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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Magnolia Mugging

The results are in, mostly, and Obama won a pretty decisive victory in Mississippi yesterday. Even though I know that this one doesn't count, because it's a small state etc., it should be noted that both Hillary and Bill Clinton were in Mississippi in the last week, and the Clinton campaign was on the air in the state, at least on radio. Having spent four days last week in the greater Hattiesburg area, I was surprised at the amount of campaign activity that was apparent--and down there, it was largely the Clintons. Note that Hillay carried a number of the counties around Hattiesburg, although she lost "urban" Forrest County proper.

My guess at the time was that the Clinton campaign was simply trying to keep Mississippi close, to avoid getting blown out. Especially since there isn't anything (can that be true?) between Mississippi and Pennsylvania. But it doesn't look like that worked.

Btw, if you were watching MSNBC last night, you would have seen Chuck Todd (I think, it could have been David Gregory) draw a telestrator line across the state map at Jackson and describe the southern half of Mississippi as the more densely populated part. Now, I don't claim to be a Mississippi expert, but I know the highway between Jackson and Hattiesburg, and I've driven from Hattiesburg to Gulfport/Biloxi several times. If that's the "urban" part of the state . . . well, let me just say, northern Mississippi must be almost completely depopulated.


At 5:36 PM, Blogger Frances said...

So what's the big story coming out of the Mississippi primary? Racial polarization.

But the Mississippi results were not notably different from a LOT of other states. According to exit polls, Obama lost among white Democrats in Mississippi by the same 2:1 margin he lost among white Democrats in NJ, OH, LA, OK, and TN.

It's kind of unfortunate for Mississippi that suddenly racial polarization is the big story out of that state. Talk about an easy target! But this narrative is really more about journalists seeing a pattern where they're looking for it.

At 5:49 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

I thought Obama lost the white vote by closer to 3:1 (70-26 was the number I saw). That meshes pretty closely with the overall vote totals too, calculating a 50-50 black white turnout and a 90-10 black vote for Obama, though it seems to understate his vote by about 2 points.

So Obama did worse with whites than in GA, VA, and other southern states. Part of the explanation may be the Limbaugh effect. I only heard this today, but apparently Rush has been urging Dittoheads to cross over and vote HRC to keep the madness going. Her share of the GOP improved slightly in TX, OH, and then dramatically in MS.

At 2:42 PM, Blogger Frances said...

TMcD - Just to clarify, I was talking about Obama's share among white Democrats in Mississippi - b/c that's the only way to compare with states that didn't have open primaries. And Obama "only" lost 2:1 among white Mississippi Democrats, same as in many, many other states.

Weirdly enough, Mississippi Republicans (all white in MS, of course) voted 3:1 for HRC. Some people have suggested this is a "Rush Limbaugh" effect, given that he'd been advising his listeners to vote for HRC. Who knows?

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Frances said...

Just as a follow on to the above: I've seen estimates that 24% of HRC's total vote in Mississippi were from Republicans. The state was weird on that score, no doubt.

At 5:17 PM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

I just saw Josh Marshall's take on this at TPM, and he's got a nice spin: regardless of the Rush/GOP white vote, there should be nothing surprising about Obama's share of the white vote decreasing in the most racially polarized state in the country. Any variation is NOT change over time, it is "change over geography."

I'm not sure what to make of the Rush factor. We may not have enough data points yet.

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Frances said...

Yeah, but my point is that Josh Marshall is buying too much into Mississippi exceptionalism.

White Democrats in Mississippi aren't different in their preferences on Obama/HRC than NJ Democrats, TN Democrats, OK Democrats, LA Democrats, AL Democrats, and OH Democrats.

The state may be more racially polarized in its politics overall - no Republican blacks, nearly all whites being Republican. But looking w/in the Democratic party, Mississippi's white voters are simply not unusual.


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