Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hillary Loses Her Base

By John Helton
(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama's wave of momentum got bigger on Tuesday. And while Sen. John McCain might not have turned the corner, he can now peek around it.

Barack Obama won the demographics on Tuesday that have been Clinton's strengths.

1 of 2 Obama scored a breakthrough win in the Potomac primaries by cutting into Sen. Hillary Clinton's base and winning across the demographic board.

Obama won by overwhelming numbers: In the District of Columbia, he won with three-quarters of the vote. In Maryland and Virginia, he won with two-thirds.

The Illinois senator won the women vote. He won the white vote. He won the elderly vote. He won the Latino vote. He won among every income level.

Obama's sweep of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia primaries propelled him past Clinton in the race for Democratic delegates for the first time. Watch how results change the game »

Coupled with the five contests he took over the weekend, Obama's winning streak might not make next week's primary in Wisconsin a must-win state for Clinton, but a loss there could make the March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas do-or-die for the New York senator.

Wisconsin should be tailor-made for Clinton -- a rust-belt state with a large blue-collar vote -- the same kind of voters who got her campaign back on track last month in New Hampshire a few days after Obama's stunning win in the Iowa caucuses. See CNN analysts break down results, look ahead »

But the state also has a large student population and a progressive tradition -- the kind of voters who have gone for Obama in earlier contests.

If Tuesday's trends hold, Obama could take away Clinton's strengths. She has kept pace with Obama by winning among voters age 65 and over, among women and among those making less than $50,000 a year, according to exit polls.

On Tuesday, she won none of those.

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