Tuesday, February 5, 2008

SUPER TUESDAY PRIMARIES: As 24 States Go to Polls, Clinton in Dead Heat with Obama, McCain Leads GOP

The biggest prize in the Super Tuesday 24-state primary vote today will be California, with more than 36 million inhabitants, the most populous state in the nation. Observers expect Clinton and Obama to nearly split the delegates available, which amount to more than 50% of the total. The Republican contest could be close to being decided, if frontrunner McCain achieves a "sweep", as some expect, with more than 40% of delegates in play, and a winner-take-all rule in some GOP contests.

Until two weeks ago, Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY) led her principal Democratic rival Sen. Barack Obama (IL) by a margin of more than 10%. By this weekend, that margin had shrunk to 2%, with some polls showing Obama with a lead. By this morning, polls suggested Obama has opened a 13 percentage point lead over Clinton 49% to her 36%, possibly gathering to his cause many voters who had supported the progressive campaign of fmr. Sen. John Edwards (SC). A SurveyUSA poll conducted during the same period shows Sen. Clinton with a 10% lead.

Georgia, where Obama holds a commanding 20 percentage point lead, according to the latest Zogby poll, is expected to be important to the candidate's maintaining momentum through the day and into the coming contests. Bloomberg reports "or the next 90 minutes after polls close in Georgia, returns will come in from 10 states, including primaries in the Northeast. Anything other than victory for New York Senator Clinton in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Delaware would be a coup for Obama, an Illinois senator."

Among Republicans, new frontrunner Sen. John McCain (AZ) has pulled ahead in many key states, and himself predicts he will defeat rival Mitt Romney in his home state of Massachusetts. Pollster John Zogby says "It looks like a big day for McCain with Romney making a last stand in California".

McCain's momentum, based on his victories in South Carolina and Florida, seems to give him the edge in terms of support and energy, though many conservative Republicans are wary of his "credentials" in the area of social and fiscal conservatism. His tough talk on issues of war and security has brought momentum from that part of the Republican electorate concerned about defense issues, though there is general skepticism across the nation on issues of economic recovery and fiscal policy.


Xóu said...

By 9 pm EST, Obama has won Illinois (his home state) and Georgia, while Clinton has won Oklahoma and Tennessee. Considered a coup for Obama was his carrying not only near 90% of the black vote in Georgia, but also 40% of the white vote.

John McCain took important wins in New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois, while Mike Huckabee won Alabama and West Virginia, and Mitt Romney won his home state of Massachusetts. Reuters reports: "Huckabee was aided [in WV] by McCain voters who switched to him to deny Romney a victory, drawing a protest from Romney's camp."

Xóu said...

Shortly after 9 pm EST, Sen. Clinton was also projected to be the winner of her home state of New York, as well as Massachusetts, while Barack Obama added Delaware to his tally. NBC also projected Sen. Clinton to win New Jersey.

Sen. John McCain is reported to have won the state of New York, a crucial gain in delegates that could give him an important edge as western states begin to show results.

Xóu said...

Reports from Georgia suggest the controversial voter ID law there has created enormous backups at polling places, with waits as long as 90 minutes reported.

WXIA of Atlanta reports cases of people waiting 50 minutes, only to be told their ID indicates they should vote at a different location, where lines might be as long.

MSNBC reports "Obama officials asked Handel to investigate complaints that elderly people in Atlanta received calls offering to allow them to vote by phone, which is not possible, NBC affiliate WMGT of Macon reported."

Opponents have likened the voter ID law to the unconstitutional poll taxes aimed at preventing African Americans from voting in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Xóu said...

By 2:15 EST, ongoing counts had left it looking like the Democrats fought to a draw, while the GOP now has a clear frontrunner in John McCain. Barack Obama would carry 12 states' primaries and caucuses, possibly a 13th, while Hillary Clinton would win 8.

Clinton's wins included California, New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts, while Obama took Illinois as well as Alabama, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Utah, as well as caucuses in Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota and North Dakota. It also appears Obama may win by a narrow margin in Missouri, considered a bellwether state for general election support.

Arizona Sen. John McCain took California and several key northeastern states, for a total of 9 wins on Tuesday, giving him a commanding lead of the Republican field, due to the GOP's winner-take-all rules for delegate assignment.

Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, won 6 states, and Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, won 5. Both vowed to stay in the race and continue to push for the nomination.

In the [ media ] Loop

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