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Defying Polls, Clinton Continues to Lead

With half of the vote counted, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) is clinging to a 3,000 vote lead over Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) -- an amazing development given a series of public polls that seemed to suggest the Illinois senator would cruise to victory in today's New Hampshire primary.

Neither Clinton nor Obama is claiming victory just yet, as strategists for both sides acknowledged that the race would be very close.

Two notable trends are apparent in a quick study of preliminary exit polls. First, Clinton received 29 percent among voters who said change was the most important factor in their vote -- a ten point improvement among that crucial bloc of voters from last Thursday's Iowa caucuses.

Among women, which were always expected to serve as the foundation for Clinton's effort, the New York senator beat Obama 47 percent to 34 percent in New Hampshire. That is a stunning reversal from the Iowa results, where Clinton lost women 35 percent to 30 percent.

We'll have more detailed analysis tomorrow on The Fix. But what an amazing night!

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 8, 2008; 9:55 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Sosnik to Advise Clinton Campaign
Next: Clinton Wins in a Stunning Upset


Does anyone ever stop to think that weather may have played a significant role in the Iowa caucus numbers? Younger folks don't mind 15 degree weather after dark; older, wiser men and women tend to stay home in comfortable safety at that hour. I believe that HRC could have won Iowa if the temp had been warmer and the caucuses held during daylight hours. I'm delighted for her. I'm delighted for America. Go, Hillary.

Posted by: srichard | January 9, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Hillary staged a remarkable comeback - and the media bigots cannot believe it. They struggle to understand voters and issues.

Posted by: glclark4750 | January 9, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Guys, sorry I missed all your posts.

After my famous last words at the previous "Fix" post I turned off my computer (I don't have a TV) and went to bed, thinking it was going to be a long night. I thought that this morning I'd be looking at a squeaker win by Obama which would be as confusing as what the night before had been already. If I remember correctly, Hill led from the very beginning and kept on leading always by small increments but holding her lead steady by a few points.

The quote saying that Hill expected to win ( "Mrs. Clinton said she expected to lose the New Hampshire primary, and even before the polls closed pledged to fight on to the next round of early-voting states."-NYTimes) is accurate. DID SHE SAY THAT OR TELL THAT TO HER STAFFERS OR DID THE TIMES GUY MAKE IT UP. The word cluelessnes comes to mind.

So, is Nevada culinary still going to endorse Mr. Obama? The fun continues.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 9, 2008 5:23 AM | Report abuse

pamala: I have no contact with the Hillary campaign, and don't know anyone personally connected with it, to the best of my knowledge and belief. I have not contributed to her or any other candidate in this election cycle. I base my support for her mainly by looking at her from childhood from every source I can find. IMHO, Hillary is so much better for women, middle income, lower income, and most important, to the vast majority of the American people. To sum it up in a few words, I would say this--"Hillary really cares about the less fortunate among us." Needless to say, I am very well pleased with tonights results.

Posted by: lylepink | January 8, 2008 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Judge, Obama's speech was great - I only heard the second half but it almost sounded like a victory speech Hmmm...

Lylepink, I think Hillary is channeling John Edwards - taking on corporate interests, fighting for the voters...Is this a new theme for her?

Well, congratulations to all Clinton supporters - wish us Biden supporters could have had a night like this.

Posted by: -pamela | January 8, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse

Watching PBS, I see that HRC won the female vote rather handily among the Ds, esp. "HS educated" women.

No waves of sweeping support are apparent.

I am hopeful for McCain.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 8, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

After an amazing coalition of liberals, conservatives, bloggers and msm trying to torpedo Clinton's efforts, the people have spoken. Talk about Clinton-speak, the unbelievable spin continues from the losers. Keep it up, maybe we can still get a republican elected.

Posted by: ebabin | January 8, 2008 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Obama gave a great concession speech.

Listening to HRC's speech now. Kudos to her and her staff. It's nice to see her get some good news. FemaleNick, I know you're smiling out there in CA.

All the talking heads are certainly puzzled by this turnabout.

Posted by: judgeccrater | January 8, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Happy days are here again. Even when I give up on a state "My Gal, Hillary" still comes shining brighter than ever.

Posted by: lylepink | January 8, 2008 11:05 PM | Report abuse

"Or they brilliantly managed to lower expectations far enough that a tie or slight victory could be characterized as a great victory."

I think it highly unlikely they were contributors to Obama-mania that has been going on since Iowa. A one vote victory after Iowa is a "great" victory.

Posted by: dave | January 8, 2008 10:59 PM | Report abuse

A question - with Obama conceeding to Clinton, should the Obama-mania crowd stop counting their chickens? What a deflating night for Obama. This certainly keeps things interesting through superduper Tuesday.

Posted by: dave | January 8, 2008 10:56 PM | Report abuse

"I think I can safely say Hillary defied all the Media and Repubs in this great victory."

Or they brilliantly managed to lower expectations far enough that a tie or slight victory could be characterized as a great victory.

Posted by: bsimon | January 8, 2008 10:53 PM | Report abuse

rfpiktor: I think I can safely say Hillary defied all the Media and Repubs in this great victory.

Posted by: lylepink | January 8, 2008 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Mark and rfpiktor,

If exit polls were accurate, wouldn't we be discussing the re-election prospects of President Kerry?

Seriously, on the Dem side, I'm beginning to think this might not be settled until the convention. I would think Hillary beating expectations, not to mention winning, would shore up the aura of inevitability and be more than enough to carry her to Feb. 5 regardless of Nev. and SC (states where I think Obama does have an edge).

For the GOP, if McCain beats Romney in MI, that sounds like a death knell. If he can't win his "home" state, where can he win? Nice to see principles trumping personal fortune. And any bets on when Thompson pulls out?

Posted by: -pamela | January 8, 2008 10:47 PM | Report abuse

People may have lied on the exit polls but what the heck happened to the daily polling? How could all the pundits and data been so wrong? Even if Obama wins by an eyelash, that will not be the news. The news will be HRC, at the beginning of the day being given up for dead, and at the end of the day recapturing the big mo. The best news of the night for Republicans is that John Edwards did horrible and has announced he will continue fighting. A lot has been said about Republicans and not having a clear candidate to pick. Are the Dems any better? Perhaps worse in that they appear to have two front runners and an almost third party candidate. That can't be good for party unity.

Posted by: dave | January 8, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

It appears that NH will be a pleasant surprise for the Clinton campaign. I'm interested in seeing which campaigns change their strategies over the next couple weeks.

Posted by: bsimon | January 8, 2008 10:39 PM | Report abuse

SLBK: The Obama supporters, along with the Repubs, can certainly thank The Media for their continuing Bashing of Hillary. Every Cable News Channel is doing essentially the same thing "Bashing Hillary" I notice the vote total has been increasing in favor of Hillary, and she is now leading by approximately 5,100 of the popular vote, and this been steadly increasing since the first returns. AP has just called it for Hillary, as reported just now by FOX.

Posted by: lylepink | January 8, 2008 10:34 PM | Report abuse


Do you have a prediction who will win?

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 8, 2008 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Romney was blasted tonight! How much longer does he stick around?

Posted by: cel1ery | January 8, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Mark, any conclusions yet?

I say Hillary's genius boy is one jolly camper tonight. He keeps his job and looks like a million bucks.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 8, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

That's all you have to say Chris. What an amazing night. Try to be a journalist and give credit where credit is due. This woman fought back against all attacks thrown at her and their were more at her than any other candidate and she won! You need to eat some crow. btw I commented on your blog that Rasmussen was showing Obama trending downwards 5% daily from Saturday at only 1% more than Clinton yesterday. That puts her at a 4% win today.

MAny of the polls showed the same trend. What happened was that polster included Saturday his highest polling day in his bounce instead of doing a reliable sample last night and sticking to it.
Rasmussen saw what was happening. They chose to report a 7% obama win rather than a 1%, by just going with their Sunday poll. They would have won the prize if they had, but they let their bias get in the way, so did everyone else that did't see the clear trend.

Yeah Zogby obviously polled people on MArs not in NH or they changed their sample to reflect Iowa's turnout fo youths and indies which was an error.

I'm not a genius but it was there in plain site. I would have projected a win for Clinton from Rassmusen's data, but I thought the hype would have more effect.

NH voters can obviously see past hype.

Posted by: slbk | January 8, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Don't blow your load over Hillary just yet CC...

Rural votes will come in last, and I predict Obama makes up the votes by the time it is all counted.

Posted by: Boutan | January 8, 2008 10:03 PM | Report abuse

rfpiktor, I competely missed that you were quoting exit polls!

HRC voters obviously lied to the exit polls - they are so tricky!

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 8, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

Did her emotional moment help her that much? That's all that changed.

Posted by: parkerfl | January 8, 2008 10:02 PM | Report abuse

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