19 January 2008

Clinton beats Obama in Nevada

Hillary Clinton will go into next Saturday's South Carolina primary with a westerly wind at her back.

When all is said and done, Clinton will take the Nevada caucuses by 5 or 6 points, taking about half the votes in a three man race.

Clinton will get about 50% and Barack Obama 45%.

So, Clinton heads to South Carolina with two wins to Obama's one. That makes her the frontrunner overall.

Or so says the media.

But I think that characterization needs to be questioned a bit.

A few weeks ago Clinton was a prohibitive favorite in Nevada.

Then came Iowa and the Obama bump that came with it.

Suddenly the Nevada race looked a lot closer and the results bear that out.

In addition, Clinton got one fewer delegate in Nevada than did Obama - 12 to 13. If you strip out all the so-called super delegates, Obama has 38 delegates and Clinton has 36 in the three states that have weighed in.

Whether or not Nevada makes Clinton the frontrunner - as the media insists it does - she is the underdog in South Carolina,
at least based on all the recent polls. Any momentum Clinton takes from Nevada may be checked with a loss in South Carolina.

On the other hand, the Nevada results provided the first test of the Democrats in a state with a diverse population.

Clinton did well among whites while Obama did well among African Americans. That's no surprise.

Perhaps the big news here is that Clinton took the Hispanic vote by a 2.5-or-3 to 1 margin.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the electorate. They are likely to be an important factor in a number of the big states that will hold primaries on Tsunami Tuesday.

If the preferences displayed by the Hispanic voters in Nevada carry over to other contests, that could be the biggest news to come out of today's results.

No comments: