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Big Night in S.C.

Polls close in South Carolina in less than two hours and the Fix community is in a predicting frenzy about who will win tonight's Democratic primary.

But, since still have 90 minutes or so to kill, we thought we'd offer a few thoughts on tonight's proceedings before they, well, proceed.

* In the 2004 South Carolina Democratic primary, whites made up 51 percent of the electorate while blacks comprised 47 percent. The expectation is that the black vote will surge given Sen. Barack Obama's (Ill.) presence on the ballot and the overall historic turnout rises in the first three Democratic contests. Early indications from heavily black precincts in South Carolina was that turnout was booming today; if so, Obama should be in very good shape.

* Watch to see how much of the white vote Obama is able to capture tonight -- win or lose. Polling in the run-up to today's vote suggested that the Illinois Senator was running well behind both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and former senator John Edwards (N.C.). If Obama is not able to capture a significant chunk of the white vote, it could bode poorly for his chances on Feb. 5 when only a few states -- Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama -- have hefty black populations.

* What is the minimum and maximum of Edwards' vote share tonight? His four percent take in Nevada was borderline embarrassing and he and his team know they must do better in South Carolina tonight to stay truly relevant through Feb. 5. Remember that Edwards won South Carolina in 2004 with 45 percent of the vote, beating Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) by 25 points among white voters and three points among black voters. Recent polling has shown him ranging from the mid teens to the mid twenties. Assuming Obama has consolidated the black vote as he did in Nevada, that means that most white votes Edwards gets come out of Clinton's total. A weak Edwards showing might help Clinton overperform expectations.

* Even before the South Carolina finished, the fight over Florida began. Clinton's campaign is doing their damndest to ensure the primary on Tuesday in the Sunshine State has some meaning despite the fact that no delegates are at stake and none of the candidates have actively campaigned there. "Despite efforts by the Obama campaign to ignore Floridians, their voices will be heard loud and clear across the country, as the last state to vote before Super Tuesday on February 5th," declared Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson in a memo released this afternoon. The Obama campaign quickly shot back; "It should not be surprising given recent events that the Clinton campaign would in one breath say the election is about winning delegates and then tout their success in states that don't award any delegates in the next breath," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. Who wins this argument could well matter as we head into Feb. 5. With all of the Democrats on the ballot in Florida, could it give Clinton even the smallest boost of momentum?

* For the second straight weekend, presidential voting is intruding on The Fix's ability to watch his beloved Georgetown Hoyas basketball team on television. So, if you are a friend of the Fix or just a casual commenter, DO NOT send any emails, instant messages, text messages congratulating or offering condolences about tonight's game. The Fix is already looking forward to sitting in his basement late tonight and watching the game, which is being Tivoed. Again, DO NOT alert The Fix to anything related to Georgetown hoops tonight. We can't stress this strongly enough.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 26, 2008; 5:41 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Next: Obama Wins South Carolina

Comments

CHANGE IS TOP PRIORITY ON PRSIDENT OBAMA'S LIST
1 BUILD A TAJ MAHAH LIKE TOMB FOR DAD IN KENYA
2 CHANGE THE SENATOR OBAMA SCHOOL IN KENYA TO PRESIDENT OBAMA SCHOOL
3 BUILD BETTER SCHOOLS HOSPITALS AND INFRASCTURE SURROUNDING HALF OF RELATIVE CIRCLE AND FRIENDS IN KENYA
4 PUSH AGENDA TO BRING KENYA OUT OF POVERTY BY ASSIGNING TOP DIPLOMAT TO BRING IT TO PRIORITY ONE
5 USING AIRFORCE ONE TO SHUTTLE RELATIVES AND FRIENDS FROM KENYA TO WHITE HOUSE FOR SLEEP OVER
6 VISIT INDONESIA IN FIRST YEAR IN OFFICE TO REUNITE WITH STEP DAD
7 PROMOTE AMERICAN TO CHANGE NAME TO MUSLIM NAME TO AVOID ATTACKS BY ARAB HOSTILE COUNTRIES
8 TAKE POCKET CHANGE OUT OF AMERICAN TO FUND SCHOLARSHIP AND TUITION FOR HALF OF RELATIVE CIRCLE AND FRIENDS IN KENYA TO HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN IN USA
9 YOU VOTED FOR IT NOW YOU GOT IT WELCOME TO THE OTHER HALF KENYA'S RELATIVE ON YOUR TV SCREEN WEEKLY NEWS

Posted by: anthonyhillary08 | January 27, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Only thing better than watching Obama trounce Clinton was watching the Hoyas survive West Virginia in Morgantown!

Hoya Saxa!

Posted by: bstock531 | January 27, 2008 3:22 AM | Report abuse

Others have touched on the point, but I'll ask too. Why the talk about Obama and race, but not talk about Clinton and gender? Her victories have relied on the female vote, yet all the talk is about Obama and black voters. Seems to me that the pundits are being spun.

Posted by: bsimon | January 26, 2008 9:47 PM | Report abuse

FarlingtonBlade, aka, BB: My predictions were O 44-C 31-E 25--. I heard something about Repubs that didn't vote in their primary, could vote in this one. Does anyone have anything on this??, If so it would again prove my contention about how the Repub strategy was to knock Hillary off.

Posted by: lylepink | January 26, 2008 7:38 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I predicted during the Republican Caucasus predictions that the Democratic Party was a blow in favor of Obama. I can't believe that the Clintons actually helped to help that to come into fruition.

Posted by: jasonlafuente | January 26, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

That'll get you booted off the cite parkerfl!

:-)

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 26, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

By the way, the WPost PREDICTED AT 7:15PM AN OBAMA WIN.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 26, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Obama wins, Hillary flees the state. I don't think the Clintons were prepared for the thrashing they received in the Palmetto State.

Man, the Hoyas can't hit a 3 to save a life tonight. Oops...never mind.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl | January 26, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Re: lylepink

Then I guess you'll be picking up that t-shirt. My prediction was 42-Obama 32-Edwards 26-Clinton (should have shaved off a few points for other, guess I'll have to live with my pub quiz winnings from Fadó).

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 26, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

NBC News also projects an Obama win.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 26, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

If Obama can't capture a significant chunk of the white vote, he will do poorly. And, polling indicated that a significant racial split was developing. I know, what a shock in the South. So, I think your perspective is valuable, though the comment is valid in this particular context.

More likely, the implications that the South will be lost to the Dems if Obama is nominated. Not that Hillary will be voted prom queen down there.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | January 26, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Early returns are in and I have pretty well seen what I thought would be the spin by The Media that were close to 100% in favor of Obama. I'll be watching closely and from what I can gather, I was right on about what would happen.

Posted by: lylepink | January 26, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

ABC News has projected Mr. Obama as the winner in S.C., a close race for second between Hill and Edwards.

Posted by: rfpiktor | January 26, 2008 7:22 PM | Report abuse

"If Obama is not able to capture a significant chunk of the white vote, it could bode poorly for his chances on Feb. 5 when only a few states -- Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama -- have hefty black populations."

Come on Chris, it sounds like your buying the Clinton spin. Obama essentially matched Clinton's votes in two all white states. Trying to label Obama as a black candidate is as specious as labeling Clinton a women candidate, no one would stand for it. Really, you can do better than that, I've seen it.

Posted by: thebobbob | January 26, 2008 7:02 PM | Report abuse

ah so...quoting a black guy is "injecting race"?

More from the "let's just all be white" school of racial harmony...

Posted by: docsplice | January 26, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

None of it means anything. There is no mo for any of them. The big news will be what the big states do. The hype about the importance of the early small states is just media hype because they have nothing else to say. New York, California, Illinois, that is where the dems are, and those results will COUNT because there are a lot of delgates there. Unfortunately the so-called super-delegates may control too much but it's heading for a close vote at both conventions and to all of you who don't remember the repubs in 1940 and 48 and 52, and the dems in 52 it may be the most fun since Truman beat Dewey.

Posted by: bobtich | January 26, 2008 6:54 PM | Report abuse

GordonsGirl is certainly onto something, CC.
After IA, and after every huge BHO rally this year, you should not assume that SC's vote portends "racial profiling" in many other quarters, even if you conclude that "race" was a factor in SC.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 26, 2008 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, joojfan, you seem to have posted the exact same comment as someone totally different on NBC's First Read...not that Clinton supporters would ever spike comment threads...

Posted by: peregrine1988 | January 26, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

Chris, I love you, but why the dark foreboding about Obama and white voters? He's ahead in the delegate count, thanks one heckuva lot of white voters in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. Do you suddenly believe that, should he not do well with white voters in a state that still flies the Confederate flag, that means white voters outside of the South will reconsider?

Please tell me that pure exhaustion is clouding your judgment. Otherwise I can only surmise that you're trying to seriously taing Obama's likely victory.

Posted by: GordonsGirl | January 26, 2008 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I love your column but I love the Hoyas more. So don't email me during the Hoyas game about the SC results. I'll catch them after we polish off WVa in a tough road game.

Mark from Baltimore

Posted by: mark.davis167 | January 26, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Who Is Injecting Race?

"They're trying to bamboozle you. It's the same old okie-doke. Y'all know about okie doke, right? ... They try to bamboozle you. Hoodwink ya. Try to hoodwink ya. Alright, I'm having too much fun here. ... " - Barack Obama

Those are the classic words of Malcolm X.

"You've been hoodwinked. You've been had. You've been took. You've been led astray, led amok. You've been bamboozled." - Malcolm X

Posted by: joojfan | January 26, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Obama will win S.C, no doubt, but his problems remain. Most importantly, he has
never cleaned up people's mind how he will make change or govern. And his
records don't help at all.

A latest example is: although he has reviewed twice and declaired that was
all he had or he knew, again ABC news reports yestarday he had more money
from Rezko than he admited or returned (http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4192358&
page=1).

One of comments about this news said:

"Obama is either Dishonest or imcompetent.If he know the unreturned contribution
and remains mum about it, he is dishonest. If he really does not know, he
is imcompetent even to run his own campaign."

Posted by: yudong2 | January 26, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

The AP exit poll actually shows no big bump from the 2004 black turnout.

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/01/26/america/South-Carolina-Exit-Poll-Glance.php

"As expected, about half of those voting on Saturday were black."

Posted by: B2O2 | January 26, 2008 6:02 PM | Report abuse

One interesting thing to watch is how the undecideds break - the polls show 10-15% undecided. Will the Clinton's gutter campaign drive the majority of these folks to Obama - or will the Clinton-Obama squabbling motivate them to go to Edwards. I like his "grown-up wing of the Democratic party" line.

Posted by: jimd52 | January 26, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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