( - promoted by Chris Bowers)
So I've had a few interesting conversations with local politicos here, and I'm getting something of a fuller picture. The Clinton operation, which I blogged about over the past few days as low energy, didn't really have much national support. Obama's people had been organizing and cleaning lists since August, building an organization with real leadership and a genuine organizing base. I hear they had something on the order of 2000-4000 volunteers along with 100-200 paid staff, though those numbers are guesses from professional political people in South Carolina, so take that with a grain of salt.
The Clinton campaign did not have anything close to that, having spent its time organizing in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. And unions were just not a factor, which changes the playing field. While there's substantial media control over both campaigns, it's especially bad in the Clinton shop. Organizing takes time and focus, and they are doing things by committee which allows for neither. I don't have good evidence on Obama, but I do know that they had a great organization here. If the Clinton's win the primary, get ready for a rehash of Kerry 2.0, with poor planning and decision-making across the board as long as Mark Penn is involved.
And now to the exit polls. What I find interesting is the magnitude of the win. Obama didn't just win among young people, he won among weird groups. For instance, among people who thought that Clinton attacked him unfairly, he pretty much cleaned up, which is not a surprise. But he even won among people who thought that he unfairly attacked Clinton. And he won both among those who thought Bill Clinton's campaigning was important, and those who didn't, though it appears he did better among those who ignored the Big Dog.
And Obama performed very well among liberals, a large chunk of the South Carolina primary universe, which was simply huge and bigger than the Republican universe.
Obama's victory speech is here. The question is what kind of bounce Obama gets from this. This was an organizational win for him, and he has staff out on many of the February 5th states, building out campaign structures to accept volunteer energy. Clinton is more media focused.
I'll be hoovering up more information over the next few days, since the margin was larger than I expected and certainly not what the polls indicated. Indeed the polls were as wrong as they were in New Hampshire, and though I don't buy the reverse Wilder effect, something is going on that I'm going to speculate on in a few days. Obama was simply dominant tonight, but I think a lot of that had to do with Clinton not even trying to compete. I give the edge to Clinton still for the nomination but again, the question is bounce.