February 19, 2008
WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama won the Wisconsin primary Tuesday night, his ninth straight triumph over a fading Hillary Rodham Clinton in their epic struggle for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Obama cut deeply into Clinton's political bedrock, splitting the support of white women almost evenly with the former first lady and running well among working class voters in a blue collar battleground, according to polling place interviews.
The economy and trade were key issues in the race, and seven in 10 voters said international trade has resulted in lost jobs in Wisconsin. Fewer than one in five said trade has created more jobs than it has lost.
McCain won the Republican primary, with ease, dispatching former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and edging closer to the 1,191 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination at the party convention in St. Paul, Minn. next summer.
The Associated Press made its calls based on surveys of voters as they left the polls.
In a scarcely veiled attack on Obama, the Republican nominee-in-waiting said, "I will fight every moment of every day in this campaign to make sure that Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change."
Independents cast about one-quarter of the ballots in the race between Obama and Clinton, and roughly 15 percent of the electorate were first-time voters, the survey said. Obama has run strongly among independents in earlier primaries, and among younger voters, and cited their support as evidence that he would make a stronger general election candidate in the fall.
Wisconsin offered 74 national convention delegates. There were 20 delegates at stake in caucuses in Hawaii, where Obama spent part of his youth.
Obama began the night with 1,281 delegates in the AP count, and Clinton with 1,218. It takes 2,025 to win the nomination at the party's national convention in Denver.
Obama began the evening with eight straight primary and caucus victories, a remarkable run that has propelled him past Clinton in the overall delegate race and enabled him to chip away at her advantage among elected officials within the party who will have convention votes as superdelegates.
The Democrats' focus on trade was certain to intensify, with primaries in Ohio in two weeks and in Pennsylvania on April 22.
Obama's campaign has already distributed mass mailings critical of Clinton on the issue in Ohio. "Bad trade deals like NAFTA hit Ohio harder than most states. Only Barack Obama consistently opposed NAFTA," it said.
Obama was in Texas, which has primaries and caucuses on March 4,
and Clinton was in Ohio as the votes were counted in Wisconsin.