February 12, 2008
(AP) Senator Barack Obama was drawing strong support across race and gender lines Tuesday in Virginia that showed signs he was eating into the core voters of his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Obama was getting the backing of two-thirds of men and nearly six in 10 women, according to preliminary data from exit polls of voters conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks. In previous Democratic presidential primaries, Clinton - the New York senator bidding to become the first female president - has carried a slight majority of women while Obama has enjoyed support from slimmer majorities of males.
In another setback for Clinton, she and Obama were dividing whites about evenly, with Clinton leading among white women but Obama getting more than half the votes of white men, the early figures showed. She has long held a clear advantage among white voters.
Obama had an even bigger margin among blacks than usual, as the Illinois senator seeking to become the first black president was winning support from nine in 10.
Clinton's strength was coming from whites calling themselves loyal Democrats, six in 10 of whom were behind her. Though that group made up the bulk of voters, six in 10 white independents were backing Obama, and that along with his overwhelming support from blacks was helping his prospects in the state.
Older whites were also leaning Clinton's way. Obama was winning among all voters under age 60 - including getting eight in 10 votes of those under age 30 - and was splitting those over age 60 of all races about evenly with Clinton.
As usual, Obama was getting huge support from people saying it is time for change, who made up more than half the Virginia Democratic vote. A quarter were seeking experience, and virtually all of them were backing Clinton.