South Carolina Democratic primary thread

Australia Day festivities prevented me putting this thread up in a timely fashion, but better late than never. Barack Obama has polled 55 per cent of the vote in today’s Democratic primary in South Carolina, which has the country’s third highest proportion of African-Americans behind Mississippi and Louisiana. Hillary Clinton took second place with 27 per cent, ahead of John Edwards on 18 per cent.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

462 comments on “South Carolina Democratic primary thread”

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  1. As the Hill-Billy show coalesces into one entity, “the Clintons”, and then undergoes a cellular division to have Hill in Tennessee and Bill in Missouri, you just get that feeling that they really panicked after Iowa, and then let Bill out of his box, and taken off the cruise controls. It’s just such a high-octane bit of rocketry that I cannot get Apollo 13 out of my mind!

    I know Adam will not enjoy this, but I reckon a lot of people will read this article and at least nod the head a bit:

  2. OK, the point is that Clinton is going to win the majority of the states, votes and delegates on super tuesday and she will decide that Florida and Michigan delegates will be seated. The DNC would never defy the wishes of their presidential nominee. And lets just say for fun that Obama manages to trounce Clinton on Feb the 5th. He will seat Florida and Michigan because they are important states. They will be seated. Their seating may not be an important factor in the nomination but it will happen. Stop playing this silly fantasy that just because the weakest part of the organisational wing of the Democratic party (commonly regarded as less powerful than the DCCC and DSCC) doesn’t want them seated that they will get their way.

  3. Yeah Baz at 53, without scrutiny and without a paper trail Diebold and Sequoia and their theiving ilk can steal any election they want. The whole process is a complete sham as seen in Florida 2000 and Ohio 2004.
    The dice are always loaded in Deadwood, USA.

    Here’s the drum one how it’s done from three academics at Princeton Uni.
    In this “election” Benedict Arnold is running against Geoge Washington.

    “If your money was in a bank which had the safe guards of a “voting machine”, you would be dead broke in a week!”

    Bastions of democracy that they are, Diebold manufacture ATMs too as well as “electoral consent”. Only thing is, punters get a receipt at any ATM but Diebold simply can’t find a way to issue a paper receipt when citizens, especially African-Americans cast their votes.

  4. “Kennedy(Teddy, not Caroline) plans to campaign actively for Obama, an aide said, and will focus particularly among Hispanics and labor union members, who are important voting blocks in several Feb. 5 states, including California, New York, New Jersey, Arizona and New Mexico.”

    Amazing what a bit of momentum can do for a bloke’s campaign. Team Obama are going straight for the jugular, by romancing HRC’s core supporters. The overflow from Tsunami Tuesday will be worth bottling.

  5. I hope William doesn’t mind, but for US election tragics, I can heartily recommend the game “President Forever”. For those confused with the primary process (dates, delegates etc) it’s a fun way to get a good idea of how it works and also try your hand at running a campaign (primary or general election).

    There’s even an Australian game. Have a look at

    You can download a free demo to see if you like it.

  6. I eagerly await for the endorsement from Teddy Kennedy to be dismissed on this blog as another ‘oh, it only matters to the elites’ thing

  7. Ted Kennedy and Al Gore are probably the only two endorsements that “matter” in the Democratic party according to Mark Shields.

    That said, high profile endorsements are too often the kiss of death.

    Obama needs everything he can get going into Super Tuesday and I am sure he’d rather have Ted’s endorsement than not – same with Hillary.

    Nonetheless, it obviously remains to be seen whether it will make a difference.

  8. I have a somewhat perverted interest in the representation of human behaviour as a mathematical or physical phenomenon. I’m sure everyone has heard of the pendulum theory of politics. My version is that the pendulum swings from hard left to hard right incessantly. However, the amount of energy in the system determines how fast it swings (energy equates to will for change). There is a lot of energy in the system in the US so there will be a big swing of the pendulum, at least to centre from the current hard-right. Nothing too exciting in that prediction.

    But there is a very interesting prediction using this theory, not for this election but the next. It is almost impossible to push the pendulum against gravity. If this election only swings as far as McCain or Romney and therefore doesn’t reach centre, there is NO WAY it will be able to swing back to hard right in the 2012 (it could drift to centre or into the left though). But if it swings past centre to Hillary or even further to Obama, it could swing back as far as hard core neo-con by 2012.

    Does anyone agree with this prediction?
    From my limited knowledge of political history, the model looks pretty sound but I’d love to hear from people with a better knowledge of examples where it is wrong.

  9. William.. some fodder for a new post:

    Westpoll 58-42 (10 to Labor from 48-52 in Dec)
    Preferred Premier 62-17
    n=The usual suspects (410)

  10. Polls, lies and damned stastics:

    The average of the pre-New Hampshire polls showed Obama with an 8 point lead, and Clinton won by almost 3 points — a difference of 11 points. By contrast, the average of the pre-South Carolina polls showed Obama with an 11 point lead, and he won by 28 points — a difference of 17 points.

    (Greenwald, Salon)

    Why the huge error? All those undecideds decided, and it wasn’t for Hillary.

    The Jesse Jackson analogy gets a good going over and comes up wanting, and needless to say, does not cast Bill Clinton in a good light either.

    Whether this stuff has any discernable influence on the outcome of Feb 5th is not easy to see, but you’d expect it will eat away at some of Hillary’s lead.

  11. KR-I hope the latest polls for Repug Fl are lies. Romney is 6% ahead of Macca and he’s now 56/40 on Intrade. Rudy makes up the last 4%. Looks like they’ll be down to two after Florida.

  12. See now these Kennedy endorsements are interesting. Obama to me is like JFK. While Clinton is LBJ. Kennedy had all the ‘hope’ and other rhetorical crap about him that made him such an icon. LBJ on the other hand had a massive policy agenda in the ‘Great Society’ which ranged from civil rights to medicare/medicaid, federal education funding, establishing the PBS and NPR, massive environmental legislation in the clean air act and clean water act and many others. Best of all (due to his experience) he got virtually all of his bills he sent to congress enacted, having the most successful legislative record of any modern president.

  13. From the excellent

    “55% of the [SC] voters were black and 78% of them went for Obama, 19% went for Clinton (likely black women), and a mere 2% went for Edwards. Among white voters, Edwards won the primary with 40% of the vote to Clinton’s 36% and Obama’s 24%. Thus among the white voters, 76% went for Clinton or Edwards. These data explain the surprising way the voters broke by income. A large number of poor blacks voted. Did they vote for the black candidate or the candidate who wants to help the poor [Edwards]? They voted overwhemingly for the black candidate, even though he tends to draw most of his support nationally from well-educated, upper-income white voters.”

    Notional head to head polls:

    Clinton 47% beats McCain 45%
    Clinton 47% beats Romney 42%
    Obama 46% beats McCain 41%
    Obama 47% beats Romney 38%

    So either Dem would beat either Repub, but McCain is the stronger option. These are very soft polls at the moment. During the actual campaign, the Rove dirt machine would be turned on the Dem candidate. All Clinton’s dirt is out there already – they can disinter Vince Foster, parade Monica Lewinski’s dress, give Kenneth Starr his own talk show, and it won’t hurt her a bit. The more they attack her, the more women will rally to her. Obama’s dirt – and you can bet they will find or invent something – has yet to be revealed, so it has much greater potential to hurt him.

  14. A note on that article by Sven Birkets which that grubby little ESJ snidely inferred I’d somehow plagiarised:

    I found one word in common between my little parody and Birkets’ article. The word was ‘deft’! Oddly enough, he used ‘leer’ and I used ‘leering’, both to describe Wolfe’s demeanor, but in entirely different contexts.

    That’s it folks, two words!

    But the real irony is, and I just love this, the Sven Birkets’ piece (which I thoroughly enjoyed) is basically saying exactly what I was in my flippant and far less erudite way. Birkets makes a whole case across the entire span of Wolfe’s work and does it brilliantly.

    On the other hand, I’d had a frisson of nostalgia at what Adam had selected from Wolfe’s surgical incision into the paradoxes of the New York high culture liberal intelligentsia. His post was so unusual, it prompted my attempt at parody, when I could have simply said that Wolfe’s view of the world is 40 years old and a lot has changed. (But I had more fun putting that little post together! )

    So there you have it: ‘deft’. I stand accused of plagiarism by a grubby little snide remark, and then, when challenged, he slunk off with a childish attempt at humour and would neither retract his insulting little remark, nor attempt to back it up (which would have been very amusing!)

    โ€œI will leave it to other commenters to draw conclusions.โ€

    Indeed, and they will.

  15. 68

    Thanks for the head to head polls. I noticed late last night that they’ve been (ah, that word) narrowing to the point of crossing over. Itself interesting, as McCain was 1-3% ahead against both Dem possibilites until very recently (maybe a week back?)

  16. And further to Kennedy’s endorsing people. Bobby, Kerry and Kathleen Kennedy (children of Bobby Kennedy) have all endorsed Hillary Clinton.

  17. 64

    It’s going to be amazing watching the Repub’s go into spasms at the thought they’ll have to stand by McCain as nominee. I’d expect Romney will get a boost out of it.

    Plastic man or Meltdown man? Take ya pick!

  18. (last poll 24 January) shows composite of national polls for the Dem Nominee:

    Clinton 43.1%
    Obama 34.5%
    Gore 15.1%
    Edwards 12.1%

    Obama has closed the gap with Clinton about 6% since the beginning of this year, so now it’s down to whom the media wolfpack enthrones after Super-Duper Tuesday. If the nomination is strictly dependent on money, then Billary has this locked in the refrigerator, and only Gore could force her to work for it at the Convention. However, Gore’s not fool enough to inflict a “Thompson” on himself, is he?

    The Democratic Party’s mega-bitter nomination battle has boundless potential to awake from their slumbers many more millions of anti-Billary voters to fervently and bellicosely support ANY Republican nominee provided that Huckabee is running in the Veep slot. Or even Huckabee in the Prez slot, provided Giuliani or McCain is the Veep nominee.

  19. 71

    Let’s have a new game of political dynasty! Kennedys V Clintons, wow, what an amusing show.

    Adam, your comment that Hillary has already seen the dirt they dig up overlooks the fact that once she’s brought Bill out, his record since leaving office is up for inspection too, and by some accounts (see the NYT article I linked last night), there’s plenty of interest there.

    But overall, yes, the Rovian sceptic tank will be pumped out all over whoever gets nominated.

  20. Adam- That certainly fits with the “block vote” theory of voting almost exclusively for one candidate, not necessarily the most liberal. And it also suggests the block vote will happily shift to Hillary if/when she gets the nomination. The hard right Repubs are much less likely to shift from Romney to McCain IMHO and may gift the election to the Dems.

  21. 74

    Ha, thanks Jen.

    He sure cannot be now!

    Anyway, off to take two little boys to Lunar Park for the nipper’s birthday. Oh, the simple delights of being four years old (just!)

  22. 75

    That ‘block’ vote contained, (well, according to CCN exit polling)

    ‘non-black’ 18-29 year olds Obama took 52%

    That ‘block’ is NOT homogenous.

  23. Let’s consider what it would take for Obama to be the nominee. Clinton will win FL tomorrow by a wide margin, but since neither she nor Obama have campaigned there that won’t mean much. Super Tuesday is tomorrow week. If Clinton has a clean sweep of the big states, she will be unstoppable. Obama must pull off a big upset somewhere to show that he can win in a white-majority primary, which he has yet to do.

    The biggest states voting on 5 Feb are CA, NY, IL, PA, NJ and GA. He will get no credit for winning IL, his home state. He may win GA, but that will be attributed to the black vote as in SC. Beating Clinton in NY would indeed be a coup, but is also impossible. Clinton is 20% ahead in PA and NJ.

    That leaves CA, the biggest prize and therefore the biggest potential upset. The average of the last five polls in CA has Clinton ahead 45-30, with 10 to Edwards. He needs an 8% swing in a week, to get to 37-38-10. Even if Edwards were to withdraw and endorse Obama (which he won’t), and if all his voters were to vote for Obama (which they wouldn’t), that would only get him to 45-40.

    I can’t see this happening, but maybe I’m too blind to see. Can any of the Obama boosters here explain to me how they think he can win the nomination without actually winning any major primaries?

  24. I agree with Adam, the only real chance for Obama to get the nomination is to win CA – but even then that doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything. Yet the only real chance Obama seems to have to take CA (assuming nothing changes enormously between now and Tuesday week, not an easy assumption to make) is **IF** his polling in CA is underestimating his actual support in the same way it has been in some other States. Entirely possible, the Dem polls in the primaries seem to be a dogs breakfast at the moment, but that’s still a huge “if”.

  25. John Ryan @ 61
    There is one more I have heard of. That is the governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius who has become quite influential in the Democratic Party and has been chosen to respond to George Bushโ€™s state of the union address. But yes Al gore appears to be the only one who can really change the current equation.

    Adam Says @68
    “Clinton 47% beats McCain 45%” that is uncomfortably close and perhaps you should ask al Gore how a similar statistic to that worked for him in 2000. Getting more votes in New York and California will not win the election. I have also seen polls were McCain has surpassed Hillary.

    Anyway with Super Tuesday I think it is best to wait and see what happens in Florida first. It will be interesting to see if a McCain chill may send a shock wave through the democrats of Florida(With the endorsment by the popular Governor ).

  26. Certainly Adam! Proportional voting means that he doesn’t have to get past Hillary in those big states, just like he didn’t have to get past her Nevada, he just has to get close enough in a broad enough range of districts. His best hope is for Edwards to stay in, because he is filtering votes from Clinton, Win some smaller states by a large margin, stay very close in the larger states and have Edwards drop out after super Tuesday and endorse Obama delivering his delegates to him. In a close race with proportional delegates Edwards could easily have enough delegates to play kingmaker if he decides not to simply release them as he sees fit.

  27. I agree; if Obama doesn’t win CA it’s all over for him (unless all of his losses are by small single digits, which is even more unlikely).

    He needs an 8% swing in a week

    Or for the polls to have been wrong. It has happened ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also agree that CA and MI certainly will be seated but when, and only when, the nomination has been decided.

  28. New job for Mitt?………….

    Mormon Church president Gordon Hinckley has died in Salt Lake City in the United States, at the age of 97.

    Church officials say he passed away on Saturday.

    Mr Hinckley, considered prophet by church members, had served as president since March of 1995.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), as Mormons officially call themselves, claims a worldwide membership of 13 million people, but fewer than half of them actually live in the the United States.

    Thirty-six per cent of church members reside in Latin America and 17 per cent outside of the Western Hemisphere.

    A significant LDS community exists in Canada.

  29. There is nothing that I have seen or observed so far in the US election that has changed my mind that Hillary will the first female Prez of the US of A. Her biggest threat is still Obama because of his oratory skill and a symbol of “change”. If I am to vote on oratory skill, I would go for Obama. He truly inspires.

    If Hillary can get over Obama, yes she can, then the Dems will unite. Obama’s “change” crowd will flock to Hillary because having the first female Prez is still a big change. I just cannot see how McCain can be elected. If the Australian people considered John Howard at 68 is too old, then McCain is ancient and he ain’t no John Howard.

  30. Adam-you must be pleased to see how prominent Lieberman has been in McCain’s campaign. It’s raised a few eyebrows from the hard right Repugs but is improving his “cross-over” potential. Lieberman has repeatedly denied running as VP on Macca’a ticket but Macca himself came close to running with Kerry last election. I wonder….

  31. I think it is a fair assumption that Hilary will win Super Tuesday but does pr in the democrat votes mean anything? Assuming there is 2000 delegates up for grabs next Tuesday and you need 2000 to be elected – and Hilary wins generally 55-45 over BHO does this mean Hilary will gain 1100-900 in delegates (not taking into account the delegates Edwards will win) therefore a strong incentive exists to keep a campaign going to the convention as pr makes it impossible to decisively put a close opponent away.

  32. ESJ,

    Most people here wan’t to see your apology to KR. Up to you, but if you wan’t to keep playing then worth your consideration.

  33. President – WINNER
    CLINTON, Hillary 2.45
    OBAMA, Barack 2.95
    MCCAIN, John 5.25
    ROMNEY, Mitt 8.00
    GIULIANI, Rudolph 16.00
    BLOOMBERG, Michael 23.00
    HUCKABEE, Mike 51.00
    GORE, Al 71.00
    PAUL, Ron 81.00
    EDWARDS, John 101.00

    Draw a line under McCain. No one else is in the hunt. Nobody foresaw the huge number of first time voters that Obama drew from the woodwork in S.C. The Kid’s a Fire-Starter.
    Team Hill-Billy would be unwise to go plannin’ any Hootenannys just yet. Reading Obama’s performamces to date, he’ll be no pushover for swiftboaters like Gore and Kerry were. He’s already been returning serve with flair and he ain’t done yet. He’s got the game to electrify the electorate. He’s hot and heat’s hard to beat. He’d make mince-meat of McCain in the one-on-one debates in a way that stodgy, turgid and strident HRC couldn’t possibly match.
    Sure Obie’s a rookie, but Americans have been long primed to respond to charisma and star-power. After 8 years of The Imbecile, and with the imprimatur of Oprah, the Kennedys, probably Al Gore and then inevitably the rest of the bandwagon, The Kid has a good a shot at claiming a stunning victory, providing a good shot doesn’t claim him.
    A nation of Rip Van Winkels are beginning to wake up to the prospect of an Obama victory. I can feel the excitement from here.
    Slip Edwards the VPcy and mollify Hillary with SoS.

    Furthur, a GOPper ticket of warmongers like McCain and that little turncoat schmuck Joey “Pash-A-Bush” Lieberman are simply unelectable*, especially with the US economy troubled by a serious bout of the Joe Blakes.

    President – WINNER
    CLINTON, Hillary 2.45
    OBAMA, Barack 2.95
    MCCAIN, John 5.25
    ROMNEY, Mitt 8.00
    GIULIANI, Rudolph 16.00
    BLOOMBERG, Michael 23.00
    HUCKABEE, Mike 51.00
    GORE, Al 71.00
    PAUL, Ron 81.00
    EDWARDS, John 101.00

    * if unscrutineered Diebold computers are left to count the votes in States with GOP governors, all bets are off.

  34. Most Accurate Student Mock Convention Predicts Clinton as Democratic Nominee

    I know the coffee bean poll got it wrong with Howard last year (yes!) but this is still interesting………
    LEXINGTON, Va., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — After two days of
    political events at Washington and Lee University, the 2008 Mock Convention
    selected Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic presidential
    nominee. The prediction marks the 100th anniversary of the most accurate
    student-run mock convention in the nation.

    Students at W&L, a historic liberal arts college, have picked the
    correct presidential nominee for the party out of power every time but once
    since 1948, and have a perfect record since 1972. Since its inception in
    1908, the overall record stands at 18 correct predictions out of 23.

    More than 90 percent of the student body is involved in running the
    convention. They spend over two years planning, researching and organizing
    the quadrennial event, which has consistently featured prominent political
    figures and received national media attention.

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