Obama, McCain Prevail in Mississippi

To the surprise of virtually no one, Barack Obama has won the Mississippi Democratic primary, the last contest before Pennsylvania’s primaries in late April. To even less surprise, presumptive Republican nominee John McCain also prevailed in his party’s contest.

Perhaps more interesting than the primary victory are the exit poll numbers, which may suggest some serious problems for the Democrats if Clinton does emerge to be the eventual nominee. For starters, only 51% of Democratic primary voters said that Clinton was “honest and trustworthy” — and, even among that group, Clinton only prevailed 55-44%:

MS primary exit poll - Clinton trustworthy

As in Texas, Clinton may also have benefitted from the “Limbaugh effect”: her support in the primary clearly came from conservatives in the Magnolia State, who are unlikely to vote for any Democratic nominee when November rolls around:

MS primary exit poll - by ideology

These exit poll fundamentals put aside the numbers that have attracted the most attention among the commentariat:

The rift in the party widens: Obama voters by and large would NOT be satisfied (55%) with Clinton as their nominee, while 7 and ten Clinton voters would NOT be satisfied (72%) with Obama as theirs.

It’s going to be a long six weeks for the Democrats in Pennsylvania…

UPDATE (James Joyner): It’s a little early in the morning for math but I’m at a loss as to how Clinton won did as well as she did. Her margins with conservatives of 14 and 10 percent are smaller than Obama’s with liberals of 44 and 28 and even his 19 percent among moderates. Either the exit polls are not reflective of the actual vote or conservatives absolutely dominated the turnout.

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Chris Lawrence
About Chris Lawrence
Chris teaches political science at Middle Georgia State University in Macon, Georgia. He has a Ph.D. in political science (with concentrations in American politics and political methodology) from the University of Mississippi. He began writing for OTB in June 2006. Follow him on Twitter @lordsutch.


  1. DL says:

    You can talk about the “Magnolia effect” if you want , but the bigger picture is that (for the most part) all those Democrats who voted against the other guy (Hillary or Obama) will be voting heavily for whichever one of those survives and none of those Republicans will be crossing over in Nov. How much support McCain will get from his base remains to be seen.

    Fear of the ememy is insufficient reason to risk being shot in the back by your own. Particularly if he is so loved by the ememy.

  2. Rob M says:

    It’s Texas. You have a large number of conservative southern Democrats. Blue Dogs still live

  3. Anderson says:

    JJ, as Rob M says of Texas, there are still some older Mississippians who never left the Democrats during the Reagan revolution, yet who are indeed quite conservative (and, methinks, unlikely to vote for a black man).

    So I wouldn’t necessarily conclude that there was much “jinx the Dems” crossover voting.

    N.b. also the hotly contested race to replace Chip Pickering in the 3d district. Voting in yesterday’s primary disqualified one from voting in the inevitable runoff, and I’m sure that not many Repubs in that district blew their chance to vote on that race, just so they could mess with the Dems’ minds.

    If anything, Obama won by much more than the polls had suggested.

  4. yetanotherjohn says:


    I’ll do the math for you. Based on the % of voters and which direction they went, the data in the blog posts indicates that Clinton should get 40.51% of the vote and Obama get 57.82% of the vote. The actual results are Clinton 37% of the vote and Obama 61% of the vote.

    Given the disparity between the sacred exit polls and the actual count, may I be the first to suggest that it is obvious to anyone who has studied the data that since Obama’s poll results are better than the exit poll reports Diebold must have stolen the election for Obama.

    I think it is also instructive to look at the demographics of the vote.

    Vote by Party and Race
    Clinton Obama
    White Democrats (25%) 70% 23%
    White Independents (12%) 55% 40%
    Black Democrats (44%) 9% 91%
    All Republicans (13%) 76% 24%

    That is a heck of a racial divide. Given the identity politics in the democratic party, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.

  5. Dodd says:

    It’s a little early in the morning for math but I’m at a loss as to how Clinton did as well as she did

    She got 70+% pf the white vote, which comprised just over 50% of the votes cast. Obama got 92% of the black vote, but it was only 48%.

    What I can’t figure out is why 1 in 4 of the people who said Hillary! isn’t honest and trustworthy still voted for her….