12:10 AM. Hillary Clinton is going to win Indiana. A big chunk of Clinton-leaning votes just came in from Lake County, which now has 98% of precincts reporting.
Instaupdate: MSNBC, indeed, calls it for Clinton, which looks like a pretty safe assumption.
11:54 PM. You think the Obama-Clinton margin is close? The margin in Indiana’s gubernatorial primary is now within about 600 votes. Also: apparently all of the Gary vote has been counted, except for absentee ballots. I don’t think Obama is going to do well enough in Hammond to make up the difference. He might need to pull in some votes from the remaining Marion County precincts if he’s going to have a shot at pulling this out. Of course, there is also the provisional ballots issue.
11:38 PM. With some new voting in with Lake County, Clinton’s margin has been reduced, but we’re still showing her squeaking out an win by 0.9 points. It appears that most of the Gary vote has been counted, and that most of the outstanding vote is from Hammond, which is 15% black. I don’t quite think Obama will pick enough votes in Hammond to win the state — in fact, I’d guess they’ll split more like 50:50, or maybe 55:45 Obama — but we’ll see. Obama also stands to gain a few points in Marion County and Monroe County (home to IU) which has yet to count its absentee ballots.
11:20 PM. Another milestone of sorts: if you COMBINE the results from Pennsylvania, Indiana, and North Carolina, it now appears that Obama will have gained in the popular vote between those three states. I am not sure about the delegate count.
11:10 PM. If we look at the outstanding vote OUTSIDE of Lake County, the model shows 3,771 votes for Obama and 3,000 exactly for Clinton. Most of that comes from the couple of precincts in Marion County that have yet to report. So Obama has just a tiny bit of wiggle room outside of Lake Co, but we all know where this is going to be decided.
Intrade shows Obama at 86% to win the Democratic nomination and 15% to win Indiana. For my money, those numbers should be more like 92% and 30%.
11:00 PM. Because of the provisional ballots issue, it’s a strong possibility that neither candidate will be able to declare victory in Indiana until days from now. (Well, except that Clinton already did declare victory).
10:55 PM. Hendricks and Porter counties are now fully reported, adding slightly to Clinton’s margin. However, those votes were expected to lean Clinton, so our model is still projecting a 1.0 point margin.
10:46 PM. The first votes have been reported from Lake County: Obama leads 27,991 to 9,470 with 28 percent of precincts reporting. It is not safe to make a straight extrapolation from these numbers because some precincts in Lake county are predominantly black and very Obama-leaning, while others will be Clinton-leaning. My model — which does not make its projections that way, now show Clinton winning Indiana by 1.0 percent or about 12,000 votes, but obviously, we’re at the point where absolutely anything can happen. Insta-update: Keith Olbermann says that the vote that just came in was in fact from Obama-leaning Gary, and that about half of Gary’s vote remains to come in.
10:43 PM. Discussion question: name one state that an Obama-Clinton joint ticket might carry against John McCain, but that neither candidate might carry individually. For me, the first state that comes to mind is Indiana.
10:18 PM. Obama’s popular vote margin in North Carolina is now 219,022, bettering Clinton’s in Pennsylvania.
One positive for Clinton, though: she won Southeast Indiana by about 2:1 against Obama. That’s what her margins are liable to look like in West Virginia and Kentucky.
10:03 PM. Russert says that there are about 229,000 outstanding votes in Indiana. I had figured on a slightly smaller number, around 195,000. So, that’s a little bit more breathing room for Obama. On the other hand — looking at the counties that surround Lake County (home to perhaps 160,000 of those votes) — Obama did not particularly outperform his projections. I am guessing that his pulling this out is — I don’t know — about a 12-to-1 longshot.
9:49 PM. Clinton’s margin in Pennsylvania: 214,224 votes. Obama’s margin in North Carolina with 13 percent of the vote yet to be counted: 204,419 votes. The remaining vote in North Carolina looks to me to be pretty representative of the state as a whole, so he will likely finish with a win in the 230,000 vote range.
9:45 PM. Tippecanoe is in, and Obama did not pick up quite as many votes there as he was probably hoping for. His path is now steeper, as we show Clinton’s winning margin ticking up to 2.3 points.
9:40 PM. Isn’t there something ironic about a candidate who’s only remaining path to the nomination to insist that all votes are counted in Florida and Michigan giving a victory speech before all votes are counted in Indiana — and three of the four major networks say the race is too close to call?
9:28 PM. Clinton’s numbers ticking upward a bit on stronger-than-expected results in Clark and Gibson Counties. We now show her winning Indiana by 2.1 points and about 27,500 votes. Obama needs to hope that the outstanding precincts in Marion County contain a lot of ballots, and hope for both a big turnout and a substantial margin (+15-20 points) in Lake County. It’s a bit of a longshot parlay, but if the network’s models look anything look anything like mine, the CBS call of Indiana remains premature.
9:10 PM. Unless there’s something funny going on with the early balloting, this margin in North Carolina should stick at about 14-15 points for Obama.
8:52 PM. I’m now showing Clinton winning Indiana by 1.8 percent, or about 23,000 votes. And one thing to remember about Indiana is the provisional ballot issue — people who were rejected at the polls because they did not meet the state’s ID requirements could still cast provisional ballots and prove their identity later. It’s possible that we’ll still have a hanging chads type of situation.
8:33 PM. I’ve had my head so buried in the numbers that I’ve barely paid attention to Obama’s speech. For a speech that at once seeks to speak to voters and superdelegates, he’s struck a pretty effective balance.
8:28 PM. CBS has apparently called Indiana for Hillary Clinton. Others haven’t. I think that call is *way* premature. I now project a Clinton win by 2.3 points, and if Obama blows out his numbers in Lake County — that could still very easily tip the state.
8:13 PM. Obama’s margin will come down a bit in North Carolina, mostly likely to somewhere in the 12-15 percent range. But double digits looks safe based on the county-by-county returns. And turnout is overperforming expectations in North Carolina too, so he could fairly easily clear 200,000 popular votes.
8:04 PM. OK — St. Joseph now did just come in, with the margin a couple of percentage points ahead of our projection for Obama.
8:01 PM. My projection for Indiana is continuing to tick down a bit as Obama’s margins are coming in better than expected in Marion County. I now show a Clinton win by 2.9 points. But there are no returns in yet from several of the strongest Obama counties: Lake, Monroe, St. Joseph, Tippecanoe. This could turn out to be pretty interesting, and while Clinton remains the favorite, we may be here awhile before the networks are ready to make a call.
7:42 PM. Current projection: Clinton wins Indiana by 3.6 points. But most of the outstanding returns are in Northern Indiana, where Obama has been outperforming my model. He has a chance here — not a particularly good chance, but a chance.
But the reason why David Alexrod looks so happy right now is because the fact that Indiana hasn’t been called yet has given more currency (rightly, in my opinion) to a discussion about the Limbaugh vote. If the storyline from tonight is: “Obama wins decisively in North Carolina; Operation Chaos puts Clinton over the top in Indiana” — that’s one of Obama’s better-case scenarios.
7:03 PM. It looks to me like turnout in Indiana is going to be around 1.1 to 1.2 million, blowing away almost everyone’s expectations. Turnout in Marion County (Indianapolis) actually is coming in ahead of my projections, but that’s also true for almost every region in the state.
6:48 PM. I’ve tried to rig up a model to project state results as the county returns come in, sort of like the networks use to make their calls. The Indiana margin is still looking to me like 3-6 points for Clinton, depending on exactly what assumptions you make.
6:36 PM. Buy Obama stock at Intrade, which is trading up, but only by a couple of points. His objective tonight was to avoid a disaster, and he’s done that.
6:33 PM. CNN exit polls say African-American turnout in North Carolina was 33% of the electorate. Pollsters 1, Poblano 0.
But it does look like I might have gotten the right result for the wrong reasons. Obama won the black vote overwhelmingly — 91-6 — and avoided getting completely killed with the white vote (59-36).
6:30 PM. MSNBC and CNN immediately call North Carolina for Obama; the exit polls appeared to have Obama ahead there by about 14 points. My impression had been that it took about a 15-point margin for the networks to call a race out of the gate, so this would be consistent with that impression.
6:16 PM. Obama is overperforming our projections in Northern Indiana, and Clinton in the Southern part of Indiana. Which could mean that our projections stunk, that the Bubba Gap is widening, that there are some home-state effects for Obama in Northern Indiana, or any of the above.
Right now, it looks to me like we’ll eventually be looking at a Clinton win by about 6 points. If turnout is light in Gary and Indianapolis — could be double-digits. If turnout is heavy — Obama could squeak by with a win.
6:04 PM. Among people that voted for Hillary Clinton, 7% said they would NOT be satisfied if Clinton wins the nomination. I’ll take Operation Chaos for 200, Alex?
5:37 PM. I don’t want to call this a “liveblog”, because I’ve got several competing distractions tonight and I’m not certain how often it will be updated. But early results for Clinton in Indiana look good for her, coming in a few points ahead of our benchmarks.