Super Tuesday Recap

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Studio 4A, NPR: Special Coverage, Super Tuesday. Source: Ashley Grashaw hide caption

itoggle caption Source: Ashley Grashaw

Turnout among voters was high yesterday in presidential primaries across the country. It seems everyone wanted to weigh in. And every candidate, save for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, seemed to come away with big wins. Perhaps the most interesting part of the results from last night, however, is the breakdown of who voted for whom, and why. Exit polls give us insight into the demographic support base of each candidate — things like age, race, gender, income, and education levels break along sharp lines among voters. Today we talk to NPR political junkie Ken Rudin; Andy Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center; and political commentators Keli Goff and Luis Clemens about who got which voting blocks, and what this means for their campaigns. What trends did you notice? And why do you think these primaries have stimulated the kind of excitement and participation that's been lacking in elections past?



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Can your guest explain the issue of "super delegates"?
It seems to me that this is a way for the party machine (using back door tactics) to push a candidate DESPITE the popular vote. Won't this clearly help Clinton?

Sent by John | 2:11 PM | 2-6-2008

I'm a 50 yr old lesbian who's excited about an election for the first time since Jesse Jackson. Why? Obama offers me a glimpse of what we COULD be-we've been depressed for too many years.

Sent by Deb | 2:16 PM | 2-6-2008

i am a latina college student from southern california... this is my first year voting in the primaries. i voted for obama... i think that the turn out was better this time because there was so much hype for so long and i was more exposed to the primaries than ever before. i saw more debates and more magazine covers and television and radio interviews this primary season.. and i don't even remember hearing much of anything last time.. except of course howard deans "heyyah!"

Sent by brianna | 2:18 PM | 2-6-2008

I couldn't be happier that I no longer feel like the only one fed up with this government. Where is Congress? The MEDIA is to blame as well. CENSORSHIP exists....we just don't call it out.

Pelosi and Reid should be replaced with responsible, oath abiding people!

Sent by Danielle Kleinman | 2:22 PM | 2-6-2008

My husband and I attended our first caucus last night. I was elected secretary so got a first hand look at the procedure.Our precinct voted much like our state of Colorado-65% Obama to 35% for Clinton. Out of the twenty participants, no one had previously attended a caucus. I think the only good to come out of 7 years of a Bush Administration is an energized Democratic party.

Sent by Lesley Hallenborg | 2:27 PM | 2-6-2008

Why were the California Polls so wrong again on the Democratic side? Clinton and Obama were said to be running even, according to the polls on the eve of the election. Yet Clinton won by a large margin.

Sent by Anthony | 2:30 PM | 2-6-2008

I agree with the caller calling for a more democratic and straightforward process. The popular vote should count. Things like the Super Delegates and the Electoral College have the ability to take the choice away from the people, and divisions by state seems like a relic of a day when the nation was divided more along state lines and distance limited "voting areas".

Sent by John Jones | 2:35 PM | 2-6-2008

I am a 43 year old, white evangelical southern male. I have served as Chairman and state committeeman of my local Republican Party and chairman of our local Christian Coalition. I have run for public office as a Republican. I WILL VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA IF I HAVE THE CHANCE. John McCain is not a true conservative, and worse, he is neither a member of the religious right nor do I perceive that he has confidence in his convictions. Barack Obama represents a clear departure from the status quo and an individual committed to his convictions and ideals.

(If I had the chance, I would vote for Huckabee in the general, but that does not appear likely.)

Sent by Bill | 2:36 PM | 2-6-2008

I attended the Democratic Caucus in Overland Park, KS, which is in the Kansas City Metro area. It was my first caucus. I was told the last caucus in this district had 37 people. This time one auditorium on campus with about 1200 people got filled, so they opened up another. At 7pm, when the caucus was supposed to start, I was in my seat when they asked for more volunteers to help with registration. So I went into the lobby, where there must have been 400 people in lines to register or to confirm their registration. After an hour of helping out, I went back to my seat. The caucus started around 8:30. It was great. Like the rest of Kansas, Obama supporters had about 75% of the audience, Clinton about 25%. When a new Clinton person came in, the Clinton contingent all applauded and cheered. The event seemed pretty disorganized, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. I voted for Obama, after first having supported Kucinich, then Edwards before they dropped out.

Sent by Bob | 2:36 PM | 2-6-2008

I would like to hear more about the money Obama takes from Exelon, & nuclear power lobby as reported in the New York Times.

Sent by Lynn Gaulin | 2:38 PM | 2-6-2008

A careful study of the U.S. Constitution Article 2 and the 2000 Supreme Court Bush v. Gore opinion reveals the stark fact that any state is permitted to throw out all the votes for President and select other electors. There is no constitutional specific right for citizens to vote. This is the reason why voting state by state is in such chaos.

Sent by Joe Danko | 2:42 PM | 2-6-2008

I'm wondering how Massachusetts women voters will feel about Ted Kennedy if he runs again?

Sent by Cheryl Bentsen | 2:46 PM | 2-6-2008

I don't understand all these people complaining about the long lines at their polling places, and the running out of voting envelopes and what not. Why would anyone go to vote at a polling station? I have been an absentee voter for the past 10 years. Do not all states offer this? It seems to me it isn't that difficult to check a box and become a permanent absentee voter. You get to vote days before hand and everything you need comes in the mail directly to your house. Nothing like voting from the comfort of your own home, avoiding all the hassles. Also, why can't we vote online? Why can't we just make voting a online option or by mail option?

Sent by Ryan Dressel | 2:46 PM | 2-6-2008

I am a Mexican who has lived in this country 35 of my 42 years.

If the "Latin Americans' or "Hispanics" are so diverse (and they are), why does the media (this means you) continue to lump them all together.

The differences are generational, economic, geographic, and the list could go on.

Sent by Cristina | 2:49 PM | 2-6-2008

Democratic turnout was 330 people in a precinct where 2004 turnout was 60. This in a white suburb. The turnout was not that many youth, it was truly the first time caucus goers. This was not a liberal crowd. It was a deeply concerned crowd. Resolutions about getting troops home and giving them strong support upon their return received strong support carrying unanimously. In this environment, Obama carried the caucus 198 to 134 for Clinton. To say that these were liberals is not correct. Obama is not speaking to or for liberals. He is speaking to people who believe a new approach is needed and that the old guard and the old way has gotten into this mess and so we need change. YES WE CAN.

By the way, votes were taken on post-it notes as the turnout far exceeded expectations. The caucus system will have to redefined if it truly is going to be a tool of grassroots democracy. Indeed, we may have to return to the town hall environment with each precinct holding a caucus in its own location to accommodate the turnout. Hopefully, this can be used as a tool to promote grassroots democracy and combat the impact of exorbitant spending in races at all levels.

Sent by Dan H. Hoxworth | 2:49 PM | 2-6-2008

I have a question about the delegate count for the race for the Democrat nomination.

Does the count that I have seen, with Mrs. Clinton ahead by about 100, include delegates from Michigan and Florida?
How will the 'super delegates' from these states be counted?
This seems to be an interesting subplot, especially since the race is now so tight.

Sent by Matt | 2:49 PM | 2-6-2008

Everyone is talking about the role of the Latino vote in the California primary but I think that mail-in ballots were crucial to Hillary's win. When I look at the returns, I see a lot of counties where the vote was pretty much tied between Hillary and Obama with Edwards getting about 10% of the vote. Also just in terms of raw numbers, Edwards got almost as many votes as Obama. I think that most of these Edwards voters would have gone to Obama (all the former Edwards supporters I know who didn't mail in their ballots, voted for Obama).

Sent by Ynggifted&blk | 2:50 PM | 2-6-2008

I'm a disenchanted Goldwater Republican who now votes Democrat because I believe the bullying of the religious right and the new Conservatives has betrayed the Grand Old Party and its ideals.

Sent by Dan | 2:56 PM | 2-6-2008

I was listening to your show this afternoon when you raised the issue of Obama's diverse appeal and whether that might be translated into the November election. My husband and I are both independents and are extremely tired of being offered candidates who are extremely left or right. If November's race features these same types of candidates that we see every other election, we probably won't even vote; what's the point?

Sent by Leslie | 2:57 PM | 2-6-2008

I have to comment on what was said about the seating of Michigan Delegates. I'm a michigander and our delegates NOT being seated is the best thing to happen in this race.

What we had here is a race with one candidate, her only opposition being the idea of giving the party a blank check to choose anyone, INCLUDING that candidate.

I doubt you'd vote in a presidential election with one candidate running, and the other choice being allowed senate to pick anyone THEY wanted including that one candidate.

It was Hillary, or Maybe Hillary? That's not an election, it's a railroad. I personally would not consider it a valid election if Hillary got into the race on my states votes.

Sent by John Jones | 2:58 PM | 2-6-2008

Please explain how "exit poll" information is compiled. I've never been polled after voting, by a person standing outside or by a phone call.

Sent by Candy Jefcoat, Memphis, TN | 3:00 PM | 2-6-2008

I'm a voter in southeastern Michigan and we have found our votes to be completely without value because of the Michigan Democratic Party wanted to move up our primary this year. I think it's entirely valid that our delegates not be seated particularly as only Senator Clinton, Senator Dodd and Governor Richards were included on the ballot. Those of us that chose not to vote for any of the three were told to select undecided. As a proud and emphatic Barack Obama supporter I would be infuriated should these delegates be seated the summer. Considering the large African-American community as well as those of us that support Obama it would be a serious injustice.

Sent by Chris Drouillard | 3:11 PM | 2-6-2008

Why are the medias so bias towards Obama?

Sent by damein | 3:30 PM | 2-6-2008

Democratic outcome already decided.

Super Tuesday made it perfectly clear: Between Clinton and Obama, one will be the presidential nominee and will HAVE to pick the other as the VP on the ticket. Only the order is yet to be decided. If Clinton becomes the nominee, she can't afford to alienate all the Obama voters. If Obama wins, he has the same predicament. To keep the party together and to insure a win they will create the greatest four person team in campaign history: Senator and Ms. Obama and Senator and President Clinton. Clinton has the most experience. Obama has the best rhetorical skills. What Democratic ticket could be more powerful?

Sent by Greg Bates | 3:31 PM | 2-6-2008

I just want to say that I live in Florida, am a registered democrat, and will be furious if the florida delegates are allowed to vote at the convention. To me, it's the hight of injustice to change the rules after the game has been played. People who showed up to vote most likely did so to vote on an important amendment.

Sent by Jay | 3:36 PM | 2-6-2008

I am a former Republican town supervisor/county legislator from a rural area of upstate New York, and I am actively campaigning for Obama. I am thrilled with the huge voter turnout during the primary season and I think Obama's campaign is largely responsible for this energy. It's time to move beyond the polarizing years of Bushes and Clintons and elect a President who exemplifies the best possible future vision for our country.

Sent by Susan | 3:37 PM | 2-6-2008

ON the war in Iraq - McCain says we should stay there forever if that is what it takes. The Democrats want to get out and they will give voters an actual timetable. It would be foolish for us to stay in there forever. If we just got out now, I would have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror calling myself an American. I don't care about how each candidate voted for the war, and I get tired of the candidates telling me how the other voted. I only care about how they are going to take a leadership role and tell us how the plan to resolve the issue without just "pulling out."

Sent by Jeff Denning, Riverside California | 3:38 PM | 2-6-2008

I am a registered Dem voter in Arizona whose first preference was for John Edwards. His platform was detailed and the details coincided with my vision of an America -- one guided by good science and valuing things that appeal to the "Hook and Bullet Crowd."

Since Edwards dropped out I am at a loss. From my view Obama is all style and no substance.

So it comes to a choice between Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain. At this point my choice will hang on some fairly detailed policy wonk stuff vis cutting spending, rescinding the General Mining Act of 1872, and recognizing individual firearms rights inherent in the 2nd Amendment.

Sent by Mike Diehl | 3:39 PM | 2-6-2008

I'm a consistently Republican voter, though I'm independent. I think I'll vote for Obama this time. Better him than McCain. At least Obama's seems to be an honest man.

Too bad everybody dislikes Romney's religion or he'd get my vote.

Sent by royal | 3:49 PM | 2-6-2008

We are just glad its over. Being in one of the 24 states who voted yesterday but couldn't vote ourself; it was nice to see all the excitement but this is just the beginning. Too bad this country couldn't be like Europe and allow only a short campaign season. We are already fed up with all the signs; literature; etc and there is still 9 more months of this!!!

The only thing we will truly be glad about is when Bush is gone and the damage he has done; can be undone; we hope but then can anyone who is President truly do the good for the majority with all the money special interests and lobbyists pay out to help out the few?

Sent by jm fay | 4:03 PM | 2-6-2008

The greatest legacy of the Bush administration is the turnout in this election. We have all seen what happens when special interest groups are permitted to hijack the democratic process. Let's hope people stay involved beyond the current election cycle.

Sent by Dale | 4:07 PM | 2-6-2008

Look at the appeal one candidate, Obama, has created for the rookie and veteran voter. I get excited at the energy and attention our political system is receiving and will continue to feature in the coming years. Questions regarding super delegates and voters, once rooted in a different party, are jumping fences because of the hope created this year and the despair we have felt as a nation for the past eight.

It is possible, that the fear and attention that soon to be former President Bush, has given to the war of Iraq and the terroristic thoughts of the world will soon back-fire as a stream of political attendance in this nation. Something many of us, including myself, have never felt necessary.

Sent by Joseph | 5:01 PM | 2-6-2008

Why I think these primaries have stimulated the kind of excitement and participation that's been lacking in elections past?

An easy answer is that we don't have same old dulled out men speechifying and hating while smiling at us and each other. Another reason is that many can now identify with a bit of hope, in gender or race shifts, wherever our mirror bias shines. And maybe we are so fed up with 8 years of futility, fear and failures that we drum up temporary enthusiasm to keep from crying at our current economic losses [$$$ spent in a hopeless fight called "war" on no nation, $$$ spent on higher prices and $$$ lost in few work opportunities.] Many of us feel sunk, stultified, stupid and stagnant. These candidates sound a little different that the ones we had no-choice to chose before. Maybe.

Sent by maryjaney | 8:33 PM | 2-6-2008

I live in AZ & as a registered voter I always request an early ballot received in the mail & I am able to vote in the privacy of my own home,taking my time making decisions on who and what I want to vote for. Once I fill out my early ballot I can either mail it in before the election or drop it off at the polling place the day of the election without having to spend time waiting in long lines.

When I walk past all those people waiting in the long lines at the polling place for their chance to vote on election day, I wonder why more people don't choose the early voting
option for all elections,that is if it's possible in their state.
I just heard on NPR today about people who are being told there is a problem with amount of available ballots &/or envelopes at their polling place after waiting in huge lines for a long time trying to vote,& some had to leave without voting,after wasting all that time in line.
Early voting is a possible solution to the potential problems encountered at the polls and would make things easier for the people working the polls with shorter lines and may even ensure that more people intending to vote will be able to do so.Even if they have no transportation to get to the polling place,they can vote at home,by getting their ballot early,and returning it by mail.

When you have your early ballot ready to go,dropping it off at the polling place on election day makes voting easier & faster not only for you but for everyone else..

People may want to consider the early voting option if it is available in their state,to assure they will be able to cast their vote and let their choice be made and counted,without the hassle of going to the polls,spending all that time waiting in long lines & then feeling pressure to vote quickly while in the voting booth with all the other voters still waiting in line to get into the available voting booths,which may be limited in some polling areas.

I encourage all registered voters to request an early ballot for future elections & try it atleast once.
Maybe more people who want to vote but don't due to the inconvenience involved with going to the polls[due to lack of transportation,disability, or scheduling conflicts,etc.] should consider registering to vote and requesting an early voting ballot by mail to make their participation in the election process possible,easy and convenient without having to leave the house-(just to the mailbox where there are no lines,no hassles,no problems,& no gas required to get there.)

"If you don't use your right to vote,
you lose the right to complain after
the election."

Early voting by mail is also better for the environment (Imagine all the gas $ & time saved + less emmissions from all the cars/vehicles used to get to the polling places around the country)


Sent by Laura Jacobs | 8:41 PM | 2-6-2008

I think the caucus procedure is ridiculous. How can it be expected that everyone that wants to participate in the process has to be available between 6pm-7pm or their vote doesn't count. I have voted in every election since I was 18 and since I have to work, my sister had sick children at home, and my best friend was at a local high school volunteering to help students - We were punished. If we could have shown up between 7am and 7pm to place our vote then - WOW !! it would almost be like a democracy - imagine that !

Sent by DJ Lackner | 1:07 AM | 2-7-2008

I really wish Talk of The Nation could do a better job of screening out these Ron Paul callers. The question about media coverage sounded like it was just another excuse to whine (as usual with these people) about Ron Paul being disrespected.

Great answer by Ken on that one, by the way! It appears that most Ron Paul supporters are too caught up in their own hype to realize that his vision of unabated rapacious free markets and strict constructionist interpretations of the Constitution doesn't fly with more than a few percent of the general public. It's not the media -- it's the message, folks.

Sent by sunnysider | 1:59 AM | 2-7-2008

Hi, this is Jan from Berlin, Germany. After staying up all Tuesday night, I've got one question: Is there any whispering about party elders trying to talk Hillary and Obama into a dream ticket? Kind of: You still have time, young man?

Sent by Jan Basche (Mr.) | 3:46 AM | 2-7-2008

My name is Daniel and I am writing from Tampa Florida.
I am Originally from Haiti and I am a Supporter of Obama.
When political annalist talk about this election they only talk about Latino or African American or write .
Do you Know that we have a very large Haitian American Population in Florida and In Tampa only we have about 60000 Haitian.
Why no body talk about them?

Sent by daniel thelusmar | 10:33 AM | 2-7-2008

I find Obama to be a charismatic speaker and very inspiring. He seems like a nice guy, too. He reminds me of Jimmy Carter. Nice guy. Fair minded. Got creamed in office. I want a president who can work with others in Washington, should his/her charisma not charm the pants off old school politicians,to create solutions to pay off our national debt, put money into our country's infrastructure, make healthcare universally available, end the war without losing what is left of our political standing, drastically reduce illegal immigration (and its benefits) and much more. I don't care about how charismatic the candidate is. George W. Bush was inarticulate but very charming. People discussed how his grasp of the details was weak. He was elected with the buzz word "leadership". He has been a disaster. I'll pass on charisma and inspiration. I'll pass on "making history". This war is making history. If my vote matters by the time NC votes, I'll take my 4th choice over my 5th choice and vote for Clinton. She sounds like a tin can when she speaks, but I like her plans and trust that she has had a little mentoring for the position from her husband.

Sent by Viv | 10:53 AM | 2-7-2008

As a Los Angeles pollworker who with 3 teampollworkers assisted 478 WLA voters on Super Tuesday, but we did NOT know anything about that California "bubble" [item #6] for nonpartisans to include to be able to make their Democratic candidate vote count. I also went to the 2 hr poll training and NO mention was ever made of this requirement. Our main coordinator nor ashout at and activate to change the rules for the CA Registrar's mistakes? Who can correct this error for these voters sidestepping the error/ dismissal of votes instead of just belatedly announcing the mistake ?
How helpless we now feel, and angry too!

At poll the lines never stopped all day long Tues from 7 am to 8 pm, with a long & continuous flow of intense, active voters: some were brought in wheelchairs by their caretakers, some walked slowly with wobbly canes,
one Latino man who shouted "I voted! First Time" and beamed magnificently, some demanding persistently to vote Republican when rules said not if they could not unless so registered, and some coming in actual tears at 7:58pm pleading to be allowed to do her provisional ballot and then offered to help clean up to make up for arriving [almost] late.

Impressive voters. Dedicated people. Vitally insisting on making their own decisions for the next 'change' from this current & prior administrations.

And these wealthier voters were consistently courteous, personally thanking us for the 'work you do,' with eye contact, smiles, grateful connections for this event we had together. I had a great long tiring day and will do it again for the gift of all the appreciative voters who give back more than the services we give them. This is why I love living in this USA.

Sent by maryjaney | 2:34 PM | 2-8-2008