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Live Blogging North Carolina and Indiana Election Night

Topics: 2008 , Barack Obama , CBS , CNN , Exit Polls , Fox News , Hillary Clinton , MSNBC , Pollster , Zogby

I will be live-blogging here tonight on what we might learn -- and what we might do better to ignore -- from the exit poll in Indiana and North Carolina. More details to follow, but please feel free to use this as an open-thread on what is appearing on the net and elsewhere on the exit polls. Here are the links where official exit poll tabulations will appear shortly after the polls close at 8:00 p.m.:

Comments will appear in reverse chronological order -- all times Eastern.

12:30 - And finally...while some important votes are still being counted n Indiana, at least some conclusions about pollster performance are inescapable. First, it does appear that most of the polls significantly understated Barack Obama's percentage of the African American vote, especially in North Carolina, as they have in other states. According to the most current exit poll tabulations (as of this writing), Obama won over 90% of African Americans in both North Carolina and Indiana.

Second, it seems clear that in terms of the overall result, the winner** among the pollsters tonight was Zogby International. Their final polls had Obama ahead by 14 in North Carolina and up by 2 in Indiana -- a closer margin in Indiana than any survey reported in the final week. [Update: Not so fast. Another pollster -- PPP -- did as well or better, depending on the yardstick. The SurveyUSA report cards for Indiana and North Carolina, as well as the Brian Schaffner's graphic, show that Zogby and PPP both scored well, with PPP doing slightly better on 10 of 16 rankings].

I have certainly been critical of Zogby over the years, but credit is due. Pollster reader political_junkie was right with this comment earlier tonight: "It took a lot of courage for them to publish their 'outlier' results last night, one night before primary."

Third, the non-polling based statistical model developed by Poblano at FiveThirtyEight.com outperformed most of the polls. His models predicted a narrow (51.0% to 49.0%) margin in Indiana and a 17 point margin in North Carolina (58.6% to 41.4%).

10:16 - Better late than never, answering the question raised at 8:11: I am told that Edison/Mitofsky conducted a telephone poll of early voters in North Carolina to gather data to combine with the interviews completed at polling places. In Indiana, it was polling place interviews only.

10:11 -- Just posted by Poblano, who is doing his own modeling of the vote count:

I'm now showing Clinton winning Indiana by 1.8 percent, or about 23,000 votes. And one thing to remember about Indiana is the provisional ballot issue -- people who were rejected at the polls because they did not meet the state's ID requirements could still cast provisional ballots and prove their identity later. It's possible that we'll still have a hanging chads type of situation.

9:39 - Thatcher asks: "Did I just see MSNBC change their call from 'Too early' [to call] to "Too close'"? Yes you did.

9:32 - A friend passes along this blog post:

I am watching MSNC coverage of the Indiana and North Carolina Democratic Primary results and I am struck by how profligate the network is with almost all of the exit poll results for Indiana (which has not yet been called) except the aggregate percentages for each of the candidates! The race is "too close to call," but that doesn't explain this.

Why don't the networks tell us who "won" according to the exit polls? The polls have closed, so they can't affect the results? Are the exit polls so lacking in trustworthiness that they aren't really informative? If that is the case, why are the demographic breakdowns from the exit polls thrown around and talked as if they were gospel? (They don't even mention margins of error when talking about them!)

Here's bottom line: When they say a race is "too close to call" or that it's "too early to call," they don't "know" who won yet. They have estimates, and they have a good sense of who is likely to win, but not enough statistical confidence in those estimates to project a winner with complete confidence. No one wants to repeat the mistakes made in projecting Florida eight years ago.

On the other hand, I tend to agree with those who wish the networks would make more of their estimate data available via the web on election night. The various estimates that the exit poll operation generates -- including the levels of statistical confidence in each measure and the real-time estimates of the precinct level error -- are truly fascinating.

8:25 - From Nora O'Donnell's report on MSNBC: In Indiana, Clinton carries whites without a college degree 63% to 34%; Obama ahead by two points (51% to 49%) among college educated white voters.

8:22 - Via Ambinder: CBS News has projected Hillary Clinton the winner in Indiana (thanks PHGrl).

8:15 - Reader Thatcher asks: "So does every network use the same exit poll info?" Yep.

8:11 - Reader RS asks a really good question: "Maybe this question has been answered earlier, but: Do the exit polls account for early voters?"

The networks typically do a pre-election telephone interviews among those who say they have already voted in states that typically get (or expect) a very large proportion of early voters, so I assume that they did one in North Carolina. But to be honest, I'm not sure.

7:55 - MSNBC's Nora O'Donnell just read results from two subgroups of North Carolina voters we've watched carefully in other states. Among white college educated voters, Clinton is leading by 7 (52% to 45%). Among white voters without a college degree, Clinton leads 68% to 26%.

7:54 - The North Carolina tabulations just updated with an additional 554 exit poll interviews not included in the first batch. My extrapolation of the underlying estimate now gives Obama a 14-point lead, 55% to 41%.

7:50 - Just a note on the mechanics of the exit poll updates and the network projection process. The numbers we have seen so far are -- presumably -- based on the exit poll interviews weighted based on some hard counts of turnout and (probably) weighted to the "composite estimate" which splits the difference between the exit poll tallies and pre-election polls. Right now, however, exit poll interviews and other results "reporters" are obtaining actual vote counts for the sampled precincts and these are being gradually incorporated into the estimates that the network "decision desks" look at to make their projections.

Unfortunately, If tonight's updates follow the pattern of recent election nights, the cross-tabulations we can see will not be updated until much later in the evening.

7:38 - Clinton again does better among the late than early deciders in North Carolina though not by as much as in Indiana. She won those deciding in the last three days by six points more (48%) than those who decided earlier (42%).

7:36 - The exit poll estimates 33% of North Carolina's Democrats as African American, and Obama is winning then 91% to 6%. Clinton is holding a 59% to 36% margin among white voters.

7:32 - CNN and MSNBC project Obama the winner in North Carolina. My extrapolation of the initial vote estimate used to weight the current exit poll tabulations shows Obama leading 55% to 41%, with 4% choosing "no preference."

7:27 - Polls close in NC shortly. Here's a CBS summary

7:19 - Once again, Hillary did better in Indiana among those who made up their minds in the last three days (+9) or within the last week (+8) than those who decided earlier (tie). See my Pennsylvania election night post (6:26 update) for comparative data from past primaries).

7:17 - Demographics: African Americans are 15% of the current estimate in Indiana. Obama is winning 92% of black voters, Clinton 60% of white voters. Compare to the pre-election polls here.

7:13 - Interesting that the MSNBC anchors have a new phrase that better fits the past problems with these numbers: "Too early to call."

7:12 - While I was typing, the Indiana table updated slightly but the overall estimate still rounds to 52-48% in Clinton's favor.

7:09 - Time for the usual caveats, with a twist. My usual election night helper Mark Lindeman had a social engagement tonight, so his spiffy extrapolation program is unavailable. I will be doing simpler extrapolations off of the vote by gender cross tab the old-fashioned way (which may mean a tad more rounding error).

Again, these initial tabulations are weighted to an estimate of the result that is usually a mashup of pre-election polls and the interviews exit polls conducted at polling places and over the phone (with early voters) by the networks. These estimates improve, becoming more accurate over the course of the night. Click here for more detail on how these numbers are derived and how they improve over the course of the evening.

7:04 - The exit poll tabulations now available on the network sites (links above) show an initial 52% to 48% estimate favoring Hillary Clinton. Please note that these initial estimates are usually a cross between the interviews conducted at polling places and an average of pre-election polls and, more importantly, have often been quite different than the final result.

6:55 - From the ABC summary:

These preliminary results indicate that a third of North Carolina's voters are African-Americans, in line with the norm, e.g. 31 percent in 1992, the last primary there for which exit poll data are available.

6:51 - Here (via The Page) are official early exit poll summaries, focusing mostly on results on questions other than vote preference from CNN, ABC, Fox, ABC, CBS, AP and MSNBC.

5:50 - Almost forgot. Halperin has these words of wisdom about "what makes it tough to produce good models for the exit polls in North Carolina and Indiana:"

1. They are not closed contests open only to Democrats.
2. Turnout is going to be huge (probably record breaking).
3. The absence of recent competitive primaries.

So let’s all be patient, shall we?

5:45. First out of the block in the leaked exit poll derby (at least that I'm aware of) is Huffington Post. Now before you click that link, please read my column on the problems exit polls have had this primary season (paying close attention to the table) and the follow-up this week on Pennsylvania. I'll be relocating to the Pollster.com "home office" over the next 30-40 minutes...see you back at 7:00.


 

Comments
Ciccina:

I clicked on the HuffPo link, got a bit distracted by the headlines and read some of their stuff, and now I feel so... unclean. Ugh.

This is going to be a long 90 minutes.


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ByTheNumbers:

The NC exit poll information, with an estimated AA percentage at 33% and a 60-38 spread seems anomolous. Most observers suggested that he would need a higher effective AA percentage to get to 15 pts, much less 22.

The trend between the early and the second number is also unusual. The first figures are about where you would anticipate given the poll spreads. [My informants reported 52-48 in IN and 55-42 in NC]. The second exit figures are either way off, or the pre-election polls are way off. I'm voting for "A".

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ByTheNumbers:

With 55,000 votes counted in IN, Clinton leads 59-41% Apparently none of these people were standing very close to an exit poller.

Seriously, the partials seem to be concentrated in more rural areas that demographically Clinton strongholds. However, with partials from 25 IN counties, Clinton leads in 24/25. This is looking very much like a PA replay.

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RS:

@ByTheNumbers:
The exit poll demographic splits probably do not account for early voters - expected to be 25-30% of the electorate, with 41% African-Americans. So if the exit polls say 1/3 African-Americans, the actual figure may be higher.

Of course, these early exit polls have to be corrected for the Obama-factor (something Chuck Todd mentioned last night on Charlie Rose). This could be shaving as much as 7% off Obama's vote-share. So Obama 60-38 would become Obama 53-45. More palatable?
[HuffPo mentions as much - that Obama overperforms in exit polls.]
About early returns - Senator Obama lost PA by a wide margin because of low turnout in Philly. Let's see if the pattern repeats in Indy and Gary.
Who are your informants, by the way? :-)

@Ciccina:
Ummm.... do you share Senator Clinton's new-found distaste for the loony left? ;-)

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Rasmus:

Or it looks like Missouri, to be optimistic.
Well at least some counties are now dark-blue- 4, to be exact, and some outhers should turn like that also. Marion for example.

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capsaicin:

Social engagement? What are those? :)

Thanks again for the great work, Mark and everyone else who contributes to the site. As a mathematics grad who despised statistics (i preferred analysis/algebra/etc), i am almost shocked at myself for starting to like this stuff -- and this site is a big reason for that.

Now for some popcorn and the main event!

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PHGrl:

CNN & MSNBC called NC for Obama at 7:30:01

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nktol:

Unbelievable poll answer on the below question,

Was Race of Candidate Important to You Clinton Obama

Blacks Who Say No (9%) 7% 93%

So all 93% of AA voted for BO said that race was not an important issue???? Things that make you go Uhmmmm...

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RS:

Mark B.:
Maybe this question has been answered earlier, but:
Do the exit polls account for early voters?
Thanks.

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Thatcher:

So does every network use the same exit poll info? Because all of the numbers for male/female universes and results are basically the same (fox is different by 1% from the others)?

Also, it is interesting to note that even though NC polls closed 30 minutes ago - they haven't released the 370,000+ votes from early democratic primary voters in NC yet (of the 1/2 million total voted early - Dem & Rep). I wonder do they release these along with their respective counties or dump them in at the end?

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PHGrl:

thatcher-- the major networks all use the same exit polls-- done by Edison/Mitofsky

i too am wondering about all the early voting...when do we see them?? Mark? anyone?

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PHGrl:

mark- i think you mean CBS called INDIANA for Clinton-- not NC...

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tom brady:

Mark - you mean CBS called INDIANA for Clinton, not North CArolina!

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Mark Blumenthal:

PhGrl & Tom: Yes...thank you!

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cinnamonape:

CBS calling it? Without the results in at all from Lake and Marion...very large urban counties...??? I could see calling it if there were only rural counties where you have some idea of the combinations of early and day-of voters vis-a-vis your exit polls. But this seems premature.

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PHGrl:

I dont get this CBS calling it almost 30 mins ago... CNN, MSNBC and Fox all have yet to call just before 9pm- with atleast CNN and MSNBC talking about the densely populated areas that are believed to be obama friendly that have yet to report....

now of course.. they could all call it while i'm typing this!! ;-)

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Daniel Thomas:

Nktol. Actually, I find it quite believable. Obama really isn't black, he's media black. There was a great article that was written in 2006 entitled "What Obama isn't: black like me". Google it. Obama's race is a much bigger deal in the white community (who sees him as black) than it is in the AA community (who sees him as an African).

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MNLatteLiberal:

Cinnamon and PHGrl,
What do you expect from a network that's about to close down its news department altogether?
On a troublesome and more serious side, Barack won South Bend by merely 6 pts. That's too narrow. I fear CNN might call it soon too.

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Ciccina:

@ RS: you got me! (I made the mistake of reading the comments to both the Penn Jillette and the Hiroshima articles. Disgraceful.)

This election cycle has disabused me of some dearly held notions about the relationship between left-liberal political views and cognitive dexterity.

;-)

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RS:

I wonder why CBS called Indiana for Senator Clinton. There's still a good bit of Indy/Marion+ and Lake (Gary)/northwest IN to come.

I guess Senator Obama's margins in these regions may not be large enough to overcome Senator Clinton's lead. Still, it would be nice to know if the results thus far include the early voting (about 160k in IN, I think) - apparently this was favorable to Senator Obama.
[My very rough estimates give Senator Obama +30k to +50k in the remaining precincts.]

Most networks - except CBS - appear to be a little wary after MO! Senator Clinton may still win, but it could be 52-48 or closer.

As the Obama camp's spin goes - if after the last couple tumultuous weeks, he still wins decisively in NC and comes close in IN, it's a big step towards the nomination. Phew!

On the pollster comparisons - PPP appears to have done much better than SUSA. If Zogby had pushed his undecideds, even he would have come close.

[Maybe an hour or two later I will have to take my foot out of my mouth. Oh well!]

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Thatcher:

Did I just see MSNBC change their call from "Too early" to "Too close"?

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cinnamonape:

What's equally weird is that they are already divvying up the delegates from the States. NC 24 Obama and 9 for Clinton...and Indiana 22 for Clinton and 16 for Obama?

Don't they determine the delegates by proportions within Congressional Districts? Or is it Statewide? And even given the percentage differences those numbers don't reall add up?

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Thatcher:

MSNBC just said they think about 300,000 votes are left to be counted in Indiana - and Obama would only need about 55% of those to win the state. However - keep in mind - Clinton only needs 46% to keep the state hers (and that's a lot easier).

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PHGrl:

Could Zogby and Seltzer gotten indiana right? it looks like its gonna be darn close... as more precincts report.. it gets closer and closer..

regardless -- the longer this takes for the networks to call it.. either for Clinton or an Obama upset, is bad news for Clinton..

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PHGrl:

Thatcher-- IF indiana was homogenous and evenly populated this would hold.. but its not.. the counties with precinct left to report that are clinton friendly are sparsely populated while the obama friendly areas are more densely populated and less white (e.g., Lake county has zero reporting..)

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RS:

@Thatcher:
I wonder how much of that 300k uncounted votes are from Lake (0% reporting). The exit polls say Gary/South Bend/NW are 19% of the statewide vote; if IN total is 1.2 million, that's 230k, with a chunk already counted (63k in South Bend).
Senator Obama appears to have won this area 55-44. So maybe he will gain another 20k votes, including remaining Indy/northwest etc. Given the current difference is 34k, this is quite close.

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Claude:

Sorry to be offtopic but whatever happens tonight it looks like Zogby was the one closest in both NC and IN. I know people like to bash zogby on this site but from tomorrow people won't be writing off Zogby so easily.

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PHGrl:

msnbc just reported that lake county may not be reporting until 11pm and that there are an estimated 300K votes there...

the suspense continues...

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ByTheNumbers:

In the old days, when every county was in except for Chicago, which was completely unaccounted for, everyone would nod their head and grin. Wonder how Lake County is going to come in tonight... ?

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Uri:

I have no doubt that Lake county will go strong for Obama and win this for him (after the super sweep in NC) and HRC will have to quit.

However, I do not buy the argument that there will be 300k votes in Lake county. According to the most recent stats (2007) the total county population was 500k, and obviously not all of them are democrats of voting age who actually went to the polls. Still, Obama can count on the votes of the 125k AAs there.

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Thatcher:

What was stated about an hour ago was there was an estimated 300k votes remaining statewide - not just in Lake County.

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Uri:

@Thatcher: Oh, I see. PHGrl must have heard it wrong or the networks got it wrong... (Sitting on the internet, not near a TV). Guess we have to wait for Lake then. All other counties are nearly done reporting.

HRC did well in other counties surrounding Lake, but these are more rural...

I found the South Bend results interesting, since Obama had the younger students while HRC had the older catholics. How come the next county over was so Obama though? What's special about Elkhart? I thought it was rural ?

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PHGrl:

oops.. my bad.. i've got one ear on the TV, flipping btw MSNBC and CNN, and one eye on the laptop..

Uri is right, Lake County isnt large enough to have 300K votes waiting to be counted.. the comment must have been statewide..

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RS:

Mark B.:
Thanks for clarifying the exit poll question.

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tom brady:

I don't see enough votes in Lake for Obama to close this gap, so it looks like a split decision tonight and on to West Virginia.

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Thatcher:

@Uri -

It is about 15% African American - so that probably made up close to 30% of the Democratic vote. Just thinking out loud, and quickly.

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Uri:

@Thatcher: But what's the total voting age AA population? the census states the voting age population overall but I don 't know if AA and white demographics are different.

Anyway, it's over, so it doesn't matter who wins IN.

Though I am surprised that Obama didn't do well enough among whites in NC. I was lead to believe that whites in NC who are democrats are in the educated bracket and thus in Obama's pocket.

The supers will use today's wins to flock to him, but it doesn't change the fact that Obama has a problem winning white voters.

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MNLatteLiberal:

I fear Clintonista's "voter fraud" battle cry about the lateness of Gary vote, should the Lake County vote push Obama over the top in Indiana.

I hear the CNN pundits setting up that contingency. Is there a bus load of Clinton lawyers already on their way to Chicago?

Her speech assumed a victory, her spinners then promptly voiced that "old time" Chicago tactic. I fear the puzzle the Clinton machine is assembling.

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Thatcher:

MSNBC thinks Lake County is 180,000 votes - Obama campaign thinks less than that.

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Uri:

@MNLatteLiberal: Honestly, does it really matter who won IN at this point?

Obama won NC by such a landslide that would make any end result in IN insignificant.

The supers will stick to that to jump on the bus for the last 100 spots to the nominations.

HRC's only chance would be if all the superdelegates would somehow decide that a candidate that gets the nomination primarily thanks to an unprecedented monolithic voting block isn't legitimate. Admittedly, getting 95% of a vote anywhere is insanely high. But there is no way the democratic party would reverse the nomination on such racist grounds, and hence the battle is over anyway.

Obama people need to relax and be patient for a change, let the mathematical game play itself, and let HRC get formally eliminated. She will step out just like Huckabee did. Pushing too much now would only alienate dedicated HRC voters come the general elections.

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brambster:

To answer earlier speculation, Lake County is 25.33% AA according to 2000 Census data and Wikipedia.

I also determined that the state seems to be experiencing Democratic turnout at 125% of 2004 presidential election numbers, and that puts turnout in Lake County at approximately 145,000 if not higher due to the high AA percentage.

Essentially, Obama needs to take Lake County by 30 percentage points at a turnout of 145,000 since the other remaining precincts outstanding are near even in the expected breakdowns. 30% of 145,000 would net him a gain in Lake County of 43,500 votes, enough to put him over the top.

The MSNBC is reporting 220,000 still outstanding, and this would mean 200,000 votes in Lake County, so I expect it to be between 145,000 to 200,000 votes in that county.


If you consider the general leanings of the demographics, Obama wins this county by between 30% and 35%, and extrapolating that, he nets between 43,500 at the low end, and 70,000 at the high end.

So this looks to be near obvious that this will be an Obama win for the whole state by 15,000 votes, give or take 10,000.

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MNLatteLiberal:

Uri,
I hear you, but the "relax and let the math play out" prescription only works with rational and scrupulous opponents. I hope HRC is one. What troubles me, as I stated, is the spin I am picking up from her camp on CNN, where David Gergen and Donna Brazil (pardon the spelling) are suddenly cast as Obama supporters just because they are doing just what you are suggesting, letting the math play out. And the people casting them in that role...well, you can guess it.

Coupled with the presumptive tone of HRC speech, tone that is completely incongruent with the results, that strikes me as troublesome. Nothing more, nothing less.

It used to be that it did not matter to me which one of them won the nomination. But the increasingly shrill tone of HRC campaign, their defiant refusal to see the inevitability of math, the win at all costs mentality against a fellow dem truly bothers me. Bothers me enough to voice it here.

But I digress from the pollster theme. I have been following the site for a couple of months, watching Penn, and now Indy and NC, and I have to second an earlier comment: "whatever you think about Zogby, he's got balls". Let's hope his balls are on the money. :)

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Uri:

@brambster: I agree with that analysis, though I wouldn't be surprised to see an even higher margin than that.

This does, however, draw attention to the AA issue.
I just read the transcript of Obama's speech, where he argues that NC was a win over divisiveness (e.g., Wright). But if we assume that the Wright issue was only going to hurt Obama among whites and he lost the white vote (at least according to the exit polls), then all NC (and probably IN) show is that he can draw monolithic support from his race. That doesn't seem to bode well for the general elections.

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Uri:

@MNLatteLiberal: Honest to god, I do not understand this almost superstitious voodoo abilities that Obama supporters seem to link to HRC. Do you deep in your heart honestly believe that there is a way for her to overcome a 100+ delegate lead without a popular vote lead?

If HRc scares you so much, what are you going to do against the Republican machine?

There is no way HRC can now catch up in the popular vote. Today sealed the deal. She can say all she wants. It's over. You guys do have to either relax, or get those balls from Zogby and prepare for the general elections where you will be facing a formidable enemy.

And by the way, lake county coming in, HRC getting pummeled.
It's going to be an Obama sweep tonight.

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ByTheNumbers:

@brambster
Your math looks right on the money for Lake County, assuming that the county results hold evenly (ie. that the first 1/3 are representative of the remaining 2/3).

Amazing discrepancy in the pre-election polling. If BO comes back in IN, Zogby's weighting will be proven to be dead-on accurate.

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RS:

@Uri:
Chill out.
The point is, Senator Clinton's way of counting the "popular vote" is by including FL and MI - with Senator Obama getting ZERO votes in MI.

Now, most folks know the uncommitted vote was mostly for Senator Obama. And neither campaigned there. Etc. But all of this counts for naught in Senator Clinton's reality. And as long as she believes that, she will continue to go after Senator Obama with all she's got. After all, if one strongly believes in, or wants, something, one might stop at nothing to achieve that end. We can already see the effects of this primary contest - 30% of either side say they won't support the other candidate. I hope that is just temporary, but we won't know for sure till Nov 4 night.

Let's hope the supers see this for what it is, and end this race soon enough. After all, as Mr Super pointed out, why should PR decide who should be the nominee, if they can't vote in the GE?

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brambster:

@Uri

The AA vote is not an issue, it is an asset. The AA vote has long been a major component of the Democratic Party's strength, and it will only be stronger with Obama as the nominee. Add to that the fact that millions of new Democratic registrations have been gained since last year, and in competitive primaries on both sides in solidly Republican states, Democratic turnout has been heavier than Republican turnout in many cases.

The dynamic that the press is playing up is one that only exists in Dem vs. Dem and not Dem vs. Rep. Despite the damage that HRC has done to Obama's reputation, deservedly or not, most Democrats won't be swayed by Republican attacks, and most Democrats will come together to support their nominee. For every Democrat lost to racism, one will have been gained due to enthusiasm in the Democrat's message or backlash to the Bush years.

It may be that Florida is a loss for Obama, but just because the last two elections were all about Ohio and Florida doesn't mean that this should always be the case, and we will soon get used to a different dynamic of states in play.

A party doesn't win by fighting the last election, and no one represents that better than McCain, and a party doesn't win, they get blown out, when the sitting president of that party has less than 30% approval.

Democrats will win the presidential election by a comparatively large margin, pick up about 6 seats in the Senate, and maybe a couple dozen in the House. The press will play this for all it's worth, but unless they find that Obama has a Pataki-type problem, he's going to win and win big.

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Daniel Thomas:

On a non-democratic party note, I find it an interesting tea leaf that in IN, a state that seems like a perfect fit for him. McCain can only pull in 80% of the primary votes. That 10% for Huckabee is not all early voting. Nor is Pauls 7%.

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Claude:

Zogby also got North Carolina bang on. 14% predicted 14% actual!

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MNLatteLiberal:

I fear Clintonista's "voter fraud" battle cry about the lateness of Gary vote, should the Lake County vote push Obama over the top in Indiana.

I hear the CNN pundits setting up that contingency. Is there a bus load of Clinton lawyers already on their way to Chicago?

Her speech assumed a victory, her spinners then promptly voiced that "old time" Chicago tactic. I fear the puzzle the Clinton machine is assembling.

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ByTheNumbers:

Five hours since the polls closed, and Lake County is still missing 75,000 votes. Just how long does it take to pry open a ballot box and stuff it with modern technology? The old skills just aren't kept up like they used to be.

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Uri:

@ByTheNumber: I think that Lake has primarily electronic voting, so this whole delay doesn't make any sense.

However, this is clearly an Obama win, since the gap is less than 20k, and he is leading 75% of the existing Lake votes and we can assume a similar distribution.

BTW, what happened to Union county? It's tiny, so how long does it take to count 500 votes?

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MNLatteLiberal:

I apologize for the repost of my old post. I have no idea what happened.

My comment to be posted was along the lines that there is no legitimate reason to extrapolate the current 28% from Lake County that come from Gary to the rest of the county. Did you see mayor of Hammond on CNN stating that his town and a bunch of other population centers went for HRC by an appreciable margin? So, there is no way the current 75/25 BHO will hold up for the rest of Lake. Point one.

Point two: I also noticed that Mac only got 80%, but attributed that to the protest/symbolic votes. What got me is the inability of Ron Paul to beat a dead guy. (Huckabee who dropped out).

Point 3: I am not going to argue with Uri over this. I will merely restate that what I object to is HRC's Rovean tactics. I have no fear of the woman, but that's pretty funny. Let Carl Rove, the man who fathered McCain's black baby during the 2000 SC primaries, do his own dirty work. There is no need for HRC to stoop to that level. 'nough said.

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MNLatteLiberal:

I apologize for the repost of my old post. I have no idea what happened.

My comment to be posted was along the lines that there is no legitimate reason to extrapolate the current 28% from Lake County that come from Gary to the rest of the county. Did you see mayor of Hammond on CNN stating that his town and a bunch of other population centers went for HRC by an appreciable margin? So, there is no way the current 75/25 BHO will hold up for the rest of Lake. Point one.

Point two: I also noticed that Mac only got 80%, but attributed that to the protest/symbolic votes. What got me is the inability of Ron Paul to beat a dead guy. (Huckabee who dropped out).

Point 3: I am not going to argue with Uri over this. I will merely restate that what I object to is HRC's Rovean tactics. I have no fear of the woman, but that's pretty funny. Let Carl Rove, the man who fathered McCain's black baby during the 2000 SC primaries, do his own dirty work. After all, he is now Mac's senior advisor. There is no need for HRC to stoop to that level. 'nough said.

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ByTheNumbers:

Second batch of Lake County votes came in at 12:40 and it seems that they were basically even. BO picks up a few thousand votes. So the question is whether the remaining 44% match the first batch or the second batch? If there are 60,000 outstanding, and they split 65-35, he'll win in by a nose (

To the wire we go.

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ByTheNumbers:

The end of that last post should read...
"he'll win by a nose (less than 5000 votes)."

Not intended as a statement of preference; I merely read the numbers for humor content.

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Uri:

@MNLatteLiberal:
I'm not watching CNN (no TV), just following the numbers that are updating. Is Hammond the mayor of Gary?

I have no wish to argue with you. I don't think HRC will ultimately follow any of the dirty tactics everyone is prescribing to her to actually overturn things. Until this point, she can say whatever necessary to make it seem like there is a scenario in which she has a chance. Bill Clinton said a long time ago that without the popular vote she has no chance. She cannot beat Obama in the pop after tonight. Hence, it's over.

As for McCain's black baby, I think that is just the start of what we're going to see. My bet is that you are going to see the Reps appealing to the inner racist in the middle-of-the-way middle-america white voter telling him that the AAs have overridden the choice of "White America" by running "their candidate". Considering the racial divide in these primaries, this could have an impact.

Again, I'm a foreigner coming from a country that officially has race-based parties for most minorities. My impression of the US is that racism is just as strong, it's just not officially admitted.

BTW: Where is Union county? With the lopsided way elections have been going on, this might end up being the Ohio of this primary.

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ByTheNumbers:

Give Union County a break. It's more like 1600 votes. Unless you count the cows.

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brambster:

@ByTheNumbers

The demographics in Lake County are much more favorable to Obama than Monroe County was, and Obama won Marion by 34 percentage points. Also, don't mistake a count of precincts as a count of votes as city precincts have more voters in them. I would guess that a little more than 50% of the vote is still out in Lake County, and this won't be splitting 50/50 like the last batch, but of course this is just an educated guess. Obama needs 28% to 30% extra in the county in order to pull this off...but the press is already calling the race as a whole, so this might not even be the big story.

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ByTheNumbers:

Oops. Big batch of HRC votes in the last Lake County delivery. She wins the state.

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eternaltriangle:

Is it just me or does Lake County look like a vote-rigging attempt called off at the last second. It seemed clear from listening to CNN's interview of the mayor of Gary that he was either entirely clueless, or stonewalling. He could not explain why partial results were not given for the county.

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Uri:

@ByTheNumbers: I know, I drove through it last week. But after Guam ended up being decided by 6 votes, I wouldn't be surprised if this is what it would come down to if the diff is under 5000 votes.

I can already imagine the face of the county election official who wakes up in the morning and finds out that everyone's waiting for him.

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Daniel Thomas:

Uri. Race is a complicated issue in this country. There are racists in America, I won't dispute it. And it is not a uniquely white issue, either. Plenty of AA, Native Americans, and even Hispanics are racist. It's even more complicated since Obama really isn't black, though some will portray him that way. Finally, don't rule out intelligent self interest. This country has progressed enough that he isn't being dismissed. My own opinion is that when push comes to shove his race will fade into the background and any obviously race baiting tactics will backfire.

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brambster:

@eternaltriangle

The Mayor of Gary is not the 'mayor' of the county. Gary has a population of almost exactly 100,000, and I would guess that the first batch of about 30,000 votes were theirs in totality.

It would be real, real hard for a county to cheat a vote of 120,000 by 20%. This county way under performed their demographics in comparison to the rest of the state, and their turnout also underperformed. So this is just the opposite of what you were suggesting.

____________________

ByTheNumbers:

In the end, the general "cluster" of pre-election polls undercounted Obama by about 4-5 points in both states. Since the exit polling showed late deciders favoring Clinton by slight margins, the usual "late deciders" excuse for the pollsters won't play here. Moreover, if you look at the demographics of the NC turnout (again, based on exit polling, so not entirely reliable), you see low-side youth vote, high-side female vote, and average AA vote. So high turn-out would not seem to be a credible explanation, since the demographics of the turnout don't seem to especially favor Obama.

So what's the answer? My guess is that there is a growing sense that Obama has the math sewn up, and thus there are a few people who are throwing in the towel for HRC. Not many, but all it takes is for 2% to switch sides (or a slightly larger number to stay home) to create a 4% shift.

He still needs to win over roughly the same number of supers (the pledged delegate math isn't moving that much), but there is a growing realization that she will not have a winning argument at the convention. And a very real chance that he will win enough supers pre-convention to sew it up.

The psychology of the "winner" effect is huge in America. Go back and look at prior primaries. Even when there are multiple candidates, once there is a sense that one candidate is "going to win," the bandwagon effect kicks in. This year has been remarkable in that that they have remained close enough (and demographically isolated enough) that the bandwagon effect has not occurred. With West Virginia and Kentucky coming up, I suspect it won't occur at all this year. We're going to go all the way to June.

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eternaltriangle:

The first batch of votes was 75-25, and gave Obama a margin of roughly 20,000 votes. In other words, it was about 40,000 votes. Doesn't that sound oddly high? 40% of the population (which includes children) of Gary. With absentee ballots at almost three times the level in the general election in 2004? Moreover, there were a few counties still outstanding at 12:30-1am. Monroe County and Marion County (plus Union county, which is a mystery) - both of which were heavily for Obama. None of these things are strange by themselves, but isn't it at least a bit odd that all happened at once? Obama did worse than one might expect in Lake county as a whole, but not Gary.

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RS:

@ByTheNumbers: I agree with you to some extent. I think the wider-than-expected lead in NC came about because Senator Obama overperformed among Whites as well as African-Americans.

Mark B.'s "vote by race in IN and NC" summary shows Senator Clinton winning Whites 61-32; exit polls say 61-37. Senator Obama led among African-Americans 82-10; exit polls say 91-7.
So looks like the undecideds in NC went for Senator Obama - the exit polls also say that the 15% who decided in the last 3 days preferred Senator Obama 52-46. I guess the bandwagon effect is in play...

As for Indiana, the race was so close probably because of the African-American vote - and the female vote(*). Polls typically presented Black voters at 9-12% of the statewide vote (see Mark B.'s summary of IN demographics). MSNBC's exit polls say Blacks were 18%! If Blacks were closer to Howey-Gauge's 20%, Senator Obama would have won Indiana (HG said Obama 47-45).

(*)I just noticed that Ciccina pointed out in the demographics thread the lower-than-typical-for-2008 fraction of female voters in HG/IA/SUSA's polls - 52% (overall Clinton +12)! PPP (Clinton +5) and Zogby (Obama +2) used a more-typical 55-56% female fraction. MSNBC's exits show women were 56%. So you'd think Senator Clinton's lead would be wider, but...

What is really surprising is the female vote-split in Indiana. SUSA put this at Clinton 60-38; PPP had Clinton up 53-40. Zogby said they were tied at 44%.
MSNBC exits: Clinton 51-49.

I knocked Zogby for not pushing the undecideds more, but apparently 11% in IN and 9% in NC (Zogby 12% each) decided today according to the exits.

Amazing - Zogby nailed the female vote and split as well as the "undecided-till-today" fraction!

This was an exciting night! I doubt the remaining contests will top it... If you are keeping track of the flawed "popular vote" - Senator Obama now leads even counting Florida. Michigan - depends on how one allocates the "uncommitted" - I apportion 2/3 to Obama similar to FL, and the two are within 5000 votes out of ~32 million total (my counts may not match exactly with AP; don't include caucuses.)

As Tim Russert apparently said earlier tonight - it looks like the Democrats have a nominee. Finally.

Good night, y'all!

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brambster:

@eternaltriangle

Here's what seemed to have happened in Indiana. As a whole, there were approximately 1,254,000 Democratic primary voters. In the 2004 presidential election, there were 969,000 Kerry voters. That's an increase of 29%.

Rural Democratic vote in a spot check was up modestly from 2004 Kerry votes and doesn't amount to much. In counties dominated by urban areas Democratic vote was up around 5% to 15% depending on the county. The small town or exburban counties...Republican dominated counties, where most of this surge in voting was seen, especially in the Southwest corner of the state. Hardly your Democratic political machine at work.

Small-town counties with low minority populations like Handcock, Warrick, Knox, and Vanderburgh saw increases on the order of 40% and 70%. Bigger town counties with high minority populations like Lake County, Marion, St. Joseph, and Allen saw lower than average increases of between 5% and 25%.

So what does this say? It says that the turnout was boosted primarily by independents and Republicans (and not ballot stuffers in the cities). So instead of Lake County being the oddity, it is actually the entire Southwest corner of the state that really made the difference.

Certainly there were a lot of Republicans willing to cross over and vote since there was no real contest on their side, and they chose Clinton by 12 percentage points or so if I recall the numbers from TV, while in previous open contests with active Republican primaries, Obama was winning crossover Republican votes by large margins. In Wisconsin, Obama beat Hillary with Republicans by 44 percentage points. That's a huge swing, and the effect is no doubt a combination of a crazy pastor played 24/7 for a month and also Limbaugh. So there's your conspiracy theory. It was meddling Republicans and people scared by Wright that tilted the entire state with a surge of Hillary support.

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RS:

@eternaltriangle:
As of 0227 ET, 100% of Monroe has reported. According to MSNBC the high number of absentee ballots was due to students/faculty members at IU (school's been over a while.)
Marion is the single-largest county (~180k votes and counting), so I am not surprised some votes are still left over. It's 3 AM - folks need to get some sleep!
As for Lake/Gary - what is 40k from a 20k lead, how do you get that? Anyway, as Mayor Clay said - the turnout was 90+% with a massive GOTV (the machine!)

Sure, Black turnout was higher than most polls expected, but Senator Clinton didn't win women overwhelmingly, either. White women: in PA, Clinton 68-32; in IN Clinton 60-40. That's effectively a 7% swing right there. That pretty much explains the difference between PA (Clinton +9%) and IN (Clinton +2%).

Methinks you can give up on the conspiracy theories. But that's just me.

Good night. F'real!

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Pat:

Hannity on his show congratulated Rush Limbaugh for winning Indiana tonight. It was operation chaos that did it.

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Uri:

@Pat:

I thought the exit polls didn't show significant differences among reps and inds? Maybe I missed that.

Anyway, I consistently notice this narrative:


Independents and Republicans go for Obama = He is attracting new voters

Independens and Republicans go for Clinton = Operation chaos.

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Paul:

Looking at the Zogby final poll, the only difference with the actual result depended on how the "someone else" and "not sure" broke. In North Carolina, Zogby has Obama +14, and the someone else and not sure broke exactly even in total +5 to each, so that final result was +14. In Indiana where Zogby has Obama +2, the someone else and not sure broke 2/3 for Clinton (+8), Obama (1/3) +4 so that the final result was Clinton +2.

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