Larger than expected win in Ohio for Clinton, although smaller than was expected a few weeks ago. Women came out for Clinton in both states.
Texas was as tight as the polls suggested, and Clinton pulled out the popular vote. Full caucus results won’t be in for another several days, but it looks like Obama predictably won that round fairly handily. The result is Obama won Texas pledged delegate-wise.
Here’s a take from Sullivan:
From Kos’s counting, the night barely changes anything in the delegate math. Clinton wins Ohio 73 – 68 and Rhode Island 12 to 8. Obama wins Vermont 9 to 6 and wins Texas by 99 to 94 (because his narrow loss in the primaries is offset by a lop-sided win in the caucuses). These numbers may change a little as full caucus results come in, but not by much. Once all the dust has cleared, Obama’s delegate lead remains. RCPhas it at 1542 for Obama and 1447 for Clinton.
I see no reason why this race shouldn’t continue, and that it shouldn’t continue all the way. As a journalist, this is good news. It’s certainly great copy, as they say on Fleet Street. But I see no way that the Clintons can actually win it without re-opening Michigan and Florida, and shifting the super-delegates by super-human amounts. The result will probably be a slow, Limbaugh-friendly trashing of Obama – because Clinton has only gained traction by attacking him, or raising fears about him, rather than by a positive campaign for herself.
There’s also some polling evidence that Rush Limbaugh’s exhortion for GOPers to cross over and vote for Clinton worked in Texas.
From the linked Hit & Run post:
In the days running up to these last primaries, Rush Limbaugh told his national audience of conservatives to vote in the Democratic race.
I want Hillary to stay in this, Laura. This is too good a soap opera. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically, and it’s obvious that the Republicans are not going to do it and don’t have the stomach for it, as you probably know. We’re getting all kinds of memos from the RNC, saying we’re not going to be critical there. Mark McKinnon of McCain’s campaign says he’ll quit if they get critical over Obama. This is the presidency of the United States we’re talking about. I want our party to win. I want the Democrats to lose. They’re in the midst of tearing themselves apart right now. It is fascinating to watch, and it’s all going to stop if Hillary loses. So, yeah, I’m asking people to cross over and, if they can stomach it — I know it’s a difficult thing to do, to vote for a Clinton, but it will sustain this soap opera, and it’s something I think we need. It would be fun, too.
It turned into a pretty hot meme in Texas, and on Monday, while Rush was out, guest host Mark Davis scored an interview with Bill Clinton. Did it work?
It’s a similar story in Texas, where Limbaugh has the most listeners of any of these states. Obama won the Republican vote 52-47, but conservatives (22 percent of all voters, up from 15 percent in the Kerry-Edwards primary) went against Obama. For the first time since Super Tuesday, they were Clinton’s best ideological group: She won them 53-43. And Clinton won 13 percent of the people who said Obama was the most electable candidate.
Ohio didn’t wind up being very close, but Clinton won the Texas primary by about 98,000 votes out of 2.8 million cast. If the exits are right, about 252,000 of those voters were Republicans, and about 618,000 were conservatives. Clinton truly might have won the Texas primary on the backs of Rush Limbaugh listeners.
Even with all the furious spin going on right now, and after Clinton’s best night in a month, her chances of winning the nomination are small. I’ve read this week Obama will announce February fundraising north of $50 million (as compared to Clinton’s already announced $35 million) and possibly a bloc of 50 superdelegate endorsements.
Marc Ambinder goes over the nomination math, and Clinton’s long, long odds, at theAtlantic.com’s new feature, The Current:
Tonight’s primaries in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island, and Vermont will settle nothing. It’s already decided.
Barack Obama’s still-likely nomination owes a debt to John Rawls: the inequalities built into the Democratic delegate selection system benefit the little states and history’s most aggrieved figure — the liberal activist. Let’s say Hillary Clinton romps to victory in Ohio and Texas and Rhode Island. Tens of thousands of extra voters. At most, a few extra delegates. But a win is a win, right? Twenty-four … okay, forty-eight hours later, when the afterglow has faded and the Hill raisers are on vacation, Clinton delegate guru Harold Ickes will sit down at his desk, scratch his chest through the open folds of his shirt, and have the same problem he has right now: Barack Obama’s earned delegate lead is virtually insurmountable.
There are a variety of delegate calculation spreadsheets floating around, and I’ve plugged numbers in all of them, using the red-rosiest scenarios I could contemplate for Clinton. Under a fairly neutral scenario, she needs about 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates to catch Obama, assuming she takes half the remaining superdelegates. (A generous assumption, given that his rate of superdelegate acquisition is about four to one right now.) To get 55 percent of the remaining pledged delegates, she needs to win about 72 percent of the popular vote in most of the rest of the 18 or so states that haven’t voted. Clinton has won, in truth, nearly as many actual votes as Obama, and most of the biggest states. If merit governed the delegate selection process, Clinton would have an equal claim to the nomination. But merit, in this process, is a lower order principle.