Monday, May 05, 2008

Obama will Smash Clinton on Tuesday in NC but Lose in Indiana

Regarding the NC prediction, from the Weekly Standard:

North Carolina reports some demographic statistics on its early voting results, and American University political scientist Brain Schaffner has posted several short and interesting breakdowns over the past week, including the latest numbers from this weekend. Read his latest analysis here.

A few notable points. Almost 400,000 North Carolinians (398,635) had voted as of this past Saturday in the Democratic primary. That means about 13% of registered voters in the state already have cast their ballots. By way of comparison, John Kerry received about 1.5 million total votes in the general election in 2004. It looks like the 2008 primary could generate somewhere between 1.5-2 million votes by the time the polls close tomorrow. If that number is correct, Schaffner notes, 20%-25% of voters already have cast their ballots.

Of those who have already voted, 61% are women and 39% are men. Also, 57% of the early voters are white and 40% are black. The racial breakdown is significant because most pollsters assume about 30% of Democratic primary voters will be black. If the percent at the end of the day is closer to 40%--given the margins Obama runs up among African American voters--that’s very good news for the Illinois Senator and suggests a larger margin of victory than predicted by most polls. When the exit polls come out tomorrow night, watch for that number. If the black vote ends up being closer to 40%, the pre-election polls might be underestimating his performance.

Schaffner’s back of the envelope analysis points to an Obama win. He breaks it down this way:

If we assume that Obama wins 85% of the African-American vote, just 30% of white women and 40% of white men and then we split the remaining 6% of the early voters (those in the "other" category) evenly between Obama and Clinton, then Obama is currently leading Clinton among early voters by a margin of 56-44%. In terms of raw numbers, that would give Obama a lead of somewhere close to 50k votes. And this estimate is probably slightly on the conservative side since Obama could very well win 90% or more of the black vote and could do a bit better among white men and women (indeed, reader "x curmudgeon" notes that surveys show early voters going 63-31% in favor of Obama).

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