What numbers matter in the exit polls tonight?
In a post on The Primary Source, Peter St. Onge of the Charlotte Observer puts his finger on three:
The White Vote for Clinton, 65 percent: The Clinton campaign has focused its campaigning largely on the white, blue-collar vote in North Carolina. Hillary Clinton has spent most of her time away from the big cities here, and husband Bill has toured dozens of rural N.C. towns and smaller cities. If the exit polls show Hillary Clinton winning more than 65 percent of the white vote, that'll mean those small-town voters have turned out for her. Without that number, she likely won't win.
The African-American turnout, 35 percent: The big question among pollsters this week is how many blacks will vote in North Carolina. In 2004, 32 percent of N.C. voters were black. In early voting this year, the total was just more than 40 percent. The latter total is likely due to Obama's significant get-out-the-vote efforts, but if Obama can approach that number today - say, a 35 percent black turnout - his win will be more than five points. If the turnout is less than 30 percent, Clinton will be celebrating.
The Meck Vote, 200K: You'll likely be reading about busy precincts and record turnout in Mecklenburg County today. The more voters that show, the better the news for Obama. Mecklenburg offers his best demographics - young voters, black voters, better-educated voters. If the Democratic primary vote approaches 200,000 here, that's good news for him.