Tuesday, March 11, 2008

MS Dem Chair Wayne Dowdy Likely For Obama

Based on his comments, former Congressman and Chairman of the Mississippi Democratic Party will likely be voting for Barack Obama, and may well declare after Obama [presumably] wins the state.

Dowdy made the following comments:

Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Dowdy said he's not worried about Republicans voting in the Democratic primary. "We encourage everyone to participate in the Democratic primary," he said. Asked whether that conflicts with the Democrats' attempts to bar Republicans from voting in their primaries, Dowdy said it does not.

The lawsuit seeks to bar Republicans from voting to elect a "weaker" Democrat, he said. In today's primary, "there's no claim that independents or Republicans are voting for that reason," he said. Obama has attracted Republicans and independent voters in other states, Dowdy said.

"I hope that occurs (today) in Mississippi," said Dowdy, one of several superdelegates who is uncommitted.

DeSoto County Runs Out of Democratic Ballots

DeSoto County, MS has run out of Democratic ballots in some precincts and is low everywhere. It's not clear what this means even if turnout is particularly heavy, and the county officials didn't merely severely underestimate turnout.

While DeSoto County is one of the less heavily African-American counties in Mississippi (18.8% compared to 37.1% statewide), that doesn't necessarily mean that this unexpectedly heavy turnout means significantly more white voters (which would generally be perceived as helping Senator Clinton).

See, DeSoto County is suburban Memphis. And it has had a skyrocketing population. After hitting a high of 32,021 residents in 1870, it declined to 23,891 by 1960. Since then, though, it's grown heavily as people have fled Memphis for the suburbs, by about 50% every ten years.

From 2000-2006, the Census Bureau estimates DeSoto county gained about 37,000 residents, growing from 107,199 to 144,706, and one expects this growth has continued .

However, this most recent growth has differed. Most of the past growth was the white flight that's occurred around the country. However, starting from 1990-2000, African-Americans began fleeing the city as well. During this decade, the white population grew 33090 while the black population grew just 3541 (as well as about 1,000 residents of some "other race" [likely Latino]). While reducing the black percentage of the population from 12.8% to 11.8%, it likely marked the first significant growth in black population in generations.

Since 2000, however, black growth has skyrocketed, with more new black residents than white residents. As of 2006, the Census Bureau estimated DeSoto was 18.8% black; today, it may be 20% black.

If it's this growth that has accounted for the huge increase in Democratic ballots [and it's likely that it is], then this should help Obama out.

We'll see in a few hours, I guess.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Columbus Dispatch Poll Less Disturbing at First Glance

The Columbus Dispatch's recent poll looks very bad for Obama, as it has Hillary Clinton winning 56-40, which, when combined with the so-called Bradley effect, would be giving her more than the margin she needs to actually win more pledged delegates.

But a closer look at the poll makes things look far better for Barack Obama.

First of all, they only poll registered Democrats, when Independents are allowed to vote as well (and since the GOP contest is done, will be voting far more heavily in the Democratic primary; Obama tends to do far better among Independent voters).

Second of all, the crosstabs for the registered Democrats seem to be underemphasizing Obama's strong demographics.

First of all, they expect the black percentage of the vote among registered Democrats to be only 12%, the same as the black percentage in the overall population, in a state where, thanks to the Democratic efforts in 2004 (and 2006, to a lesser extent), black voters are far more likely to be registered to vote than they would be in many other states because Democrat, with effectiveness, as the 2004 Ohio loss was due to factors other than failure to get out the African-American vote (although there almost certainly was some disenfrancisement with the moving of the voting machines out of urban precincts and various other tactics, this didn't come into play in terms of voters being registered in most cases, so AA voters are being called by the campaigns).

Second of all, Ohio has one of the most liberal voting laws for those who've committed felonies, second only to Maine and Vermont (who allow even those in prison to vote), allowing anybody not actually in prison/jail to vote, so that only 2.64% of African-American voters are disenfranchised (African-Americans are far more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and convicted of a felony for similar drug-related crimes than whites; this is the major difference).

Moreover, their numbers involve rather laughable age estimates (they expect 18-24 year olds to be 1% of turnout and voters under 35 to be 7% of turnout, and voters under 45 to be 17% of turnout).

The Wisconsin exit polls had 9% 18-24, and 38% under 45.