Monday, January 28, 2008

Democratic voter turnout in South Carolina

One thing I really found most remarkable from the primary in South Carolina was the level of Democratic voter turnout. Here is Steve Benen's comment on it.
Consider this tidbit: Hillary Clinton was trounced by Barack Obama yesterday, but her vote total was almost identical to John McCain’s vote total in the Republican primary — and he won. This, in one of the most reliably right-wing states in the Union.
I have been looking for someone to publish a good post-election voter poll to tell me what the demographics of the vote were, but the turnout appears to result from a combination of voter objection to Republican policies, Barack Obama's personal charisma, the strong press coverage of the competition between Hillary and Obama, Black and liberal White turnout for the first ever serious African-American Presidential contender with a possibility to reach the White House, and Obama's very effective get-out-the-vote effort. Some decent specific poll numbers from a good exit poll would clarify which of those factors were significant and which were not. Overall, though, the high turnout looks like a strong indicator of complete voter rejection of the conservative movement.

Race, interestingly, does not appear to have been Obama's strongest draw. Here is Steve Benen's description of the race issue as it effected the Primary:
As for all the talk about race, there were some polls in the last few days showing Obama’s support dropping to just 10% of white South Carolinians. The reality proved to be far different — Obama over-performed among white voters, winning a clear majority of younger whites and tying Clinton among white men.
So obviously race was significant - how could it not be, in this nation so bedeviled by Racism for 400 years - but it was not the decisive factor. Besides the extremely high turnout in the Democratic primary, this is probably the best news South Carolina has given us.

Super Tuesday is going to give some really good figures that can be used to predict the November election, but Saturday's South Carolina Primary looks really good for the Democratic Party.

Totally off-topic, but I do wonder if Blogger's spell checker will ever start recognizing Obama's name and not flagging it as a possible misspelling. All it would take is adding "Barack" and "Obama" to the dictionary the computer uses.

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