Saturday, January 19, 2008

Hillary Takes Nevada

In a show of force that emphasized an ability to turn out the electorate, the Nevada Democratic caucus brought a record 107,000 people out to the polls to bring about a second victory for Hillary Clinton over her nomination rival, Barack Obama.

To be fair, the most recent polls were in Hillary's favor. She had a fairly comfortable 9 point lead over Obama amongst all voter. She was dominating the female and Latino voters in equal margins (about 50% to Obama's 29%). She was fairly even (after taking into consideration the margin of error) in the under 50 years of age category and had a significant advantage in the over 50 years of age group. It will be interesting to see how the post caucus polls reflect the pre-caucus polls.

A number of things initially come to mind about this most recent Democratic caucus. First, the Obama culinary union was heavily covered by the media, but seemed to have little effect. I wonder what that implies? Are the unions simply losing their ability to turn out the vote or influence their members? Or are they simply not listening to their troops on the ground?

Second, for all the talk about Latino voters being in contention in Nevada, there was surprisingly little chatter about the women's vote. They played a huge rule in New Hampshire, one would have thought that attention might carry over in Nevada. It's possible, and may be likely, that there simply aren't a lot of female voters in Nevada.

Which brings up my third thought: young voters? Are there no young voters in Nevada? And if there are, did they vote for Obama? As they are his bread and butter, I would have thought that might again be emphasized like the under 25 vote was emphasized in New Hampshire and Iowa. But again, there simply might not be too many young voters.

Fourthly, Obama has a clear lead in South Carolina according to recent polls. What kind of bounce, if any, will Hillary get from her Nevada victory?

And lastly, at some point in time John Edwards will have to withdraw. He won little less than 4% in Nevada and is only polling at 15% in South Carolina. What effect will this have on Super Tuesday and beyond? As Dick Morris points out, the majority of Edwards supporters also support Obama. If this makes any difference, I suppose we'll just have to see.

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