So far, not so bad

Third-wave exits showing Clinton with about a four and a half point edge. If that’s right, it’s a very good result for Obama.

The third wave (final) exit polls show Clinton winning women 56-44 and Obama winning men 53-47. Women account for 58% of the turnout.

If that’s right, the totals would be Clinton 52.2 – Obama 47.8. Keeping Clinton’s edge under 5 points would count as a huge success for Obama. Obviously, not as good as a win, but plenty good enough. Whether that’s how it actually comes out remains to be seen.

But if, as has been reported, Obama’s strategy was to make Clinton spend money she didn’t have and still keep it close, David Plouffe might be entitled to say “Mission Accomplished.”

Even if the margin tonight is ten points instead of five, Obama’s delegate gains in North Carolina two weeks from now will more than compensate for Clinton’s pickup tonight. (Indiana looks to be roughly even.) After that (or perhaps starting tomorrow) we get the long-awaited superdelegate stampede.

Footnote Turnout in the black areas of Philadelphia was so-so. Obama’s refusal to pay “street money” seems to have cost him something.

Update Looks like four-and-a-half was overoptimistic. Ambinder projects a 7- or 8-point edge for Clinton, about in the middle of the range of expectations. Certainly nothing like the 15-point or 20-point blowout that seemed plausible as little as a month ago.

Second update Now it looks like somewhere between 9 and 10. About a 200,000 vote edge for Clinton. Delegate gain certainly under 20, probably smaller.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com