Saturday, January 19, 2008

Nevada Nadir?

Possibly the most important election information provided today was the entrance polling result among Latino Democrats. Clinton trampled Obama 64-28%, besting her performance among non-Hispanic whites by 12 points. This is huge. The antipathy of Latino voters for black candidates is something California political pros have long talked about among themselves in private, but there really haven't been that many clear-cut elections such as this to give the story legs.

With the Democratic establishment already firmly in the Clinton camp (see the super-delegate totals), Obama's uphill battle is even harder than first appeared. The female turnout was impressive (59% of the vote) and the lopsided nature of their vote was also remarkable (51-38%). Perhaps Obama ought to quit his patronizing addressing of Clinton as "Hillary" during formal debates. True, this hasn't been mentioned by the pundits, but more than a few women I know have noticed and not forgotten. Finally, the Nevada results are further evidence that, while union endorsements make headlines, they no longer deliver votes. While it remains true that they can get their members to the polls, they can't deliver an overwhelming number of votes from their members.

On the GOP side, while Romney's victory was expected, I was looking forward to seeing just how impressive it would be, and not the raw vote totals. While some professional pundits have claimed that the West was not fertile ground for Romney, I've always thought he'd do well because of the relatively high Mormon population, their overwhelming tendency to register Republican, and their incredibly high turn-out. Nevada, with the 4th largest percentage of Mormons in the country (7.5% of the population) did not disappoint. Mormons cast 25% of all GOP votes in the Nevada GOP caucus (but less than 3% in the Democratic caucus). It looks like the turnout among Mormon voters was twice that of all others in the GOP. If that trend holds in states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington (to name a few), Mitt Romney will be in very good shape even if he doesn't place first in all those states.

[UPDATE:] The thought occurs to me that Andrew Sullivan is probably depressed tonight. He's a bright guy when he wants to be, and must realize that the odds are pretty good that the two candidates he absolutely despises will be running against each other in November.

No comments: