Obama Scores a Resounding Win Over Clinton in the City

Mayor Adrian Fenty (D-D.C.) talks with the Post's Marc Fisher and Newsweek's Michael Isikoff about the District's primary results Tuesday night. Video by & Newsweek
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama convincingly won the District's Democratic primary, outpolling Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton by more than 3 to 1.

In results from 139 of the city's 142 precincts, Obama (Ill.) received 85,534 votes to 27,326 for Clinton (N.Y.). Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) easily won the city's Republican primary, receiving 3,929 in the 139 precincts. Mike Huckabee garnered 961 votes.

Polls in the District closed at 8 p.m. But about 10 p.m., minivans used by the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics to deliver ballots were still being escorted into the Judiciary Square loading dock. Officials said weather played a role in the delayed delivery.

Getting an early indication of the District results was also difficult because no exit polling was done in the city.

The National Election Pool, a news media consortium that sponsors exit polling, did not conduct such surveys in the District because of the relatively small number of delegates at stake in the city's primaries, a spokesman for the election pool said.

"The District of Columbia has the smallest number of delegates of all states holding primaries, tied with Delaware," said the spokesman, Jack Stokes of the Associated Press. He said exit polling was done in Delaware on Feb. 5 only because "it was a Super Tuesday primary state, and the NEP wanted a complete picture of that historic night."

The pool "historically has not polled in every primary," Stokes said.

Thirteen Democratic delegates were at stake in the District yesterday, compared with 70 in Maryland and 85 in Virginia.

As for the turnout in the District, "it appears to be high, certainly higher than our election in the presidential primary four years ago," said Alice Miller, executive director of the Board of Elections and Ethics. "It was about 12 percent four years ago, and 8 percent before that."

The election pool is a consortium of the news divisions of the major television networks -- CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN and Fox -- and the Associated Press. Since 2003, the group has sponsored exit polling conducted by two opinion and marketing research firms, Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

The Edison-Mitofsky partnership had problems in the 2004 presidential election, when leaks of incomplete polling data to the news media raised the misleading expectation that Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) would defeat President Bush.

Since then, the polling companies have decided not to deliver exit polling data to the major election pool clients and subscribers, including The Washington Post, until 6 p.m. EST to limit the possibility of repeating what occurred in 2004.

-- Sylvia Moreno, Paul Duggan and Clarence Williams

© 2008 The Washington Post Company