After PA win, Clinton appears for donations from supporters
All nets, AP predict Keystone State win
Hillary Clinton scored an expected win over Barack Obama in Pennsylvania's primary Tuesday night, although the true impact and margin of her victory remained to be seen.
Clinton's campaign has focused on arguing that she can win large swing states like Pennsylvania to convince super-delegates to reverse the margin among voter-selected delegates to hand her the nomination.
Fox News was the first to declare Hillary Clinton the winner just before 8:45 p.m.. MSNBC followed suit about five minutes later, calling the Keystone State for Clinton. By 9:05 p.m. CNN called the state for Clinton, joining virtually every other major news organization, including ABC, CBS and the Associated Press.
As soon as Clinton's expected win was made official, attention turned to her margin of victory in the state. Analysts and observers predicted that a close win -- say within 5 percent or so -- would not give Clinton enough of a boost for her to reasonably expect to take the Democratic nomination. A double-digit showing, meanwhile would be expected to give Clinton a strong shot of momentum that Clinton advisers hoped would help her refill her dwindling campaign coffers.
It seemed unlikely that Clinton would win by more than 10 points, but her fundraising did seem to get a shot in the arm. A Clinton campaign official told the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder that she raised $100,000 online within 20 minutes of her being declared the winner.
Looking at early returns from Philadelphia, CNN reported that Clinton was keeping the race close in the city. The vote was nearly split with early returns reported, but CNN's John King said Obama needed to pick up about 100,000 more votes than Clinton in the city and its surrounding suburbs to have any chance in the state as a whole. Clinton was endorsed early on by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, which may have helped her cut into Obama's support in the city.
Pennsylvania's primary came after a six week lull in campaigns. Once all the results are counted analysts will look to see if Obama could improve his standing on his performance among blue collar voters like those who led Clinton to a strong win in Ohio. She won there 54-to-44 percent.
No results came in from the state until about 45 minutes after polls closed at 8 p.m., and networks said the race was too close to call early on.
MSNBC reported earlier Tuesday, "Clinton, independent analysts and the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois had predicted ahead of time that Clinton would win the state, where she enjoyed large leads in opinion polls until recently. But after closing the deficit in the last few weeks, Obama’s advisers said he would have the momentum unless Clinton won by a sizable margin."
"There were few significant reports of voter fraud or other problems at polling places, but the heavy turnout and the twists and turns of Pennsylvania’s election rules meant voters might have to wait as late as Thursday to find out who will have won most of the 158 delegates at stake," MSNBC added (RAW STORY has more on fraud allegations at this link).
Clinton was winning support from two of three whites without college degrees, and about the same number of whites from families earning under $50,000 a year, according to preliminary figures from exit polls of voters conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks. This was one of her stronger performances of the year with these groups, compared to prior competitive Democratic primaries.
There was little indication that Obama was winning over the constituencies he may have offended when he said at a fundraising event that small-town people were bitter and clung to guns and religion as a result. Gun owners, people who attend church at least weekly, and rural residents were all supporting Clinton by margins of about six in 10.
She was also winning among white men, a swing group in contests for far, by about 10 percentage points. Overall, six in 10 whites were supporting Clinton — a slightly stronger showing than usual. That was expected in Pennsylvania because its Democratic voters are slightly older and lower-income than the national average, and those groups have long preferred Clinton.
The state's numerous Catholics and union members were leaning heavily toward Clinton.
Obama, the Illinois senator bidding to become the first black president, was winning support from about nine in 10 blacks, a bit better than usual with a group he consistently dominates. Black voters were only about one in seven Pennsylvania voters, somewhat smaller than average in Democratic voting so far.
In one measure of the excitement the party's presidential fight was generating, more than one in 10 voters had registered as Democrats in the state since the beginning of the year so they could vote in Tuesday's primary. Six in 10 of them were voting for Obama, the exit polls showed.
Obama was also doing well in Philadelphia and its suburbs, where about two-thirds of voters were backing him. The city is home to many black voters, while its suburbs are full of well-educated, liberal whites who have voted strongly for Obama.
Underscoring Obama's lead among delegates and in the popular vote in prior primaries, just over half said they believed Obama would be the eventual nominee. Even so, slightly more voters said they would be satisfied with Clinton as the party's candidate than Obama. And while eight in 10 said they would support Clinton should she run against Republican John McCain, just seven in 10 said so about Obama.
In many ways, voting groups were splitting in familiar patterns. Women, older and less educated voters were decisively backing Clinton. Men, the young and the best educated were in Obama's camp.
About nine in 10 said the country was already in a recession, and the economy was easily considered the country's top problem. Slightly more said Clinton would do a better job handling the economy, though about half said either one would improve it.
The figures came from initial samples of an exit poll conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International in 40 precincts in Pennsylvania for The Associated Press and television networks. There were 1,421 voters in the Democratic primary who were interviewed, for a margin of sampling error or plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Early exit polls results can be read at this link.
(with wire reports)