Sunday, January 27, 2008

Thoughts on South Carolina's Democratic Primary

Despite carefully cultivated impressions that the South Carolina primary didn't matter to her, Hillary Clinton poured huge amounts of resources in cash and staff into the state. Last December, she led in the polls there by 20 points. She had intended to send the message that African Americans would vote for her in huge numbers.

Obviously, things didn't follow that plan.

Barack Obama is the first candidate to win a majority of votes in a primary – and in the first large primary – winning twice as many votes as Clinton.

Obama won every category of voter except over 65 voters and whites. Among whites, Obama polled 24%, setting another record. Among whites under 30, he won a majority of 52%.

He swept every county except two. He won every income category.

Media pundits described it as a "rout," a "sweep," a "smackdown," and various other adjectives to suggest a massive victory for Obama and an embarrassing defeat for Clinton.

Obama won 54% of the women's vote who turned out as 61% of the voters in South Carolina.

Voter turnout, the second biggest story of the night, was about 530,000, more than 75% higher than in 2004. Again the enthusiasm for the Democratic candidates is setting records.

This vote was a clear message to the candidates that the politics of division, especially by race, is intolerable and should be rejected.

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