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Instant Analysis: Reasons Why Clinton Won

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 10:19 PM EST

MSNBC has just called New Hampshire for Hillary Clinton. Thinking out loud on why the polls were so, so wrong. Ideas welcome in the comments.

(1) Independents, who could vote in either the Democratic or Republican race, assumed that Obama had it wrapped up and turned to McCain in order to push him over the top.

(2) The voters in New Hampshire resented the picture the media was painting: Obama is king and New Hampshire is declaring the Clinton hegemony over American politics finished. Wait just a second, said the voters. Let's keep this debate going.

(3) Clinton cried. Edwards slammed her for it. The media questioned if she showed too much weakness, intimating that a woman couldn't cry and be taken seriously for high office. Women, who turned out hugely for Clinton in this race, turned to Clinton in the last few days. I actually think Obama got the same percentage of women as he did in Iowa, meaning a large number of women voters who went for Edwards in Iowa turned to Clinton.

(4) Edwards and Obama teamed up on her in the Democratic debate Saturday night. Voters, particularly those women who I just mentioned, didn't like that. Motivations in (3) and (4) are tied together, obviously.

(4) The strategy of answering questions showed voters the depth of her knowledge.

(5) There is a well-known effect that hits black politicians. They tend to do better in polling than they do when voters actually head into private polling booths. You can guess why. This effect doesn't occur in a caucus, because participating in a caucus requires voters to stand up for who they want in a public setting. There is social pressure. (I can't for the life of me remember the name of this effect. Anyone want to remind me in the comments?)

(6) All of the above.

I'm going with (6). And by the way, all this was incredibly premature.

A big victory for Clinton tonight. Nevada is up next. The political powerhouse in Nevada, UNITE-HERE Culinary Workers Union Local 226, was set to endorse Obama tomorrow, which many believed would basically hand him the state's primary on January 19th. Now we'll have to wait to see what happens.

Update: Thanks to our readers who IDed (6) as the Wilder/Bradley effect. Here's evidence that was not in play.

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Updated Numbers: Clinton Has 4 Point Lead

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 8:49 PM EST

The TV pundits, staring at Barack Obama's double digit lead in the polls, spent all day burying Hillary Clinton. Chris Matthews basically asked every guest he had if it was time for Clinton to drop out. And now, they're backtracking their fake-tanned butts off. With roughly a fifth of the vote in:

DEMOCRATS
Hillary Rodham Clinton 39.7%
Barack Obama 35.7%
John Edwards 16.8%
Bill Richardson 4.5%
Dennis J. Kucinich 1.7%

REPUBLICANS
John McCain 37.3%
Mitt Romney 27.9%
Mike Huckabee 12.2%
Rudolph W. Giuliani 9.2%
Ron Paul 8.6%
Others 2.8%
Fred D. Thompson 1.4%
Duncan Hunter 0.6%

We don't know what the final results will be, and either Obama or Clinton could win, but either way... we should probably get ready for "comeback kid" to become the word of the young year.

Did the Clinton folks see this coming? Was it a massive, well-orchestrated head fake? That's wild speculation, I know. But, man, that would be impressive, wouldn't it?

Update: With 42 percent reporting, Clinton 38.9% vs. Obama 36.6% vs. Edwards 16.6%.

Update: Dartmouth is in Grafton County. It has not reported. UNH is in Strafford County. It has also not reported. I'm scrambling to research more now.

Last update: Obama, the Dems' second place finisher, topped McCain, the GOP's winner, by a substantial margin. Yet another sign of the Democrats' future returns.

Watching the Primary: Stone Temple Romney?

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 8:35 PM EST

mojo-photo-str.jpgCNN just went live to Romney headquarters in New Hampshire where everybody is looking pretty morose since McCain has just been projected as the winner. But to keep everybody feeling good, they've got some entertainment on stage: a guy playing acoustic guitar, singing a little tune for the assembled Romney supporters. What's he singing? Hey, it's Stone Temple Pilots' "Plush"! Could there perhaps be a somewhat ironic couplet in that tune as regards the Romney campaign?

Where ya going for tomorrow?
Where ya going with that mask I found?

The "mask" thing is a bit of a stretch, maybe you can think of it in terms of a flip-floppy, "who's-the-real-Romney" kind of thing? Anyway, one wonders what the audience thought of the next few lines:

And I feel, and I feel
When the dogs begin to smell her
Will she smell alone?

Video for the original song after the jump, for no reason.

As McCain Wins, a Look at Exit Polling

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 8:08 PM EST

So the Republican race has been called for McCain, according to the networks.

Let's look at some exit polling. The Democratic voters in New Hampshire today were 51% registered Democrats, 42% registered Independents. Barack Obama took 43% of the Independents, and Hillary Clinton took 34%. Amongst registered Democrats, those numbers are exactly reversed. (John Edwards takes 16% on each.)

Voters under 30 were 17% of Democratic voters. Voters 50 and older were 46% of voters. The greybeards favor Clinton. Generally speaking, Obama won voters under 40 and Clinton won voters over 40. John Edwards did not do well with either.

62% of Democrats said they are "angry" with the Bush Administration. An additional 30% said they are "dissatisfied, but not angry." 7% said they are "satisfied" with or "enthusiastic" about the Bush Administration. Who, exactly, are those 7%?

86% characterized the economy as "not so good" or "poor." 38% identified the economy as the most important issues in the election. 31% said the war in Iraq, and 27% said health care. I'll bet those priorities are different for GOP voters.

37% said that if Bill Clinton were eligible for a 3rd term, they would vote for him. That includes 57% of all Hillary supporters.

After the jump, the Republican voters....

Taking a Look at Some Early NH Returns...

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 7:55 PM EST

Your early numbers, as polls close here in New Hampshire:

REPUBLICANS
John McCain 37.3%
Mitt Romney 27.9%
Mike Huckabee 11.9%
Rudolph W. Giuliani 8.9%
Ron Paul 8.4%
Fred D. Thompson 1.5%

DEMOCRATS
Hillary Rodham Clinton 37.6%
Barack Obama 36.4%
John Edwards 16.6%
Bill Richardson 4.3%
Dennis J. Kucinich 2.0%

We've had thoughts on the race here, here, here, and here. Everyone and their mother is saying this going to be an Obama victory on the Democratic side—the only question is how large that victory will be. If it's 5-6 percent, Clinton and her camp will probably spin that as a moral victory. We may actually hear the "comeback kid" line again. If it's over 10%, no amount of spin will be able to slow the media's "blowout" narrative.

We'll keep you posted here at MoJoBlog. Also, an analysis of some exit polling to come.

Update: MSNBC has called the Republican race, with just 12 percent of the votes in, for John McCain. "Mac is back!" cheers explode through the McCain rally venue.

Artist Drives Mass Consumption Home

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 6:31 PM EST

handguns.jpg

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Chris Jordan's photo illustrations are worth 200,000 cigarette packs, 170,000 disposable batteries, eight million toothpicks, two million plastic beverage bottles, and 426,000 discarded cell phones. (Not that you can tell from the tiny reproduction, but the image accompanying this item contains 29,569 handguns.) In his humbling exhibit titled "Running the Numbers, An American Self-Portrait" the accomplished Seattle-based artist uses these subjects and others to depict our consumer culture's troubling stats. The smoke-packs illustrate the number of Americans that die every six months from smoking-related illnesses; the batteries represent fifteen minutes worth of Energizer's product output; the toothpicks show the number of trees harvested annually to create mail-order catalogs. You get the picture. So rather than blather on for another thousand words about these fascinating images, perhaps I'd better just send you to look at them.

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Is Ron Paul a Bigot?

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 5:37 PM EST

James Kirchick has the Paulites in a fuss. The onetime Marty Peretz assistant (and, some say, political doppelganger) is now a newly-minted TNR assistant editor, and his latest effort is a revealing investigation into Ron Paul's past.

Rumors of Clinton Demise Abound; Let's Take a Deep Breath

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 5:30 PM EST

The Hillary Clinton campaign may be at its nadir. It is reportedly running low on cash, considering skipping the Nevada and South Carolina caucuses because of anticipated losses, and weighing the idea of mixing up its staff at the top level. And on the campaign trail, it seems rudderless and lacking in message. Harold Meyerson spent time with the campaign here in New Hampshire and wrote that it is missing "a theme, an emphasis, a sorting of priorities, a touch of context, some urgency, a larger raison d'etre, a grand -- dare we say, presidential -- purpose."

Anyone who looked all the "inevitable" talk/spin/mythology in the face six months ago and called it phony is unbelievably prescient. But don't count Clinton out. She has a team of politics' best people, and she personally has more grit and resilience than perhaps any other public figure in America. People said McCain was toast last summer, and he will likely cruise to a victory today.

Hillary Clinton might be a better underdog than any of us know. Barack Obama might be a worse frontrunner than any of us know. And Republicans, knowing that Clinton is more polarizing than Obama and thus an easier opponent in the general, might weigh in with a dirty trick to derail Obama.

Update: It doesn't help that Bill Clinton is lashing out in ways that don't seem to be helping.

Stewart and Colbert Return Without the Prompter

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 4:59 PM EST

mojo-photo-stewcolb2.jpg

As the writers' strike continues, Comedy Central stalwarts Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's returns to the screen without their scribes last night were highly anticipated. Would they be able to talk, or would they just stare wide-eyed at the screen and stammer helplessly for 30 minutes? Well, both shows were entertaining (if slightly off) and definitely strike-focused, which in the current moment of political frenzy seemed kind of weird.

Patagonia Deconstructs Your Clothes

| Tue Jan. 8, 2008 4:34 PM EST

gen2_footprint_site_2.jpg

Okay, I already covet their gear more than is morally good for me. Now Patagonia has launched a cool interactive website called The Footprint Chronicles. At the moment it's more evolving prototype than matured design. Still, it enables you to follow the environmental footprint of a handful of their products. "The impact of an unexamined life is far more serious than it once was—deadly so," says Patagonia, turning their own practices inside out and letting us pick at the seams. Their long-sleeved Wool 2 Crew shirt, for instance, is both environmentally good and bad: good comes from sustainably ranched sheep in New Zealand, dyed without heavy metals, sewn in the US; bad comes from a 16,200-mile-long footprint between New Zealand and Los Angeles via Malaysia and Japan. Not sustainable.

The site is designed to "ignite conversation every bit as much as corporate introspection," and encourages viewer feedback & discussion. "We've been in business long enough to know that when we can reduce or eliminate a harm, other businesses will be eager to follow suit," says Patagonia… Let's hope so.

Julia Whitty is Mother Jones' environmental correspondent. You can read from her new book, The Fragile Edge, and other writings, here.