By Aaron Kinney
Friday, February 8th, 2008 at 2:25 pm in 2008 Presidental Race, Aaron Kinney, Barack Obama, Colma, Democratic Party, East Palo Alto, Elections Office, Hillary Clinton, San Bruno, San Mateo County.
So where did it all go wrong for Barack Obama on Tuesday? He appeared to be gaining in polls of California voters leading up to the election, the Bay Area seemed to be a receptive environment for his campaign and he even looked to have run a better grassroots campaign in San Mateo County.
Meanwhile, the campaign of Hillary Clinton appeared to skirt the county, focusing on San Francisco and then skipping down to Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. For example, a listing of local events on Clinton’s Web site on the weekend before Super Tuesday contained multiple entries for Santa Clara County and not a single one for San Mateo County.
Several things appeared to have been at play. For one, we learned all over again that polls are fallible. In particular, a Zogby poll that showed Obama surging into the lead statewide turned out to be flat-out wrong.
And the spin/assertion that John Edwards’ departure from the race would help Obama just never materialized. Or maybe it simply came too late in the game to do Obama any good. After all, county voters’ preference for Vote by Mail ballots meant that a good 70,000 people had already voted by Election Day. Edwards still got 4.2 percent of the vote (3,522 votes) and the Insider is willing to bet that a good many of those votes were cast not by deeply confused or obstinate people but by those who mailed their ballots in before he dropped out.
As soon as the first vote totals (comprised mainly of absentee ballots) were announced Tuesday night, Clinton took a commanding lead and never relinquished it.
California exit polls showed something interesting. According to CNN’s survey, Clinton got the votes of the less educated and less well-off, while Obama had the advantage among highly educated people and those making more than $100,000.
Perhaps it’s the case that, while Obama captured the imagination of the political cognoscente, those with the time and inclination to follow politics closely, the candidate’s appeal just hadn’t filtered down to the working class, who recognized Clinton’s name and face from nearly two decades in the national spotlight.
One other thing: The county Elections Office has a fantastic new tool that allows Internet users to view the results of Tuesday’s election precinct-by-precinct on Google Maps, yielding a geographic picture of how the county voted.
Sorting through the results, you’ll find that Obama won along the coast, in East Palo Alto and other southern parts of the county, while Clinton was in control in northern communities around Colma and San Bruno. Give it a whirl, it’s pretty interesting.