Why Clinton Won Pennsylvania

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.

As has been the case throughout the Democratic primary, the economy was the most important issue to voters. Of the more than half of voters who said the economy mattered most, Clinton won a clear majority of their support. About one in four voters said the war in Iraq mattered most to them, and Obama won a clear majority of them. Only 14 percent of voters said health care mattered most, and Clinton won a majority of their support.

Fewer than one in 10 voters said electability mattered most, a trend that has long been true in the primary as Democrats focus less on pragmatism than on personal identity.

A slim majority of Democrats said the capacity to bring about “change” was the candidate quality that mattered most. Obama won seven in 10 of that bloc, but as in other large states, that strength was not enough to overcome their unsympathetic breakdowns by race and gender.

One in four Democrats said experience mattered most and as expcted Clinton won over 90 percent of their support.

Clinton won six in 10 Democrats who had a gun in the home and nearly six in 10 weekly churchgoers. Half of Democratic voters lived in the suburbs and a quarter in small cities or rural areas. Clinton won a strong majority of both groups, while Obama won a strong majority of those voters in cities with populations over 50,000.

Obama won about six in 10 voters from the suburbs and the city of Philadelphia, though only about three in 10 voters overall. Clinton won a strong majority of Democrats in every other region of the state, winning nearly seven in 10 voters in the rural northeast where she has family roots.

Liberal and conservative Democrats effectively split between Obama and Clinton. It was moderates, four in 10 Democratic voters, who went heavily to Clinton’s favor — she won more than six in 10.

Obama won six in 10 new Democrats, but they made up only slightly more than 10 percent of voters. Clinton won more than 55 percent of those Democrats who were registered with the party prior to January.

Clinton's victory with traditional Democrats also carried into strength with blue-collar white men and those from union households; she won a majority of both groups.

More than half of Democrats said they expected Obama to be the Democratic nominee, despite Clinton’s win Tuesday. While the demographic breakdown of the race and the delegate lead of Obama remain largely unchanged as the race pushes on, there were once again disturbing signs for Democrats as they looked toward to the general election.

About one in four Clinton supporters said they would back John McCain in the general election should Obama win, while fewer than one in five of Obama’s voters said they support McCain if Clinton should win.

About 35 percent of Democrats said they would be dissatisfied if Obama won the nomination, while roughly one in four Democrats said they too would be dissatisfied should Clinton win.
  • CBSNews

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