Clinton pulls ahead – but just barely

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The latest from KOB (they’ve had some of the best info, IMO) has Sen. Hillary Clinton up by 210 votes, while Sen. Barack Obama was ahead this morning. However, if I’m reading their story right, Rio Rancho’s results still haven’t been tallied:

State Democratic Party leaders said 16,871 provisional ballots were being counted Wednesday.

At noon Wednesday, four precincts still had not reported their vote totals. They included three precincts in Rio Arriba County and one in Sandoval County where Rio Rancho voters experienced extremely long waits at the city’s only polling location. Some reported taking three hours to cast their ballots.

Also, the state Democratic Party’s Web site is less than helpful at 2:30 Eastern time (sorry, stuck in D.C. mode):

And it’s a toss up

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Looks like New Mexico is continuing in its tradition of not picking a winner outright, and making the nation cool on its heels while the Land of Enchantment counts ballots:

New Mexico’s Democratic caucus remained unsettled early Wednesday morning as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama were separated by just 117 votes with nearly 17,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted.

With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Clinton held 65,845 votes, or 42.97 percent, while Obama held 65,728 votes, or 45.89 percent.

State Democratic Party leaders said 16,871 provisional ballots were still to be counted Wednesday morning starting at 9 a.m.

The CNN site for New Mexico doesn’t even have that much information, while the vote tally section of the New Mexico Democratic Party is still lacking information on Bernalillo, Doña Ana and Grant counties.

Hopefully the picture will firm up by the time LP comes on.

New Mexico Exit Poll Breakdown

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(Update: I should mention that this information should be taken with a grain of salt, because I have no idea how reliable the data is.)

LP has already mentioned the overall results indicated by CNN’s exit poll ((905 respondents — candidates who dropped out are still included in the exit poll for some reason)) from New Mexico. However, I wanted to take a look at a few things that stand out to me, notably this response:

Top Candidate Quality

This indicates to me that Obama’s message of change played a very large role in New Mexicans’ decisions in this election. “Change” was the most important issue for more than half of all voters, and they voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

More breakdown of the exit poll after the flip: Continue reading…

Accountability in an election year

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Jane at FDL informed us that Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama will be voting “no” for the cloture in the RESTORE Act (FISA reform bill) this afternoon. Tim over at OpenLeft commented on the expectations game for the two presidential candidates:

Look, it’s certainly great news they will be voting the right way here, but let’s be honest, so is Jay Rockefeller. This isn’t a tough vote. And frankly, they were gonna be back in D.C. anyway for the State of the Union.

And while we should be doing everything we possibly can to ensure we have the 41 votes necessary to stop cloture, it’s a vote that I don’t think is in doubt at this point (hope I don’t have to eat those words).

The real test of their leadership on this issue will come on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

That seems about right, but there’s one problem: there’s no real accountability on this issue this year, unless it comes during the primaries. While I’d love to see the media showcase any opposition to the RESTORE Act (in its current form) I doubt we’ll see much in the next week before Super Tuesday. However, regardless of what happens during the primary, there’s no way to really hold either candidate responsible: Democrats will coalesce behind the nominee regardless of their leadership (or lack thereof) on the FISA bill.

I agree with something Matt said yesterday:

One more reason to think that the weakness and conflict-aversion of the congressional Democrats is a bigger source of their low approval ratings than is any alleged overreaching. The President is very unpopular and people are apparently desperate for Congress to play a bigger role.

It would be something to see one of these Senators step up on this issue and really use the weight of their candidacy to lend support to Sen. Chris Dodd and his filibuster efforts. But you can color me skeptical: while there’s plenty of incentive for them to take a stand, there’s little in the way of a downside if they acquiesce.