As I reported on a while ago, caucus states have regional and state conventions to solidfy who is voting for who at the Democratic National Convention. The caucus voting that occurs is a rough idea of what will happen, but the benefit/detriment of the caucus system is that when the final caucus vote is counted, the race doesn’t stop. The caucus members can, if fact, change their mind*.
What did we see yesterday? The huge Texas regional caucus meetings to decide 67 at-large caucus delegates to report to the D.N.C. in August. Texas, as we know, was is a ‘big’ state, and part of the ‘big’ win that Hillary Clinton picked up on March 4. She only actually won the primary vote, and lost the caucuses. And she only won the primary on the back of a fear ad, and only an ad. The caucus voting that reported back had Obama wining enough delegates in the caucuses to win the state by 1 or so delegates. Nothing huge, but something that was rolled out by the Barack Obama campaign regularly.
It was always going to be a worry what happened next. Would the campaigning that happened in between the voting and the regional meetings change many delegates minds? Apparently it changed some because there has been some shifting in the numbers. The results being sent out now, with only 50% of the caucus regions reporting, is that Obama will end the night with a state-wide lead on Clinton of 5 delegates – the projected outcome for these 67 delegates is a 38 to 29 split to Obama. He is currently running with approximately 60% of the regional caucus votes to Clinton’s 40%.
It’s supposed to have been a crazy time there in Texas – even a fight broke out on one precinct when Clinton supporters tried to get Obama supporters to swap sides. Speaking of swapping sides, I came across a funny story here. Basically, it’s where a guy went to the original caucus vote, and intended to vote for Obama. There weren’t enough people there to get past the threshold to assign Obama delegates that day, so the guy said, with honesty and good intentions, that he’d go to the regional convention and vote for Clinton. He believed that he was locked into this commitment. Give some time, and he receives a call from the Clinton campaign saying that he doesn’t have to vote for the candidate that he said he would on March 4 – that he can swap. And swap he did. He went to the regional convention and voted for Obama instead.
The Clinton campaign is saying that it’s too early to write the math down, but seeings as Obama won the caucus the first time, I expect that the predicted results will ring true and he will win the latest caucus. If anything, it could get better. He originally won the state’s caucus with 56% of the vote, compared to Clinton’s 44%. There’s been an 8% shift in the first 50% of voting – quite a large change for a race that the Clinton campaign says they still have a chance in. If anything, these results make it more obvious that Clinton should get out of the race. She’s lost one of her big states on the delegate count in a race that is all about delegates.
So that’s another good day for Obama. Pennsylvania will get quite a bit of coverage of this I suspect. How, if it will, impact the polls and the voting will be interesting to say the least.
* Actually, all delegates can change their mind, but it would be insane if and primary-pledged delegates did because of the actual voting that occurred by the people.