, you say, as I've said before, that we're all rude, sexist, etc., so Obama is a bad nominee and you want to leave the party.

When Michigan and Florida didn't count at all, you all yelled and screamed and cursed that, although we knew months before the contests that they didn't count, the election was being stolen by Pelosi, Dean, Obama, and God knows who else. When the re-vote became possible, what happened? It just became another topic to get angry and rant about. Oh Obama blocked the re-votes, him and his evil allies Dean and Pelosi and the DNC (when the truth is that there was no clear way to move forward with the re-votes). So then Obama yields that Florida and Michigan should be given some representation. Then you all complain and moan and scream (at the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting no less!) that Florida was getting reduced by half and that Michigan's representation was too much like the Michigan Democrats' intent and not enough like the flawed primary.

There's no winning. At the end of the day, this doesn't have anything to do with me, or Obama's campaign, or even Obama himself. We've picked sides in this 5-6 month battle, and each twist, turn, attack, retreat, etc. by our candidate has been felt by each of us. You all identify closely with Clinton, and we now identify closely with Obama. It doesn't matter that, just 6 months ago, I was excited for Clinton to win the election. It doesn't matter that, just 6 months ago, I'm sure most of you had no ill will towards Obama or his supporters.

We identify too closely now with our separate sections of the Democrat electorate. It's too bad that our demographic and personality-derived differences are overshadowing the near-complete policy-overlap between our too candidates.

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