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.
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 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.
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.
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 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
What I'm hearing (between the lines) more and more as these primaries and caucuses go on is that women over a certain age are largely voting for Clinton ONLY because she is a woman and they feel she has been treated unfairly. This is terribly irresponsible and they might just as well have not bothered to vote! These are important times, and important issues and require voters to educate themselves on the issues and not vote based solely on gender. This reminds me of how women voted for JFK and Reagan just because they considered them charming and handsome. I'm ashamed of my gender in this race and feel they make a lot of us women who have fought so hard to be taken seriously look bad.
When it is all said and done, I believe the youth will rally behind Obama despite all the negative media surrounding him the past couple days. The young voters are technology savvy and tend to do research before we base our decision on news media that uses loaded language and campaigns the whine/ complain about the media. We have done our research and the youth will decide where the country will take us as we become fathers and mothers.
While I have no problem with Independent voters in a Democratic primary, I do have a real problem with Republicans voting in a Democratic primary. Sorry, just my suspicious nature. If a Republican wants to change affiliation prior to the general election, ok, but I do not think the "open" primary is a good idea. As far as Rush Limbaugh urging voters toward Hillary, knowing him this is probably just a ploy to get unsuspecting Dems to vote Obama to "spite" Limbaugh. Again, just my nasty suspicious nature. Personally, I don't think anyone should bow out until all of the primaries are completed. People should have the opportunity to vote their choice. And if it is still close after June, they should go all the way to the convention. Superdelegates should vote based on popular vote!
it's painful irony when corporate media - bad for our democracy - is our only news source for elections.
when they mention rush and give him credibility as a conservative (i.e., bigot) "commentator", akin to ann coulter and bill cunningham - it's a shame they don't state the truth: THEY ARE BAD FOR OUR DEMOCRACY.
some are going to vote for john mccain - effectively giving a third term to bush; after this criminal administration, that is unbelievable. some are going to vote for clinton, even though her husband was one of the most republican presidents we've ever had. and i have to see obama's good name smeared by swift-boating. our standards are so low i don't think we can go any lower.
just sickening what our so-called democracy has turned into. as much as i despise rush, he's right–our democracy is a soap opera, it is a joke.
To CNN why are you reporting on Hillary all day. She is not the only candidate. Where is John McCain and Huckabee today? Send your people out and talk with the other candidates. Personally I'm sick of seeing Hillary today.
Can Some tell me how the displaced people from N.O. will change the demographics in Texas?
to keep hammering that women will vote for her because she is a woman shows that you are out of touch with reality. The older women might vote for her because that is who they know and because they seen her crying. But I know for a fact that women, want someone with honesty, integrity, who gets to where she is because of her merits, not her cheating husband.
I am sorry but i am sick of the media using the gender issue. There are other amazing women who would make superb candidates, and men and women would not hesitate a moment to vote for them.
But Clinton? She is negative, divisive, liar, she polarizes, she voted for the war, she lies, she ir racist, she and her husband need to go build homes in New Orleans..............
Shame on you Hillary
Why is Schneider always right? I'm jealous.
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
I am a woman, a Latina woman. I would never vote for this woman. She represents not just the most negative characteristics in one sole individual, but she has multiple personalities, she is so negative, she stood all the way with her cheating husband (what a message for our daughters) she lies, makes up things, it is very racists and uses the issue of civil rights to get to what she wants.
I have learned that she and her campaign purposely darkened the Senator's picture in the latest add… go see for yourselves. While I get it, that this is politics as usual (yes, she is running it, she herself is the status quo and politics as usual) have a little decency and for those of you who think she is not racist, listen carefully, go see what has done lately with Senator's Obama's picture in the latest of her darkest negative campaign.
By the way, to the women who vote for her because she is a woman: I guess all we can say is that you support cheating husbands, that you agree that is OK to be as aggressive if not more aggressive than the old boys club; that you agree with the war in Iraq, and with having a permanent Dynasty in our country.
She has not integrity and or honesty, so in the name of Democracy of our daughters, our soldiers, our veterans, our teachers, our sons, our future, please step out of the race…………..
Think twice if you are voting for Billary, (yes for Bill and Hillary) you are paving the road for another 8 years of Republicans in the White House. Also Rush and Ann Coulter supports Hillary, one must wonder……… about her supporters those included. I am one of those that will vote Republican if Hillary is the nominee, and I know I am not alone in this.
You forgot the illegal voters with false I.D.S here in Texas.Must be about 5 million here.
This Republican crossed over to vote for Hillary to help her get over Obama so she could go toe to toe with our man McCain.
There are lots of Republicans doing this in Texas becaue we already know who our candidate is going to be.
Don't forget to look for the r3VOLution! Ron Paul will surprise you.
We're going old-school today Bill!!!! Bust out.......BUST OUT!!! I'm surprise no one left a comment. Don't worry Bill, I got your back....
HILLIARY MRS B I L L CLINTON The EVA Perone today wants to RULE the country BEWARE BEWARE BEWARE OF THIS EVIL WOMAN
My estimate is that Hillary will win Texas by 5-6%, win Ohio by 9-11% and win RI by 15%. Obama will win Vermont by 15%.
If this is correct then Hilary will and should win the normination because she has won 90% of the states that a Democratic president must win. Obama won 90% of the states that the Republican will definitely win. The math might be too hard for black enthusiats but should be too easy for a serious Democratic and its leaders.
Is Rush almight God for the Republicans? Vote with your heart and mind, Republicans.
Look at it this way, if Hillary wins you guys in the media can all blame Rush and make it look as if SHE did not win. You and your male counterparts are all male chauvinest pigs. None of you can stand the thought of having to say "Madame President."
This election is another joke they are only going to let barack get so far and then give the nomination to hilary which in turn will only put another out of touch republican in office . Never trust politicains .
Don't forget, you also looking for Barack to win!!!
DEMOCRATS should be the only people voting in the DEMOCRATIC primaries and caucuses because we are choosing the DEMOCRATIC representative for the DEMOCRATIC party!!
It's ridiculous. So is the entire "primary" season.
I vote for a national primary with Democrats only – curbs all the spending and gets done so much faster!!
HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!!!
You forgot another segment, Bill. The "Anyone But Hillary" crowd.
Texas is full of 'em. They will do whatever it takes to keep Hillary out of the White House. And yes, that means even Republicans voting for Obama to make sure we don't have another Clinton presidency.
That's why Obama is the best shot for the Democrats after all. If Hillary is the candidate, Republicans, Independents and yes, even some Democrats will come out in droves to vote AGAINST HER.
Whereas Obama can draw voters from every party to vote for him...giving him a much better chance against McCain that Hillary could ever have.
Even the polls this website link to show that. Obama has a 6-12% lead on McCain in a head-to-head matchup. Hillary is dead even, if not trailing behind.
I AGREE 100% I HAVE THE RIGHT TO CAST MY VOTE ALSO. I WON'T HAVE THAT OPPORTUNITY UNTIL MAY. I THINK IT SHOULD BE THAT ONLY REGISTERED DEMS CAN VOTE IN THE DEM PRIMARY AND ONLY REG REPUBLICANS VOTE IN THEIRS. AND OF COURSE THE INDEPENDENTS VOTE IN EITHER ONE. THAT WOULD BE THE ONLY FAIR WAY TO DO IT. IN THE FALL, YOU ARE RIGHT, THEY COULD VOTE WHICH EVER WAY THEY WANT TO. BUT TO DATE, THE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES HAVE BEEN USED TO BEAT EACH DEMOCRATE OUT.
IF THE SUPERDELEGATES VOTE BASED ON POPULAR VOTE, SENATORS KERRY AND KENNEDY WILL HAVE TO SWITCH CANDIDATES...............THE SUPERS ARE SUPPOSE TO VOTE FOR WHICH CANDIDATE IS MORE QUAILIFED TO LEAD THE COUNTRY.
IF IT WERE A PERFECT WORLD, WE WOULD HAVE ONE PRIMARY FOR THE DEMOCRATES AND ONE FOR THE REUPBLICANS ALL ON THE SAME DAY. THEN THE POPULAR VOTE WOULD COUNT AND WE COULD HAVE A VOICE IN THIS ELECTION, THE WAY IT IS SET UP SO FAR, IT'S A JOKE.
Not wanting Hillary Clinton as president has nothing to do with being a male chauvenist. It has everything to do with not wanting to decrease the integrity of the White House any further than the Clinton's and Bush's have already done.
There is a woman out there who should be the first female president of the United States. It's just not Hillary Clinton. She's a bad person, a failure as a lawmaker and a not right for this country.
Why not look at the delegate numbers. HRC cannot catch up without double digit wins in Texas and Ohio tonight. If that doesn't happen, she would need 62% of the delegates from here on out just to get back to even.
(Note: 62% of the delegates is not nearly the same as 62% of the vote.)
Carol Fowler (SC Democratic Chair) and Mary Long (Dem. National Committee) have both declared for Barack Obama.