Final Preparations Underway for Super Tuesday

February 3, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Local election officials expect to see a record-setting turnout.Valley Republicans and Democrats call this the most wide-open presidential race in half a century prompting an unusually high number of new voters: 20,000 since last year.

Victor Salazar, Fresno County Clerk, says "We think this is going to be a record-setter- we're predicting here in Fresno County between 60% & 65% voter turnout."

There are about 16,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats in Fresno County but Victor Salazar says Democrats are gaining ground along with Independents.

Fresno County Democratic chair Joel Murillo thinks Hillary Clinton will likely win California and Fresno County.

"Probably more because she came to the city in October, but I think voters are more likely to vote for Hillary Clinton even if she had not come here," says Murillo.

But he also admits high voter turnout could mean a win for Barack Obama. "With regard to Independents and people who are not decided yet- that is where Barack Obama is going to gain," says Murillo.

On the Republican side John McCain may lead in California polls but the chair of the Fresno County Republicans doesn't think he'll do as well here.

Fred Vanderhoof, Fresno County Republican Party, says "We see a lot of passion for Romney, Mike Huckabee, and even Ron Paul; not as much for McCain in the central valley."

For the first time California will not be a win or take all for Republican candidates so local Vanderhoof doesn't think Tuesday will determine the nominee.

"It's by district, and there are 53 different districts, so we could see McCain take so many, and Huckabee a few and Romney take a few also. So we won't know."

More people are voting by mail this primary. 154,000 absentee ballots have gone out in Fresno County but less than half have been returned.

Both parties will see some early absentee votes wasted in those already cast for Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards who have since dropped out.

Polls open 7 am Tuesday morning and will be open until 8 Tuesday night.

Election officials warn absentee ballots must be received by 8 pm on Tuesday and they can be turned in at any polling place.

New Poll Shows Obama Closing In On Clinton

A startling surge of support for Barack Obama has catapulted him to within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in California.

A new field poll this weekend shows Clinton leading Obama 36% to 34%.

18% of Democratic voters are still undecided, so the election appears to be up for grabs. Clinton was up by 12% just two weeks ago.

On the Republican side, John McCain lengthened his lead over Mitt Romney. The Arizona Senator is up 32% to 24%.

13% of Republicans support Mike Huckabee and 10% back Ron Paul.

Just two months ago, McCain only had the support of 12% of California Republicans.


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