A little experiment: Reading the primary exit polls (as reported at CNN.com, but used by other networks as well, I believe) and seeing how they track against the results. As of this writing — 9:15 ET/6:15 PT — they’ve accurately forecast how the networks would call the races in two places where it looks sort of close, Delaware (Obama) and Massachusetts (Clinton). In two other states, New Jersey and Missouri, the exit polls shows a dead heat. In any case, here’s a series of messages I sent out to my friend Pete and brother John over the last 45 minutes as I went through a few of the exit polls:
For what it’s worth … not much, perhaps, but we’ll see … the broadcasters’ exit poll (the one that CNN, MSNBC and perhaps others are using) gave Clinton 48.96 percent and Obama 48.64 percent (the poll doesn’t report that number; I’m extrapolating from the male/female vote percentage). I’d say that’s the very definition of “too close to call” (though of course since the Democrats aren’t running a winner-take-all contest, all this tells you is that there’s likely to be a very close division of the available delegates.
Running the male/female exit poll numbers the same way I did for New Jersey, Missouri is another close one with Clinton holding a narrow edge: Clinton, 46.95, Obama, 45.45. Edwards took most of the rest; and there’s a category called “uncommitted” that 6 percent of the men voted in. …
Biden drew 10 percent of the men’s votes in Delaware.
One pattern that’s consistent state to state: women consistently make up more than half of Democratic voters; men consistently make up more than half of Republican voters. Clinton is winning among the women in every state I’ve looked at, and Obama is winning among the men.
Well, I note that the networks seem to have called Massachusetts based on the five-point spread, Clinton over Obama, so maybe there’s something to this. Here are the numbers for New York:
Is that a landslide? Not sure. If Obama winds up with 40 percent in New York and manages to get a chunk of the state’s delegates, that’s a good showing for him.