Pretty shocking results on the Democratic side, not necessarily a bad development in the grand scheme. On the Republican side, McCain puts a period on a stunning reversal of fortunes. My two cents on why the polls, pundits (and myself) were wrong, what turned the race for Clinton.
The weather was beautiful and warm, a fact which generally means better turnout amongst older voters. By all accounts, older voters decidedly went to Clinton. Clinton also seemed to score very well with women voters, many of whom changed their minds in the last 24 hours. McCain was able to draw a bigger percentage of independents to the Republican Primary, this fact hurt Obama in the end.
There has to be a moment here, because apart from partisan fanatics, there wasn't one columinist that saw this result coming. The press reacted to yesterday's "teary" plea by Clinton with uneven reaction. Apparently, the voters reacted in different fashion, Clinton became sympathetic and the soft voter turned back to her in the end. You don't see a wave stop abruptly, unless it meets something powerful, to my mind this was that moment, which wasn't properly accounted for.
No Democratic that has won the first two contests has failed to win the nomination. With a Clinton win tonight, the race is wide open and a period of sober thought will follow. Despite what looked inevitable, it is a positive development that this race slows down, people can weigh the options, some of the rock star hysteria wanes. Super Tuesday is now what it was intended to be, which makes for a fascinating few weeks.
On the Republican side, McCain's win today sends him off to Michigan, a state he won in 2000. Romney staggers on, pocketbook in hand, but tonight is a devastating loss. Anyone who reads this blog will be aware that I picked up on McCain through the fall, which I offer as balance for the blindside on the Democratic side :)
I'm actually glad that tonight went down in this way. Despite trying to read the tea leaves, that doesn't translate to an endorsement of what can happen in politics. This race really shouldn't end in such short order, whether empirically, philosophically or strategically. Obama may well be the real deal, but the Democrats are better served if he stands in the glare for a time first, to see more layers. Tonight the process wins, let's see what happens.