Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Virginia Exit Polls and Pennyslvania

Midwest Progressive in comments earlier today asserted that Obama has to be the favorite in Pennsylvania. I disagreed as the Congressional districts in SW PA are dominated by beer track Democrats. Given the new information from the Virginia exit polls, I think that I am wrong.

Clinton's generic winning formula so far has to been to win the white vote by fifteen to twenty points against Obama, avoid being blown out like a Republican within the African American vote, and win the non-white, non-black groups by twenty to twenty five points. That is her generic success story.

The Virginia exit polls are showing that Obama has basically tied her in the white vote, and is treating Clinton as if she was a Republican in the African American vote, winning this group by a 90:10 margin. They are splitting the small Latino vote about even.

Furthermore, there are very few splits in the exit polls where Obama does significantly worse than his aggregate totals, so it seems that the Democratic Party in Virginia at the very least acted in an information cascading fashion and have begun to coalesce around him.

IF THESE RESULTS ARE GENERALIZABLE, Clinton is in serious trouble before she gets to Pennsylvania as her basic formula is under serious threat. Even assuming she makes it to Pennsylvania, I am re-evaluating my opinion of her probabilities of winning majorities in the three SW Pennsylvania Congressional Districts that I am most familiar with (PA-4, PA-14, PA-18).

Right now I would project that Barrack Obama would win PA-14 which encompasses Pittsburgh and its immediate eastern suburbs on the basis of a dominant win within the African American community as well as dominant wins within both the Dean/Clark/Peduto/Hans-Greco activist base as well as the tens of thousands of college students.

PA-18, in the South Hills is a split district with a slight current Clinton lean as there are more Reagan Democrats, and the one area of hope in tonight's numbers for Clinton was she won the Virginian foothills to the Appalachians. That area has significant commonality with significant portions of Washington and Westmoreland Counties. PA-4 to the north is another toss-up, but I think Obamaa can quickly capitalize on a unified progressive activist base while the powerful unions are split up north.

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