Iowa By the Numbers

By |

Four statistics blew me away tonight:

  1. Obama beat Hillary among women voters 35 to 30 percent.
  2. Amid record Democratic turnout, as many people under 30 showed up to caucus as those over 65.
  3. Sixty percent of the GOP electorate in Iowa were born-again Christians.
  4. Rudy Giuliani finished with a mere 4,013 votes, in sixth place, with less than half of the support of Ron Paul.

Taking them in order:

One:

Hillary lost tonight to Barack Obama by 8 points -- a margin just as wide as Mitt Romney catastrophic shortfall against Mike Huckabee.

And Obama beat her eight ways to Sunday. He edged her out among Democrats 32/31, and cleaned her clock among independents (44/17) and wayward Republicans (41/10). He beat her among people making less than $15,000 (37/30) and more than $100,000 (41/19). He beat her among health-care voters (34/30) and suburban voters (30/25).

Most astounding however, he beat her among her core supporters, women, by five points. What more can I say than -- in a night of mind boggling statistics -- that that's the stat of the night.

A black man did this. In a state that's 96 percent white. This is truly a historic night in America.

Two:

The turnout on the Democratic side was unreal. It soared from 124,000 in 2004 to 230,000 in 2008. And that's all about the man who won.

Obama's been drawing record crowds from San Francisco to Des Moines -- but there was always the question of whether he could produce a similar effect among real live voters.

He did so in a way that no one predicted. 57 percent of the caucus goers tonight had never caucused before. Most impressive: As many people under thirty showed up as senior citizens.

That's fucking nuts is what that is. That's the Rock the Vote political wet dream that never ever comes true... actually coming true. What this portends for Obama as a national candidate is something truly special. He's not only proven that he can draw the support of independents and open-minded Republicans. He's the one guy who can make the Democratic pie higher, bringing new, unlikely voters into the fold. If he could replicate this kind of support among young people in a general election, it's game over.

Three:

The Religious Right has found their candidate. The evangelical vote in the Republican caucus is usually 40 percent. Tonight it was 60 percent.

I give Mike Huckabee a lot of credit. He's run the kind of grassroots campaign that's not supposed to be possible in this era. Outspent 15:1, his earthy, inclusive plain-spoken authenticity won hearts and minds — and his faith-based network of supporters turned out in droves, beating back the best organization money can buy.

With Romney effectively out of the way, I'm not sure anybody else can stop this guy. Certainly not in South Carolina, where, if the churched vote behaves the way they did tonight, he'll clobber a John McCain, no matter what happens in New Hampshire.

Four:

Rudy Giluliani is done. His slot -- the maverick warmonger -- is going to be filled by John McCain by the time Florida comes around. He's executing the most amazingly misguided electoral strategy I can remember. Bravo and good riddance.

Closing thoughts

Obama scored two huge victories tonight. He not only popped Clinton's aura of inevitability, he also beat Edwards roundly enough to establish himself as the only true anti-Clinton. So not only is Clinton wounded heading into New Hampshire, but the ABC (anyone but Clinton) vote has found its standard bearer -- and his name isn't John Edwards.

Which is all to say that even if Clinton makes a miraculous recovery in the next five days, I think enough of Edwards' vote is going to migrate to Obama that it's not going to make a difference. New Hampshire is his to lose.

And fond goodbyes...

Part of me, here, is going to miss the grand patrician stylings of Chris Dodd, here.

And Joe Biden, I think I'll miss you most of all.

x