Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Clintons Capture Sin City

It was the Las Vegas strip that put the Clintons ahead.

With 85 percent of precincts reporting as of 2:17 p.m. EST Saturday afternoon, it appears that the Clintons will win Nevada by less than 600 votes.

Statewide, Barack Obama finished first in 11 counties and second in 6. The Clintons finished first in 6 counties and second in 11. Yet they managed to capture more of the Sin City vote, pulling ahead in Clark County. (Click here for Clark County demographic data.)

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Clinton captured about half of the white vote and two-thirds of the Hispanic vote. Obama walked with 80 percent of the black vote, a number that bodes well for next week's South Carolina primary.

The Review-Journal also reported that large numbers of the Culinary Workers Union went against the endorsement of their organization to cast votes for the Clintons who won that demographic 45 to 44 percent.

One must wonder how the Clinton campaign managed such a coup. Why would large numbers of union workers go against the recommendation of their union in a setting where their votes are made in plain view of their peers?

Ben Smith of offers a potential answer: A robo-call made to Barack Obama supporters that trashes the candidate, harping on his middle name. "You just can't take a chance on Barack Hussein Obama," the call said. While the call is not directly linked to the Clinton campaign, it does echo President Clinton's comments last week when he questioned whether American should "roll the dice" on Barack Obama. (Click here for the full audio of the robo-call.)

Looking forward, Nevada's delegates will be split roughly evenly between Clinton and Obama in this increasingly tight race. Moreover, Obama's landslide victory among black voters should resonate among South Carolina voters next week.

While the big picture will likely remain unclear until Super Tuesday on February 5th, one thing is clear: The Clintons have dedicated themselves to dragging Barack Obama through the mud on every turn, even if that means using his middle name to prey on the xenophobic fears of the average American voter. Reminds me of the fear-mongering politics of the Bush administration if you ask me.