Skip to content

What To Watch For When Polls Close (And My Pennsylvania Primary Prediction)

April 22, 2008

Like many others around the nation, our living room will be abuzz with friends and neighbors tonight for another election night watch party as the Pennsylvania polls close on a long six-week campaign between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  And since some have asked, my prediction is Hillary Clinton by 4%. 

But what will we be looking for when the polls close, and what will the early signs be for either a good or bad night for the candidates?  Politico, as usual, provides insight.

Check for turnout at 1 p.m. By this point Tuesday, the campaigns should have a good sense of what kind of outcome to expect. They will look first to Philadelphia, where a crush of voters early in the day will bode well for Obama and badly for Clinton since it will signal that he could win the big margin he needs to take out of the city.

Plus, African Americans tend to go to the polls later in the day in Philadelphia, according to a city-based Democratic strategist, which means Obama can expect a late surge from voters who support him in disproportionately high numbers.

###

The cities and suburbs usually report their returns first, which gives the candidate favored in those areas a quick – and sometimes fleeting – lead. The conservative-leaning small towns through the center of the state usually filter in much later in the evening.  So Obama could show a lead in the early results, but it might be short-lived. If Clinton is ahead at the start, she may never lose it.

###

For weeks, the campaigns have been trying to convince a stubborn group of undecided voters – an average of nine percent in polls released Monday – to make up their minds.

Voters who decide late usually go with the candidate who represents something new, potentially giving the edge to Obama. But in this Democratic primary season, voters who have decided in the last three days have more often broken in Clinton’s favor.   Obama and Clinton each invested significant time in recent days in Central Pennsylvania, where polls have found a slightly larger pool of undecided voters than other regions.

###

Across the state, in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, Obama will need to stay within about five percentage points of Clinton to sustain his chances for a win.

In order for Clinton to win a decisive victory of 10 points or more, she needs to win two-thirds of the votes in a group of eight industrial-oriented counties, each of which has 55,000 or more registered Democrats. Those counties are Lackawanna (Scranton) and Luzerne (Wilkes-Barre) in the Northeast, Erie in the Northwest, Cambria County (Johnstown), and the Pittsburgh-area counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Beaver, and Washington.

In south central Pennsylvania, which got lots of attention from both candidates, Lancaster and Adams counties will provide a glimpse into Obama’s popularity with newly-registered Democrats. Though these areas have traditionally elected Republicans, they’ve experienced significant growth as affluent residents have moved in from Baltimore, D.C. and southeastern Pennsylvania.

Technorati Tags: , , , , ,
 

 

One Comment
  1. loomisnews permalink
    April 22, 2008 11:43 AM

    What to really watch for:

    PA prediction for the “Change Election”

    & How Hillary Can Still Win the Nomination

    but be afraid… be very afraid

    Clinton as Dr. Strangelove

    http://loomisnews.wordpress.com/

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: