Earlier: The polls are closed in Pennsylvania and, The Page says, the race is currently too close to call.
If it remains this close all night, then a lot more people will be sending Hillary Clinton breakup letters. But there’s no reason to think it’s going to remain this close. The earliest returns are almost always way off.
UPDATE: Get comfy:
Suburban Montgomery County won’t have its results until at least 10 p.m. [EST], we just learned from election officials. This is crucial because Montgomery is the third biggest county in the state, and results will be meaningless without Montgomery, which is perceived as tilting toward Mr. Obama.
5:30 p.m. CNN has the exit polls. Clinton won the white vote in every age bracket except for the 18 - 29 year old bracket, which she split evenly with Obama. Voters with more education continued to support Obama at higher levels than less educated voters. Gun owners strongly favored Clinton. Urban voters strongly favored Obama.
Voters who said the economy was their most important issue (55 percent) picked Clinton, voters who said Iraq was their most important issue (28 percent) picked Obama, and voters who said health care was their most important issue (14 percent) picked Clinton.
The black vote is sky-high for Obama and easier to see in the negative: Only four percent of black men voted for Clinton, and only 11 percent of black women voted for her. A majority of white men and women voted for Clinton, but the margins are not nearly as lopsided as with the black vote.
5:50 p.m. Maybe not that long a night after all. MSNBC says that Clinton has won PA. The question, of course, is: By how much?
6:05 p.m. The early spin from the Clinton camp, via Ben Smith:
Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee at the Park Hyatt in Philadelphia tells reporters:
“There’s beginning to be a subtle shift of psychology of a lot of the uncommitted supers,” Elleithee said. “[They] are beginning to wonder why Obama has been unable to win these thing despite all the advantages he has,” Elleithee said.
“There’s a lot of questions that are beginning to surface about him,” he said, while superdelegates are learning that “every time she’s got her back up against the wall, she delivers.”
6:30 p.m. So what’s that margin of victory? Right now, with only 16 percent of precincts reporting, it’s 6 percent.
6:47 p.m. NPR puts Clinton’s victory margin at 8 percent with about 35 percent of precincts reporting. That’s right in the “gray area,” the radio network says, in terms of Clinton claiming a decisive, meaningful victory.
7:07 p.m. Clinton to speak soon in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, with 45 percent of the precincts reporting she’s still at 8 percent.
7:13 p.m. Clinton, about to speak, enters to Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down”…
The crowd goes wild, chanting “Yes she will” as Clinton thanks Pennsylvania and casts herself as the champion of common folk and pocketbook issues. She speaks of gas prices, the economy, and the mortgage crisis—and of waitresses, police officers, and small business owners.
And then she makes a very plain appeal for money. Clinton was heavily outspent by Obama in Pennsylvania and the talking heads are saying she doesn’t have much money left to compete with him in upcoming states.
“We can only keep winning if we can keep competing with an opponent who outspends us so massively,” Clinton says, and then asks people to go to her web site and donate immediately.
Nevertheless, “the tide is turning,” she says.
“Some people counted me out and said to drop out, but the American people don’t quit and they deserve a president who doesn’t quit either… I might stumble and I might get knocked down but as long as you’ll stand with me I’ll get right back up.”
7:45 p.m. Now Obama’s up, with John Mellencamp in the audience and the song “Small Town” playing as he comes on stage…
Obama begins by congratulating Clinton and thanking his supporters. He then says of Pennsylvania:
“There were a lot of folks who didn’t think we could make this a race when it started. Who thought we were going to be blown out… Six weeks later, we closed the gap. We rallied people of every age, and race, and background to the cause. And whether they were inspired for the first time, or the first time in a long time, we registered a record number of voters. And those are the voters that will lead our party to victory in November.”
And then he pivots into a stump speech tailored to Indiana, which votes on May 6. He’s moving on.
8:15 p.m. With about 90 percent of the precincts reporting, Clinton has risen to a 10-point lead. That’s the margin that “conventional wisdom” had been saying she needed for a convincing win—convincing meaning that the chattering classes will now be convinced to give her the benefit of the doubt at least until North Carolina and Indiana vote.
8:30 p.m. That’s all for me folks. I’m off to a previously scheduled, non-political engagement. But keep it churning in the comments. I’m sure there will be more to say—if not about the results, then about the way they’re being spun—before the night is over.