So, About Those At-Large Caucuses ...

So, About Those At-Large Caucuses ...

So, About Those At-Large Caucuses ...

A campaign blog.
Jan. 20 2008 11:22 AM

So, About Those At-Large Caucuses ...

You may have noticed our

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with Nevada’s electoral wild card, the at-large precincts. These special caucuses, held in nine of the largest Las Vegas casinos, were supposed to give Obama an edge; people figured the culinary workers who worked there (and who endorsed him) would put down their spatulas and turn out for Obama in droves.



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Well, consider this the latest death blow to the conventional wisdom. (A phrase that, after this election cycle, should probably be retired. It’s been that wrong.) Just

from the casinos:


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The Bellagio – Clinton: 58.06% Obama: 41.94%
Luxor – Clinton: 44.16%  Obama: 55.84%
Mirage – Clinton: 53.62% Obama: 46.38%
Rio – Clinton: 64.29% Obama: 35.71%
Caesar’s Palace – Clinton: 48.48% Obama: 51.52%
Paris – Clinton: 68.85% Obama: 31.15%
Flamingo – Clinton: 51.02% Obama: 48.98%
Wynn – Clinton: 50.63% Obama: 49.37%
New York, New York – Clinton: 58.82% Obama: 41.18%

As you can see, Clinton won in seven of the nine at-large precincts. So much for Bill’s

. And good thing that lawsuit failed, right?

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So what happened? As usual, the explanation is as unsatisfying as the prediction. Here’s one possibility: The turnout at the casinos was

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than expected. (Only about 160 people showed up to the Caesar’s Palace caucus; the Wynn, which was expected to draw 1,000 people, had less than 400.) And those who did turn out didn’t swing toward Obama any more than the rest of the state.



Ironically, this means the at-large precincts helped Hillary more than they helped Obama—and for the very reason the NSEA filed its lawsuit. The one scenario in which individuals at the casino caucuses would have

—super high statewide turnout, coupled with super low at-large turnout—turned out to be the case. But instead of helping Obama, as predicted, it gave Hillary a boost.



In other news, down is up, the sky is green, and a school of fish just cycled past my window.