Back to the Democratic race, late deciders were particularly poor for Clinton; among those who made up their minds the final days, Obama won 32 percent, Edwards, 27, Clinton just 20. And in a contest in which turnout was seen as crucial, first-time caucus goers, who accounted for 57 percent of Democratic participants, favored Obama, 41 percent, over Clinton, 29 percent, or Edwards, 18 percent. Among repeat attenders, Edwards led slightly.
Beyond Obama's victory, further damage was done to Clinton by her extremely close contest with Edwards in final (more so than initial) preferences. The reason was that people who supported non-competitive candidates went disproportionately away from Clinton for their second choice.
The entrance poll found that among those caucus-goers, about a third each went for Obama or Edwards as second choice, vs. 14 percent staying "uncommitted" and just 11 percent for Clinton -- another rebuke to the national front-runner.
Contributing to this story were Rich Morin, Bob Shapiro, Peyton Craighill, Pat Moynihan and Brian Hartman.