Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What's Left

A couple of thoughts as I continue to observe the results from the (Republican) Alaska caucus and the (Democratic) New Mexico primary.

1) The Republicans really are fragmented aren't they? Huckabee dominated the south. Romney owned the upper-midwest and rockies. And McCain took the border and blue states. McCain has claimed the front-runner mantle, and deservedly so, but there is a lot of fissure in the party, and it ain't going away soon.

2) Throughout the race, pundits have been way too quick to dismiss Mike Huckabee. They did it after his great display in the Iowa Straw Poll, they did it after he won Iowa outright. And he's again showing the pundits up with a good display tonight. Huckabee's wins in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and West Virginia are hardly anything to sniff at. Moreover, he came within one percent of toppling John McCain in the treasure trove of Missouri. You have to think that, had there not been a steady drumbeat of "he's a nobody, he can't win", he could have pushed himself over the top in the Show Me state, and arguably have been the real winner of Super Tuesday.

3) Meanwhile, where Republicans are beset by regional divisions, Democrats are showing the breadth of their appeal. This isn't to say the neither has a base: Clinton runs very strong in the North East, and Obama rules the plains and rocky mountains. But Obama squeaked out a win in Connecticut, and Clinton took Tennessee and Oklahoma in what would apparently be Obama territory. Right now, they're dueling very close in Missouri and New Mexico. Both have strong appeal nation-wide, and that's good to see.

4) Matt Yglesias notes something in the California exit polls that's at least a little strange: Obama is going to lose that state while winning both Black and White voters. The problem is that Clinton is winning handily amongst Latinos and Asians. Only in California, perhaps, but as Matt says, "Time was winning whites and winning blacks was by definition the same thing as winning."

5) And finally, for those of you still paying attention, Mitt Romney is handily ahead in Alaska with 44% of the vote (75% caucus). Huckabee is second with 22%, followed closely by Ron Paul and then John McCain. Meanwhile, in New Mexico, less than 1,000 votes separates Obama and Clinton with 38% counted. Obama is carrying a narrow lead.


Jack said...

It's not that Romney is particularly appealing to the upper-midwest and mountain regions. Rather, Romney does well in caucus states which skew to that region.

PG said...

No offense intended to the writer and readers of this blog, but I wonder if the fissure isn't specifically among white male voters in general, in both parties. They are the block that's most equally divided between Obama and Clinton, with white male Southerners in particular going for Clinton even in states that were otherwise carried by Obama, and with Obama's strength in the states Clinton won (like NY and Cali) being much among white males.

And then the GOP is dominated by white males. From what I understand, Republican women are voting quite strongly for Huckabee, but their men are more divided.