Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
It's 7 pm EST and polls just closed in Virginia. CNN took about one second to call the race for Obama. That means the exit polls must show a real blowout. On the Republican side, CNN says Huckabee and McCain are in a tight race. I'll go look for some exit polls while we wait one hour for polls to close in D.C. and Maryland.
Okay, CNN exit poll numbers for Virginia Democrats. African-American voters went 90-10 for Obama, in a margin that is getting bigger and bigger. White voters went 51-48 for Clinton, in a margin that is getting smaller and smaller. And women went 58-42 for Obama, in a shocking result. (To break that down a little further, Obama won white men by 12 while Clinton won white women by 16. Obama won both black women and men by huge margins.)
More numbers for Virginia Dems. (If Maryland or D.C. is markedly different from these numbers, I'll let you know.) Obama won the over-$50,000 crowd by 63-37 and won the under-$50,000 crowd 59-40. He won the Social Security crowd by six points. These numbers drive an even bigger spike into the "50-50" theory about Clinton voters.
One of the reasons why McCain is struggling: Virginia is an open primary, meaning people of any party affiliation can vote in either race. The Democratic turnout was large today (certainly larger than the Republican turnout) and about 30 percent of the voters in the Democratic race were independents and Republicans. They went heavily for Obama. Those are potential McCain voters.
For the record, McCain won moderates in the Virginia Republican primary by a whopping margin of 34 points. Huckabee won conservatives in the primary by 23 points. The problem for McCain is that there were far more conservatives voting today.