POLITICO.COM – by David Paul Kuhn – March 5, 2008
Hillary Rodham Clinton won back her base in Texas, and with it a narrow victory in the state.
Clinton split white men and won six in ten white women. Barack Obama’s strength among blacks was neutralized by Clinton’s continued strength among Hispanics, according to the exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International for television networks and the Associated Press.
In important respects, Clinton’s Texas victory mimicked the coast-to-coast contests of Super Tuesday.
Clinton won six in ten Hispanics, as she had a month ago. Obama won nine in ten blacks, as he had in early February. In Texas, Hispanics constituted a larger portion of voters than blacks, by 10 percentage points.
White men, as they were a month ago, were divided between Obama and Clinton.
Obama narrowly won the large cities, half of Texan Democratic voters. But Clinton ran away with the support of those in small cities and rural areas.
Obama did win six in ten voters age 29 and under, including Hispanics. But more seniors voted than youth. And elderly voters backed Clinton by a two-to-one ratio.
Obama won a majority of college graduates. But Clinton won a majority of those without college degrees — a larger share of Texas Democratic voters.
Obama won a slim majority of independents and Republicans. But about 65 percent of voters identified as Democrats; Clinton won a majority of them.
Point by point, Clinton’s strength overwhelmed Obama’s.
As it had been early on in the race, Clinton’s bloc of Hispanics and white women was simply too unified in Texas. Obama’s inability to win white men, as he recently had until Tuesday’s large contests, meant he could not overcome Clinton’s base.
Obama won seven in ten voters who said the capacity to bring about “change” was the candidate quality that mattered most. Half of Texas Democrats also said that was the most important quality.
In comparison, Clinton won nine in ten voters who said experience matters most. They were a quarter of the electorate.
Half of Democrats said economics mattered most, about ten percentage points fewer than in Ohio. This bloc split between Obama and Clinton.
Eight in ten Ohio Democrats believed that U.S. trade with other nations cost jobs. Less than six in ten Texas Democrats said the same.
Obama won only a slight majority of those voters who said the war in Iraq was the most important issue, often a greater advantage for him. A fifth of voters said health care matters most, and Clinton won six in ten of these Democrats.
Texas and Ohio both showed that Clinton’s central criticism of Obama is also beginning to make headway. In both states more than 65 percent of Democratic voters said it was Clinton who “offered clear and detailed plans to solve the country’s problems,” and Clinton won an equal share of their support.
In Texas, like Ohio, more Democrats thought Obama “inspires” and more Democrats thought Clinton would prove a better “commander in chief.”
Voters worried about their “financial situations” leaned toward Clinton. Those not worried backed Obama. But by a two-to-one ratio, Texas Democrats were concerned about their family’s economic stability next year.