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Clinton Beats Obama in Texas and Ohio; McCain Clinches Republican Nomination
The delegate picture last night was murky. It appeared that Clinton and Obama would emerge from Rhode Island and Vermont with an equal number. Clinton stands to gain a small advantage from the Ohio results, but Texas was far harder to read. Texas was awarding delegates not only on the basis of its primary but also on the results of precinct caucuses that convened last night after the polls closed.
Because of this and other wrinkles in the Texas system, Clinton's victory in the primary will not necessarily translate into a delegate victory once both contests are counted.
The next big contest will come on April 22 in Pennsylvania. Clinton has the support of Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D), who had predicted earlier that if she won Ohio and Texas, she would easily win his state.
Before Pennsylvania come the Wyoming caucuses on Saturday and the Mississippi primary next Tuesday. Both are considered strong Obama states and his advisers predicted he would offset any loss of delegates in yesterday's contests with victories there.
But the race could well go through Puerto Rico's June 7 primary with no clear outcome. That would bring the issue of what to do with delegations in Michigan and Florida, which were barred from the national convention because they moved up their primaries in violation of party rules. Clinton has called for those delegations to be seated, which Obama has opposed. Party officials now may need to begin to find a compromise acceptable to both sides.
Exit polls showed that Clinton won in Ohio and Texas by reassembling the coalition that had been the backbone of her support before Obama began his winning streak after Super Tuesday: women, white working-class voters and Latinos.
She won women in Ohio and Texas by double digits and broke about even among men in both states. She won among white women in both states by wide margins and also won among white men in Ohio by 21 percentage points.
In Texas, she carried Latinos, who made up more than a third of the electorate, by more than 2 to 1.
She won self-identified Democrats in both big states. She ran evenly with Obama among independents, normally a strong constituency for him.
The biggest margins for Clinton came among white, non-college-educated voters. She was running about 25 percentage points ahead among these voters in Texas and led by nearly 40 points in Ohio. Non-college-educated white voters made up almost half of the Ohio electorate.
The foundering economy was overwhelmingly the dominant issue in Ohio, with about 3 in 5 voters calling it the country's biggest problem. In Texas, about half of yesterday's voters cited the economy as the No. 1 issue. Iraq and health care trailed in both states.
Clinton's aggressive campaign appeared to have swayed voters, particularly in Texas. Of the roughly one-fifth of Texans who said they decided on a candidate in the final three days, Clinton was winning by more than 20 percentage points. In Ohio, about a quarter said they had made up their minds in the final three days. Clinton was winning decisively among those voters as well, but by a considerably smaller margin.