Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Hillary won Pennsylvania

Go to Politico original
For all the campaigning and money spent, Hillary Rodham Clinton won Pennsylvania with the same base of white women, working-class voters and white men that revived her candidacy in Ohio last month. The demography that has defined the Democratic race went largely unchanged, according to exit polls.

To Clinton's relief, Pennsylvania proved more of a repeat of her win in Ohio rather than an echo of Wisconsin, where Obama won with the support of white men and blue-collar Democrats while neutralizing Clinton's base of white female support.

There were few surprises in Pennsylvania, according to the exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for television networks and The Associated Press. Clinton held about 65 percent of white women and about 55 percent of the key swing bloc of white men, a strong showing though slightly weaker than her Ohio showing.

Clinton has now won white men in 12 states and Obama has done the same in 10 states.

Obama did win more than nine in 10 black voters, continuing his unbroken support of African-Americans. And Clinton continued her trend of winning white women in all but a couple of contests. But other trends may prove disconcerting for Obama.

Obama won six in 10 voters age 29 and under. But Clinton split young white voters, as she did in Ohio. In early February, Obama heavily lost whites in Missouri but narrowly won the state with the help of 57 percent of the white youth vote.

Young Democrats made up only 12 percent of voters, however. In comparison, fully 22 percent were age 65 and older. Clinton won more than six in 10 senior voters while winning a majority of all voters 40 and older.

Also similar to Ohio, Clinton won nearly six in 10 of those voters without college degrees, a strong indicator of working class status. Obama's bus tour and advertising blitz targeting working-class voters appears to have had little effect. The same can be said for the row over Obama's remarks about "bitter" Midwestern small town voters, though that too was expected, as polling indicated that it was mostly non-Democrats who were offended.

Obama won only a slight majority of voters with college degrees, again largely reflecting the Ohio results. That is a disconcerting result for Obama, as the Illinois senator needed to dominate voters with higher levels of education to overcome Clinton's advantage in the state. It has been Obama's base of blacks and highly educated whites that has formed the bedrock of his victories throughout the primary race.

Clinton won about six in 10 of those who had decided in either the past three days or the past week whom they were going to support, again mimicking Ohio. One in four Pennsylvania Democrats decided their vote in the past week. Six in 10 voters said they chose their candidate more than a month ago, a higher proportion than usual and one more indication that many Pennsylvanian Democrats had their vote resolved early on in the race.


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