In a campaign season that has seemed to go on forever, Super Tuesday, the nickname given the day when there are a full two dozen primaries throughout the United States, has been long looked at as the day when American voters would see a clear-cut front-runner for the nomination for president in each political party. But then the polls showed a tightening of the races — in both parties — in California, New York, Massachusetts, and nationwide. Going into Super Tuesday, nothing was certain.
As results began to come in for the Republicans, CNNPolitics.com found that in 15 states former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee were running almost even, vying for the “conservative” voters. In those same states, less than 49% of those who voted for Arizona senator John McCain described themselves as “conservative.” Each candidate has claimed that they are the “true” conservative Republican.
On the Democratic side, numbers were running nearly even for both the senators from Illinois and New York among those who have made their decisions within the last three days (Obama actually led by a percentage point — 47% – 46%). The same percentage point divided all Democratic voters polled when asked if they’d be satisfied with either candidate as a nominee (Clinton edged Obama 72% — 71%). The message of “change” that Senator Barack Obama has used throughout his campaign seems to be the overriding reason for his supporters to vote for him (74%). Among Clinton supporters, “experience” was the key factor in their choice (45%).
According to The Huffington Post, 15 states showed Clinton in the lead, none for Obama (at 6:30 EST). However, by 7:00 p.m. Obama was declared the winner in Georgia (CNN). As for the Republicans, McCain had barely taken California, but had overwhelmingly defeated Romney in New York and New Jersey. Those numbers were reversed in Romney’s favor, though, in Massachusetts.
According to the Associated Press, Senator Obama was pulling 8 out 10 black voters while Clinton was getting 6 out of 10 hispanic votes. Republican voters tended to believe that the economy was in better shape than their Democratic counterparts. Still, the economy was the primary concern of both Democrats and Republicans.
One in 10 of all the voters, Republican and Democrats, decided who to vote for on Super Tuesday.
What does all this mean for the coming primaries? If the current trends hold, because there are a great many absentee ballots outstanding in many of the races, Clinton may have won most of the races but only gained a few more delegates than Obama, forcing the issue of a clear winner upon the remaining primaries and caucuses.
McCain and Romney may also have to wait just as long for a decision, depending upon who wins where and by how many votes. Super Tuesday may just make things just a little closer or the results may make the remaining states that much more important. It does look, however, as if Super Tuesday will not be the decisive voting day that it was envisaged just a month ago.
“Exit Polls: Romney, Huckabee split conservative vote,” CNNPolitics.com
“Super Tuesday Exit Polls: An Initial Peek,” HuffingtonPost.com
“Early Feb. 5 Exit Poll Highlights,” Associated Press