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Pennsylvania: Lackadaisical Liveblog

All times are US Central.

11:42 PM. We can now say with some confidence that Obama will hold Clinton under 10%. Presently, Clinton’s margin is 9.53%, and the only material remaining stashes of votes are in Obama-leaning Chester and Philadelphia Counties.

The final margin will certainly end up below 9.5%, and it’s entirely possible that Obama will hold Clinton under 9.0% (which might be reported as Clinton 54%, Obama 46% in those places that are not into decimals). The question is how many votes there are in the 3% of Philadelphia precincts that have yet to report. But don’t hold your breath: I doubt we’re going to see those Philly precincts report until the morning, and perhaps not even until the vote is due for certification.

This will likely be the last update of the evening — thank you for joining me. I am starting to feel like a full-fledged member of the media: we blew away our traffic records tonight, so what’s bad for those hoping for a quick end to the nomination process may be good for our pageview count.

11:05 PM. @95%.

10:52 PM. Based on linear extrapolation of the votes in the outstanding counties, I show a final result of Clinton 1,267,382 (54.6%), Obama 1,054,444 (45.4%). So, we’re likely looking at a 9.2% margin or thereabouts.

Also, I’ve been blogging very little about delegates, but the guys at Kos are all caught up and are projecting Clinton +11.

10:26 PM. Double digits? Looks like it, as long as you’re rounding up. I figure there are about 110K more votes between Chester, Montgomery, Bucks, and Delaware counties. If Obama split those votes with Clinton — he would be at 45.2% to Clinton’s 54.8%, for a 9.6% spread. But Clinton might have another 10K or so net votes scattered for her throughout the state. Obama will need to outright win the remaining suburban vote — or find a stash of voters in some forgotten precinct in Philadelphia.

10:04 PM. Obama hitting some higher notes in this speech — likely good for his fundraising. My sense had been that the Clinton campaign had sort of intimidated Obama into staying away from the Home Run Speech.

10:00 PM. @ 82%

I *think* this number is going to stick at 10 points, but I’m not sure. There are no votes at all counted from Chester County and very few from Montgomery County, both of which are very upper-crust and should at least break evenly for Obama. On the other hand, just about everything is in from Philadelphia proper, whereas there are a few scattered votes to be had from the Clinton-leaning regions throughout the balance of the state.

9:51 PM. 8! 10! 8! 6! 8! 10! 8! 10! MSNBC could really use a decimal place.

9:37 PM. @ 72%

As before, most of the outstanding results are in the Philly burbs, where Obama has slightly underperformed so far. Depending on how those end up, the margin should end up somewhere between 7 and 10 points.

9:20 PM. Update at 61%.

I think Clinton is hitting her marks in her victory address.

9:08 PM.
This is how the regional returns look with about 47% of results in (I’m running about 10 minutes behind the networks).

The key things to note are the over-representation of Philadelphia, and the underrepresenation of the Philly ‘burbs.

8:52 PM. Sorry for the delay — I’m working on a couple of metrics here.

8:16 PM. Although there is relatively heavy reporting in Philadelphia County — and Obama now leads 55:45 there — there is almost no reporting in Obama’s next-best area, the Philadelphia suburbs. So, I don’t necessarily know that the current results are unrepresentative of the state in either direction. My initial 7-8 projection is still looking quite good.

8:13 PM. As of right now, the trading markets are, essentially, entirely unchanged versus where they began the day.

8:02 PM. I think the money theme is overrated, on both sides of the equation. On the one hand, it’s a little bit disingenuous for Clinton to argue that they won in spite of being outspent heavily by Obama, when they reason they were outspent is because (i) Obama got more from small donors, and (ii) Clinton blew all her money in Iowa — and on Mark Penn. On the other hand, I don’t particularly think that the Clinton campaign is going to run out of money. They have raised plenty of money — it just doesn’t look like much as compared to Obama. But as we may have seen in Pennsylvania, there are diminishing returns on campaign expenditures at the margins.

7:56 PM. And Obama isn’t doing well in the “T”: I think this might end up closer to 10 points after all.

7:52 PM. Here’s why they might have called it: with 11% of precincts reporting in Philadelphia County, the split is presently 50:50. There are whole areas of Philadelphia that aren’t so Obama friendly, but overall that is a result she should be pleased with.

7:49 PM. MSNBC and Fox News have called it for Clinton. One curiosity I have at this point is whether there are additional waves of exit poll data that we don’t yet have access to.

7:36 PM. Pennsylvania now too early to call and leaning Clinton, says MSNBC.

7:21 PM. Also, Clinton has no advantage over Obama in the “cares about people” attribute: that vote split 51/49 Clinton. 65 percent said Obama is “in touch with people like them”, and 64 percent the same about Clinton.

In some sense, the Obama campaign may have been a bit fortunate that Clinton decided to devote so much attention to bittergate. It may have slowed his momentum, but it didn’t reverse it, and it presented the opportunity cost of precluding Clinton from closing on potentially stronger themes.

7:16 PM. Since exit polls do matter for spin: there are, to my mind (and this is where my biases might creep in), no real landmines for Obama in the exit poll demographics. The groups he’s losing, he’s losing about 55:45 or 60:40, but not some of the 2:1 margins we saw in Ohio, of the sort that lend themselves to Pat Buchanan talking points.

7:10 PM. Probably more important than the exit polls: Andrea Mitchell (who should have gotten her own show instead of David Gregory) says that Clinton insiders expect a close result based on their field reports.

7:01 PM. Obama clears a (very low) hurdle, as the election is “too close to call”. My sense has been that the race needs to be about 15 points for the networks to call it at the outset.

Time-of-poll-close exit polls, which have been only marginally more accurate than early edition exit polls, project to about Clinton +4 — essentially identical to the Drudge numbers.

We’re going to be in a little bit of a quiet, eye-of-the-storm period for the next 30-60 minutes — at least. Fortunately, I have a pizza coming.

6:57 PM. This is what tabbed browsing was invented for.

6:41 PM. If you buy my contention that exit polls tell you more about who voted than how they voted, the numbers do not look especially good for Obama, at least based on what was on MSNBC just now.

6:30 PM. On second thought: the composite national exit poll shows just a 16-point gender gap (although it’s 26 points among white voters), so it may have been SurveyUSA who was off on those numbers, rather than Pennsylvanians.

6:25 PM. One small irony: although its Clinton who tends to win traditionally Democratic-leaning states, it’s Obama who tends to win traditionally Democratic-leaning regions within those states. This is especially true in Pennsylvania.

6:00 PM. Clinton closed strong on national security, and there’s this notion that such appeals are supposed to appeal more to female voters — your so-called security moms. But the leaked exits are showing about a relatively small 17-point gender gap, as compared with a whopping 38 percent in the final SurveyUSA poll.

5:40 PM. Howard Wolfson: no sweater. And lowering expectations, with what I read as sincerity.

5:38 PM. Here’s a TRUE polling shocker from Pennsylvania: only 28 percent of Pennsylvanians are beer drinkers.

Polling your friends about politics is bad enough, but if I asked my friends about their beer drinking habits, about 94 percent would answer in the affirmative — and the other 6 percent would have gluten allergies.

5:11 PM. One thing to remember about exit polls: they are better at telling you who voted than how they voted. The reason is mathematical: the topline demographics are taken as a portion of the entire sample, whereas the breakdowns within those demographics are taken from a subsample. So if you look at seniors, for instance, that’s probably about 25 percent of an initial sample of 1,400, or about 350 voters, which has an associated margin of error of 5-6 points. And if you look at something like “voters who decided today”, which has an even smaller sample size — about 150 voters — the margin of error is around 8 percent.

Nate Silver founded and was the editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.