Super Tuesday, at least for John McCain
Hillary Clinton won important victories in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Super Tuesday. She won more votes than Barack Obama in four of the five biggest states holding polls, including California. John McCain won the Republican primary in California and in enough other states to gain a clear lead in his party’s nomination race. By correspondent Reinout van Wagtendonk
Recent opinion polls indicated that Barack Obama’s fortunes were on the rise. But, just as a month ago in New Hampshire, the forecasts that Hillary Clinton would face a painful defeat on Super Tuesday proved incorrect. As well as in California, she won in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Of the five biggest states voting on Super Tuesday, only his home state of Illinois gave Barack Obama victory. Senator Clinton addressed her jubilant supporters in New York: "Tonight, in record numbers, you voted not just to make history but to remake America. People in American Samoa, Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Tennessee and the great state of New York...". She was unable to continue for the cheering of the crowd.
However, Mrs Clinton’s Super Tuesday gains fail to clinch the Democratic Party nomination for her. Senator Obama won more states and, although she won more delegates overall than her rival, the margin was nowhere near enough for her to claim to be the clear front-runner.
The victory in Massachusetts was the Clinton camp’s most important morale booster. Senator Ted Kennedy is extremely popular in the Democratic stronghold state, and he campaigned powerfully for Mr Obama. Massachusetts’ other senator, John Kerry, and its governor, Deval Patrick, also backed Mr Obama, but Mrs Clinton still took the state.
Speaking in Chicago, Mr Obama gave no indication that he feels he has been defeated: "Our time has come. Our movement is real. And change is coming to America."
Firm figures show that he again secured the support of the majority of black voters. A clear majority of younger voters also backed him. However, Hillary Clinton is strong among the white female and the Latino electorates, and the latter group may well have clinched her victory in California.
Super Tuesday has provided a clear front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Senator John McCain definitely wore the mantle of favourite when addressing his supporters: "Tonight I think we have to get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party front-runner for the nomination...".
He now has a clear lead over the two remaining Republican hopefuls, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee.
The nomination battles carry on with some smaller polls on Saturday and Sunday, and, next Tuesday, primaries are being held in Washington DC and in the neighbouring states of Maryland and Virginia. Democratic Senator Obama has the advantage of being substantially ahead in the amount of campaign funds he has managed to collect. He can now spend much more than Senator Clinton on advertising and the like. This could prove an importance advantage.
6 February 2008
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