What started out four months ago as a Clinton win (in terms of votes) ended up as a Nevada victory for Barack Obama in terms of caucus strategy. Obama parlayed a solid January showing in rural Nevada and lower than expected Clinton support at the district caucuses into a three delegate advantage (14-11) over Clinton in the Silver state. All this after losing 51%-45 to Clinton in the first round of the caucuses. Clinton's six point win was not only reversed as Nevada's caucus process progressed, but Obama's perceived advantage was improved upon and solidified coming out of the state convention yesterday.
This fits in with the discussions here concerning the caucus question. Under circumstances that can be considered commonplace in the frontloaded period of presidential primaries, a party's presumptive nominee, having wrapped the nomination up early, would gain support in caucuses through subsequent steps in the process. If a candidate effectively wrapped the nomination up during Super Tuesday, for example, and forced his opponents out of the race, they would stand to increase their support in caucus states where the process's first step was held during the competitive phase of primary season. A presumptive nominee gains as turnout among supporters of the withdrawn candidates at subsequent caucus meetings declines relative to their original turnout. We saw this in Nevada during this cycle as Clinton's support in the district caucuses lag behind her original level of support. The nomination race was still active in 2008 though; Clinton had not dropped out of the race. It can be considered a real victory for Obama then, in terms of strategizing about the caucuses and building up support and turning people out on the grassroots level.
There were also state conventions in Colorado and Kansas yesterday as well as congressional district conventions in Washington. News has been slow filtering out about the final numbers at all those proceedings (other than Udall becoing the senate nominee in Colorado and an add-on delegate going for Obama in Kansas). Unlike Nevada, though, all three of those states handed Obama decisive victories. In other words, there was not that much room for improvement on the original numbers. However, if Obama had such overwhelming victories in those states, it stands to reason that Clinton's support in those states may be depressed compared to what it was originally.
Once that information surfaces, we'll see which way (if any) that went. Tracking...
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