HILLARY OPENS BIG LEAD IN CALIFORNIA; OBAMA SURGES IN MISSOURI
Tue February 5, 2008 11:52 pm

The first numbers are in from California: Hillary 55%, Obama 32%, and that represents about a 225,000 vote lead. The delegates are chosen by congressional district, and it is going to take a long time to do the math.

Hillary's lead in Missouri is down to 9,000 votes, from about 60,000. I thought it was nuts to call the race for Hillary. She may win, but there were too many votes out in St. Louis to reach a level of certainty.

All precincts in St. Louis city are in. Obama is down by 6,000 votes. There are still 85 precincts that haven't reported in St. Louis county. Too close to call.

On the Republican side, McCain, as predicted, has pulled into a slight lead:

McCain 32.8%
Huckabee 32.1%
Romney 28.9%

The raw vote margin for McCain is 4,006 votes.

Hillary 38.9%
Obama 38.2%

Just under 5,000 votes separates them with around 5% of the vote out, most of it in St. Louis County, where Obama leads by 61.3% to 36.7%, or around 37,200 votes. Obama is going to win. I could have told them that. Whoever called Missouri for Clinton was nuts.

Finally, Fox calls Missouri for Obama. He wins by around 5,000 votes. This is a huge win on a night that has to be a little disappointing for Obama. He appeared to have the momentum, but momentum is ethereal, and organization is tangible, and Clinton has the organization. This was the Patriots versus the Giants again, and the Giants had all the momentum, except that this time the Giants couldn't will themselves to win and the Patriots were too strong.

In California, 8.1% of the vote is in, Hillary leads 55-32, but in LA County, where Obama was hoping to do well, she is beating him 86,000-46,000. You can follow the California returns on http://vote.ss.ca.gov/Returns/pres/dem/59.htm/.

Charlie Cook is saying that all the fundamentals are for Clinton, but sometimes you get an election where the old rules do not apply. Yes, but ... I think that the most important thing that happened tonight was that Clinton broke Obama's momentum. It looks as if she will crush him in California. He's still alive, he still has a lot of delegates, he still has an incredibly loyal following, but I think the tidal wave dissipated on the rocks of California.

Another one of the big things tonight was turnout. The Democratic turnout was 2 to 1 over the Republicans. The Republicans aren't motivated. They don't like their candidates.

I'm watching Charlie Rose now, and they are suggesting that the exit polls were wrong -- the whole panel is trashing them. Charlie Cook says that exit polls aren't for predicting results, they're for figuring out which constituency voted for whom and why. Cook says that if Hillary was a stock, you would say that she has a narrow trading range, a low ceiling and a high floor. Obama has a much broader range.

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