March 4th, 2008
04:28 PM ET
2 years ago

Schneider: What I'm looking for tonight

NEW YORK (CNN) - It's certain to be long night, but here are some early indicators I'll be keeping my eye on as the first wave of exit polls roll into the CNN Election Center.

The gender gap:
The bigger it is, the more it helps Hillary Clinton. She needs to do well with women voters tonight in order to carry Ohio and Texas. In nine Super Tuesday primary states Clinton won, men were split, but nearly 60 percent of women voters supported the New York senator. In seven states Obama won that night, the Illinois senator beat Clinton among both men and women.

Young voters
Much attention has been focused on Obama's ability to rally young voters. The number of these voters that showed up to vote and the proportion that break for Obama will be key to his chances of winning tonight. Senior voters have always been a backbone of support for Clinton, and will likely continue to be so today. In many of the states Obama has won, the youth vote has been heavy and has broken for him better than 2 to 1.

Minority turnout
Minority turnout will be crucial, but which minority? African-American voters have solidly aligned themselves behind Obama, and Latinos have usually supported Clinton. This means Obama has had the edge in states where African-American voters make up a significant proportion of the electorate while Clinton has had the advantage in states where Latinos do so. But Texas has both a heavy African-American population and a heavy Latino population. Whichever group has a higher turnout could be key to who wins the state.

Union workers
Whichever candidate wins among union voters in Ohio could very well carry the state. Even though several major unions in Ohio - like the Teamsters and the Service Workers and the Food and Commercial Workers - have endorsed Obama, the Nevada caucuses proved that union voters don't necessarily vote the way their leaders tell them to. Clinton is banking on strong support from this demographic to help her win tonight.

Independents
How much of a role will they play? Independent voters are allowed to vote in all four states today. In the past, these voters have strongly favored Obama. Will their turnout be high enough to tip the scales toward the Illinois senator tonight?

Republicans
Republicans are allowed to vote in the Democratic primary in Texas. Some conservative commentators, like Rush Limbaugh, are urging them to vote for Hillary Clinton just to keep the Democratic race going. The idea that large numbers of Republicans will vote for Clinton just to make trouble for the Democrats seems unlikely. But lots of unlikely things have happened this year.

Watch Bill Schneider break down the demographics of the March 4 primaries

Related: CNN's Ed Lavandera reports on early Texas voting

–CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider


Filed under: Bill Schneider • Ohio • Rhode Island • Texas • Vermont
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. mike

    Pat:

    Who cares what she makes..The last debate she said she is busy and will make that public before the general election...
    Another business man who has he facts straight for Hillary!

    March 4, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Bill C

    A sage once said: THE MEDIA ELECTS THE PRESIDENT BUT WHO
    ELECTS THE MEDIA ???????????????????????????????

    March 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    How does it make sense to have non-democrats perhaps being the folks who tip the balance one way or the other. No one has explained if this has always been the case, or when this practice started.

    March 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. michael johnston

    Here is the deciding difference between clinton and obama
    "yes we can" and "yes i have"

    March 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  5. mike

    Please anybody, post what he has accomplished? Other than yes we can...YES SHE CAN! WITH BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT....

    March 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. maynard

    its people like rush the skumbag of reporters that are making the political world the mess it is. also who cares who rambo backs or any other high profile name this is what our media is stooping to

    March 4, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. Bill

    Today 3 more super delegates declare for Obama!

    Clinton retire with dignity, or carry on and be tossed aside like a discarded old ciggerette packet. Your choice Mrs. Clinton

    March 4, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. Gail Smith

    On 60 Minutes the other night one of the ladies that was being interviewed on which way she was voting she said ," When Bill was president the economy was good and if he was going to be an advisor she felt good with Hiliary."Just think about how many times that someone said Bill's name more than Hillary's name, is it really a change at all when people really don't know who is running for President and no wonder Bill is round up like a clock thinking that he might lose his campaign.

    March 4, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  9. Sukie

    If those voters who originally planned to vote for Hillary, but were persuaded to "switch" because of the Obama Overtures, will vote for her, I have no doubt she will win Texas and Ohio today.

    Whatever today's turnout, when Oregon votes, I will still write in Hillary.

    March 4, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  10. Ochoano

    I just wonder how publicly the union leaders have endorsed the wrong person and Senator Clinton continues to get strong support. That tells you. I still wonder that Senator Clinton continues to get almost half of the whole nation populaton vote without the frenzied nonsense movie star status. But I don't wonder anymore because I know she is the best candidate.

    March 4, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  11. Allen

    I have family that live in Ft. Worth. They don't listen to Rush but typically vote for Repubs anyway. They voted for Hillary because they want McCain to have an easy road to the WH.

    The Texas Dem primary is a sham. The Repubs are hand-picking thier opponent.

    March 4, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. Jaime

    No matter how you spin it people are ready for a change in politics. It is sad that although most voters decry negative ads and want something different from our candidates they are still being swayed by the Clinton machine negative tactics. Look at what has happened this past week to Obama's lead. It has shrunken with all of the attack ads. Only we the people can change negative politics. Vote against the candidates who use them.

    March 4, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. Vig

    Let's hope all your negative commentary and negative interpretations of the debates that were televised about Clinton – don't have any influence on the way people vote. Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 4, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. ChicoSez

    How will the Obama camp spin a loss in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island? That will be interesting to read. Or maybe he should just drop out?

    March 4, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  15. Geri

    It would be absolutely pathetic if Obama won because he has 90% of the black population voting for him on race and not issues.

    March 4, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  16. Joyce

    The slanting by the press is so prominent. I am surprised everyone is not aware of the biases that is warping most reports. From the intros, to the wrap-up, the language, the tones are obvious.

    I do hope the American people are smarter than the journalists.

    My question is: what's the "pay off" to the journalists?

    March 4, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  17. Young Latina for Hillary

    We young people are not an homogenous group. We latins are also not an homogenous group. And we women are not "defined" by our boyfriends, husbands or any other men related to us... The most powerful nation in the world lead by an experienced and strong committed woman, what an opportunity! Even "less developed" countries such as Chile, Argentina and "1st world" countries such as Germany have experienced women as their president/chancelor, women and men in these countries value a "women's perspective" and experience as mothers, daughters, wifes, professionals, will our country embrace this unique moment in history???....

    March 4, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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