Iowa and South Carolina

In running through the Iowa results by county (map here, alphabetical list here), it's clear Obama outdid Hillary the most in the more densely populated urban areas like those around Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and Davenport. Comparing the counties where the vote numbers were in the thousands, like Johnson and Black Hawk, to Iowa as a whole using census results, there's some interesting numbers which could be bad news for Hillary in South Carolina -- an early voting state the media keeps saying will turn on the African American vote.

Iowa is mostly white, 95%. But the counties with thousands of voters and in which Obama trounced Hillary have higher percentages of non-white voters and fewer older voters.

For example, according to the census reports:

  • Black Hawk County with 126,000 people is 8.1 percent African-American compared to the state wide African-American population of 2.1 %. It's white populaton is 89% compared to 94.6% state wide. 13.7% live below the poverty line (compared with 10.5% state wide). In yesterday's caucus vote, Black Hawk went 43% for Obama and only 28% for Hillary. Edwards came in third with 27%.


  • In Johnson County with 116,000 people, Obama got 52% of the vote to Hillary's 20% (Edwards got 24%.) The census figures show that only 8.5% of the population is over 65 (compared to 14.6% state wide), the white population is 89.9% (compared to 94.6% state wide)with higher percentages of African-Americans and Asians than state-wide. The percentage living below the poverty line is 12.3% compared to 10.5% state wide.
  • In the even larger Polk County, with 409,000 residents, only 11% are over 65 (14.6% state wide), the white population is 89.9% (compared to 94.6% state wide) and the African American population is 5.2% (compared to 2.5% state wide.) It's Asian population is 3.1% (compared to 1.6% state wide) and its hispanic population is 6.2% (compared to 3.8% state wide.)
  • There's similar demographic variations with a big Obama win in Scott County with 162,000 residents, where 6.4% of the population is African American (compared to 2.5% state wide) and which has fewer elderly people and more people below the poverty line than state wide.
  • Linn County with 201,000 people was also a big win for Obama, although the demographic variations are not as pronounced as the other counties.

The largest county Hillary won seems to be Cerro Gordo where she got 39% of the vote to Obama's 30%. (Edwards also got 30%.) It has 44,000 residents, with a higher elderly and white population and lower African American population than the Iowa average.

While Iowa is overwhelmingly white, Obama got his biggest numbers in the counties with larger (less rural) populations that have more minorities and fewer elderly than the state wide average.

(I didn't do a big Edwards comparison, but check out Jasper County where he won big -- it too has fewer minorities and more elderly residents than the state average.)

This might not bode well for Hillary in South Carolina, regardless of the state's past support for Bill -- and other southern states as well. The Wall St. Journal reports today that almost half of South Carolina's voters likely to vote in the Democratic primary are African-American.

This is especially pressing in South Carolina, where as many as half of the voters in the Jan. 26 Democratic primary are expected to be black. Last summer, Mr. Obama trailed Mrs. Clinton among South Carolina's black voters, according to a Clemson University poll, but in recent weeks had taken a slight lead. At the same time, the number of undecided blacks has grown, demonstrating the wide-open status of the state's primary. Black voters are also likely to be critical in the rush of later primaries. Blacks make up 40% of Democratic primary voters in Georgia, a third in Virginia and a quarter in Tennessee. They also make up a fifth of primary voters in New York and 15% in Delaware and Ohio.

Obama is already making his move there.

Friday, some members of the Obama campaign said they began reaching out to black supporters of Mrs. Clinton in an effort to persuade them to switch sides.

South Carolina State Rep. Todd Rutherford, an early Obama backer, said he started calling black supporters of Mrs. Clinton and John Edwards -- as well as those of Joseph Biden of Delaware and Connecticut's Chris Dodd, who dropped out of the race after poor showings in Iowa. Mr. Rutherford said the campaign expects to announce a list of new endorsements from black South Carolinians as early as Tuesday. "I tell them, you don't want to be on the wrong side of history," he said. ....

Rutherford predicts Obama will "run away" with South Carolina. Another state senator disagrees:

"Not only have we not lost them, they are more energized than ever," said state Sen. Darrell Jackson, one of Mrs. Clinton's political consultants and the pastor of a Columbia, S.C., megachurch.

Mr. Jackson said he rejects the idea that Mr. Obama will get a boost among black South Carolina voters simply because of race. "We want an America where we go in that booth and we don't consider color," Mr. Jackson said. "When we say that race and color and gender should not matter, that also has to apply to African-Americans when they view other African-Americans. I would not want a white South Carolinian to go in the booth and say, 'I have got to vote for one candidate on the basis that they're white.' "

The experience factor and the youth card also come into play here.

Mr. [Andrew]Young, the civil-rights leader and former Atlanta mayor who has endorsed Mrs. Clinton, said in an interview Friday that Mr. Obama has "all the raw materials" and would be his candidate of the future, but only after Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Young said he still believes Ms. Clinton is the most prepared candidate and "the only one tough enough to stand up to the assault that is inevitable in the general [election]." Mr. Young said the Iowa results were "tremendous" due to the unexpectedly large turnout, particularly among younger voters.

"Unfortunately, since a lot of them are young people, they tend to get what we used to call 'Freedom High,"' he said. "They get excited about something but can't sustain it. I hope that this is sustainable."

The factors are out there: Race, youth and a promise of change vs. a known quantity with experience. Now we just see how it plays out. South Carolina will be very interesting.

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    so here's the analysis (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by along on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 02:05:03 AM EST
    Here's a comparison of available info from one Iowa county.

    Carroll County

    Here's the info at the DMR site

    and here's what MSNBC has.

    The DMR has results from each county, down to the precinct level. But they still do not include actual vote tallies.

    So starting with one precinct:
    Arcadia Precinct saw an unknown number of caucusgoers.

    After they allocate and reallocate, the raw head count for each candidate means that County delegates are apportioned like this:
    Clinton  1
    Edwards  2
    Obama    2

    All 12 Precincts do the same thing, and the final County delegate count is as follows:

    Barack Obama  54   
    John Edwards   48   
    Hillary Clinton   43   
    Bill Richardson  10   

    Then those numbers are converted into "State delegate equivalents", using a formula unknown to me.

    Those State delegate equivalents are:

    Barack Obama  5.57
    John Edwards   4.95
    Hillary Clinton   4.44
    Bill Richardson  1.03

    Those numbers are then converted into simple percentages:

    Barack Obama  34.8%
    John Edwards   31.0%
    Hillary Clinton   27.7%
    Bill Richardson  6.5%

    THOSE are the percentages reported (and rounded up or down) on DMR, MSNBC, and NYTimes. They are NOT equivalent to actual votes.

    And finally, the craziest thing is that the numbers MSNBC is reporting as "Votes" are simply the State delegate equivalents with the decimal point removed:

    DMR Carroll County:
    Barack Obama  5.57
    John Edwards   4.95
    Hillary Clinton   4.44
    Bill Richardson  1.03

    MSNBC Carroll County:
    Barack Obama  557   
    John Edwards   495   
    Hillary Clinton   444   
    Bill Richardson  103

    I don't see how simply multiplying the State delegate equivalent by 100 could reproduce the actual head count for each candidate.

    FWIW. :)

    I don't think the Dem percentages (none / 0) (#1)
    by along on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:40:38 AM EST
    in that map are actual vote tallies (unlike the Repub percentages in the county map on the same page). Everything I've read says that the Iowa Dem Party does not release the actual vote count. (Although people are already talking about it, and maybe they will release, but I haven't found it yet.)

    I'm pretty sure those percentages reflect the candidate's total allotment of delegates won in each precinct in the county. A hypothetical example: 4 from precinct 67, 2 from P. 23, etc. adding up to X  delegates for Clinton in Fremont County, which computes to 42%.  

    There are also caucus rules and formulas applied at some point, so i'm not sure if those percentages correlate in a one to one relationship with the actual vote.

    I didn't use the map for the numbers (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:50:47 AM EST
    in this post. I used the numbers in the alphabetical list of county vote tallies.  I then looked up the census numbers for the counties with the largest number of votes last night and those in which Obama had the largest percentage of win over Hillary.

    although I just looked at (none / 0) (#3)
    by along on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:51:25 AM EST
    the MSNBC numbers, and they are presenting them as actual vote tallies. So I could be wrong about that.

    ha, virtual (none / 0) (#4)
    by along on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 12:53:04 AM EST
    simulposts. the Times and MSNBC percentages do seem to be identical.

    wow. I think (none / 0) (#5)
    by along on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 01:12:15 AM EST
    I've just discovered that even though those MSNBC tallies look like actual votes, they're really not. If you're still into this, you want to get into the weeds with me? I'll try to write it up if I can get my head around it.

    sure (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 01:32:13 AM EST
    but I have to go to sleep, I just got back from Iowa a few hours ago and have been online non-stop and I'm numbers fried right now. How about tomorrow?

    thanks very much for offering.


    totally! (none / 0) (#7)
    by along on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 01:33:24 AM EST
    get some rest. thanks for all your amazing work.

    Jasper County (none / 0) (#9)
    by Amylew on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 08:00:14 AM EST
    FYI, Jeralyn.  Jasper County is where the Maytag plant shut down (Newton, IA).  

    counties with big universities - (none / 0) (#10)
    by teacherken on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 09:55:13 AM EST
    DesMoines of course has Drake university, and it is the largest city in the state, and hence Polk County has those influences.

    But remember, Scott is the county holding Ames (Univ. of Iowa) and Johnson has Iowa City (Iowa State).   I was watching the returns from there as an indicator of how much influence the college age vote might have.

    FWIW -  the percentages of SDE that are being reported underreport the actual disparity of turnout.  What I am hearing is that if we had counted the number of actual supporters statewide, Obama would have beaten Clinton by around 20 points.  That may be why they are so scared right now.   Regardless of current polling data, they could potentially lose by double digits in both NH and SC, particularly if that massive level of turnout continues:  the additional participants will not all be older white women.

    No, Teacherken (5.00 / 0) (#11)
    by Amylew on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 10:22:38 AM EST
    You're off on your cities/universities.

    Iowa State in Ames is in Story County

    University of Iowa in Iowa City is in Johnson County.

    Scott County (Davenport/Bettendorf) has St. Ambrose, and has two of the four Quad Cities, with the other two being in Illinois (Rock Island and Moline).


    I knew it as soon as I posted (none / 0) (#12)
    by teacherken on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 10:29:33 AM EST
    but you cannot edit a comment, and the specifics were not as relevant as the general idea.  Sorry about that -

    thanks for the correction.


    Let us not forget... (none / 0) (#15)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 04:02:42 PM EST
    ...the state's 3rd largest university, UNI (Northern Iowa) is in Cedar Falls, which is also in Black Hawk county.

    The 2006 census estimate for (none / 0) (#13)
    by JSN on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 10:46:38 AM EST
    Johnson County gives between 4,200 to 5,200 African-American
    residents a very large range. I think they were undercounted because there are 1,900 Afro-American students in the Iowa City School system or 40% of the total Black population where students of all-races make of 10% of the county population.

    Even the census will tell you that Hispanics are undercounted because they so suspicious of government they won't cooperate with the census.

    In other words Iowa is White dominated but there are more minorities than the census indicates.

    A Good Analysis (none / 0) (#14)
    by archpundit on Sat Jan 05, 2008 at 11:27:41 AM EST
    I may try to pull the numbers later, but the other county to keep an eye on is Black Hawk County where Waterloo is located. It and Des Moines are the two historic communities with significant African-American populations. That's especially relevant because of the way the social fabric there is different from other communities--the importance of the historically black churches and other social networking effects that are likely happening in South Carolina.

    Anecdotally, in St. Louis we already have state legislators who endorsed Clinton, switching their allegiances.  At a mock caucus on Iowa's caucus night the loudest Obama supporter was an African-American State House Member who up until 2 weeks ago had endorsed Clinton.  

    err... (none / 0) (#16)
    by archpundit on Sun Jan 06, 2008 at 01:39:10 AM EST
    I needed some rest too.. clearly you did mention Black Hawk County...