***LAST UPDATED MARCH 11***
Obama Wins Mississippi Primary: The AP reports on Obama's victory:
Barack Obama coasted to victory in Mississippi's Democratic primary Tuesday, latest in a string of racially polarized presidential contests across the Deep South and a final tune-up before next month's high-stakes race with Hillary Rodham Clinton in Pennsylvania.
Obama was winning roughly 90 percent of the black vote but only about one-quarter of the white vote, extending a pattern that carried him to victory in earlier primaries in South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana.
He picked up at least six Mississippi delegates to the Democratic National Convention, with 27 more to be awarded. He hoped for a win sizable enough to erase most if not all of Clinton's 11-delegate gain from last week, when she won three primaries.
Clinton Voters Against Obama As VP: CNN reports that a majority of Clinton's voters are unenthusiastic about a Clinton/Obama ticket:
According to exit polls, 60 percent of Clinton voters say the New York senator should not make Obama her running mate, while only 34 percent say she should.
Obama supporters appear to be more welcoming of Clinton as Obama's vice president. If Obama wins the party's nomination, 64 percent of his supporters say he should make a similar offer to Clinton.
Mississippi Primary Polarized By Race: From the AP exit polls:
In the Democratic race, Mississippi voters were strongly polarized by race, even more than in most other states that voted this year. Seven in 10 whites voted for Clinton, while 9 in 10 blacks voted for Obama. Clinton won among both white women, a group she normally carries, and white men, a key swing group in this campaign. Clinton's margin among whites is about even with her largest margin among the group to date, which was in neighboring Alabama. Obama's margin among blacks was his second best showing with the group, after his home state of Illinois. About half of the voters in the Democratic primary were black.
One in four whites said race was important to their votes, and nearly all of them voted for Clinton. Four in 10 blacks said race was important to their votes and nearly all of them voted for Obama.
What To Watch For In Today's Results: Andrew Romano at Newsweek argues that although Mississippi is Obama's to lose (according to recent polls), there are three important things to watch coming out of today's primary:
1) The Delegate Count: As we've repeated ad nauseum, Obama's case for the nomination at this point is all about math: I am winning by 100-plus delegates, he says. No matter what happens in the upcoming contests, I will still be ahead in the delegate count by the end of regulation. If things go as planned today, his campaign could emerge with a new arithmetical talking point. On March 4, Hillary Clinton won the primaries in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, giving her a ton of narrative momentum--"Comeback Kid," anyone?--but only a tiny net gain in delegates. Ohio awarded her nine more delegates than Obama, but his victories in Vermont and the Texas caucuses canceled out her primary wins in Rhode Island and the Lone State State. With two delegates from Saturday's Wyoming win, that means Obama has a chance to completely erase Clinton's March 4 advances today. According to Slate's Delegate Calculator, a 20-point win net him the seven delegates needed to do the trick--which is exactly what the polls are predicting. So keep an eye on that margin. Of course, a nifty mathematical "triumph" won't trump Clinton's comeback storyline, or shift the spotlight off of Pennsylvania. But it's definitely the factoid that Team Obama is hoping to feed the talking heads tonight....
Ad: Hillary's The New Comeback Kid: Hillary's radio ad plays up her newfound underdog status:
"They said she couldn't do it. They counted her out. But Hillary Clinton fought back. And she won big," the announcer says. "Maybe that's why Barack Obama is running false attack ads against her now. But Hillary thinks Mississippians deserve the truth about what she's done and what she'll do."
Rasmussen Poll: Obama Leads By 14: Obama leads in this weekend's Rasmussen poll that shows a racially polarized primary:
While most of the political world is focused on the Pennsylvania Primary scheduled for April 22 or the Democrats' delegate dilemma, Mississippi is hosting a Primary of its own this coming Tuesday. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the state shows Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton by fourteen percentage points in the state. It's Obama 53% Clinton 39%.
Clinton leads among senior citizens but trails among younger voters. But, it is the racial divide that defines the campaign in Mississippi--Obama leads 80% to 12% among African-American voters while Clinton holds a 47% advantage among White voters.
Previewing Mississippi: With one day to go before the caucus, several papers are giving a rundown of what the primary means, both tomorrow and for the larger state of the race.
The Wall Street Journal says that Mississippi is Obama's to lose. And with the highest Democratic enthusiasm since 1976, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger wonders if Mississippi might not become a blue state this year.
The Los Angeles Times suggests that Hillary's pugnacious treatment of Obama, which helped carry her to victory in Texas and Ohio, might undermine her support within the African-American community in a general election. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Enquirer suggests that Obama's support among blacks might be driving some working-class whites to Hillary's camp.
Bill Clinton: We Got Started Late: Bill Clinton sought to manage expectations in the Mississippi primary on Tuesday, telling reporters that the campaign "got started late-we started behind organizationally" in Mississippi:
Insider Advantage Poll: Hillary Better Than Expected: Although another poll shows Obama with a solid lead, some signs point to a better Hillary performance than expected, particularly because of Republicans hoping to stretch the Democratic race along:
This should be a very safe race for Obama. Past primaries in the South show him attracting most of the African-American vote, and that vote is hugely significant in a Mississippi Democratic primary. While there remains a relatively high percentage of undecided black voters in our survey, this is typical in southern races at this stage. That number will dwindle as Election Day draws near.
"There is some good news for Clinton in this survey. First, she is winning independent voters. Second, we have heard rumors that Republicans voters might engage in the primary in higher than normal numbers, so that they can vote for Clinton, and thus keep the Democratic battle going. There is some evidence that this trend might be developing.
ARG Poll: Obama With Huge Lead: American Research Group has Barack Obama with a phenomenal lead in its first poll of the primary landscape:
Barack Obama 58%
Hillary Clinton 34%
Obama Wants Clinton To Explain Mississippi Comments: The Obama camp is reminding Mississippians of some unfriendly words from Sen. Clinton about their state this past fall:
In October, Clinton told the Des Moines Register newspaper that "I was shocked when I learned Iowa and Mississippi have never elected a woman governor, senator or member of Congress. There has got to be something at work here...when you look at the numbers, how can Iowa be ranked with Mississippi? That's not what I see. That's not the quality. That's not the communitarianism. That's not the openness I see in Iowa."
Clinton Arrives In Mississippi: Sen. Clinton is heading to Mississippi for the primary next Tuesday:
Clinton, who represents New York, accepted an invitation to speak at the state Democratic Party's Jefferson Jackson Hamer Day Dinner tonight. It begins at 7:30 in the Canton Multipurpose and Equine Center. Tickets are $125 each.
Obama did not accept the same invitation. Obama, who represents Illinois, mingled with supporters at Peaches Cafe in downtown Jackson last year before attending a fundraiser in the city.
Clinton's first campaign stop in Mississippi will be followed by a visit from her husband, former President Clinton. He is scheduled to attend events in Hattiesburg, Meridian and Tupelo on Friday.