Barack Obama won the South Carolina Democratic primary on Saturday with a convincing 55% of the votes cast. As big as that win is, what might be an even bigger story is the ongoing record turnout of voters for Democratic primaries and caucuses around the country. In South Carolina, more than 532,000 people went to the polls. That’s an increase of around 240,000 over 2004, and it’s also 87,000 more than the turnout for the Republican primary last week. Could South Carolina end up blue in November?
Obama followed his South Carolina win with a town hall meeting at Bartow Arena here in Birmingham yesterday. The Birmingham News, known for its tendency to low-ball attendance figures, reported that more than 11,000 people came to the event. By contrast, Mike Huckabee, who should be a favorite in Alabama if you believe all the stereotypes about redneck Bible-beaters*, only drew an estimated 2,200 for his appearance at Samford University on Saturday.
Eleven thousand, huh? I doubt that many people will watch tonight’s State of the Union address. Voluntarily, anyway. This could be a very good year for Democrats. Knock on wood.
* I’m not claiming that all the people who went to see Huckabee are redneck Bible-beaters; I’m just poking back a bit at the conventional wisdom around the blogosphere that the mere fact of growing up white in the South guarantees one will be a redneck Bible-beater. If that were true, Huckabee, a white Southern Baptist preacher, would have drawn a much larger crowd.