Clinton scores vital win over Obama in Pennsylvania

Democratic presidential candidate hopes 10-point win will spur improbable comeback.

clinton shouts 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
clinton shouts 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton scored a resounding win Tuesday over her rival for the nomination, Barack Obama, keeping her campaign alive by reasserting her strength among key voting constituencies. Those groups include women, working class whites, and in this state, the Jewish community. Though she has lost out to Obama among Jews in other places, despite being favored to dominate the Jewish vote when the presidential campaign began last year, in Pennsylvania she emerged the clear favorite among the demographic group. Clinton beat Obama 62 percent to 38% among Jews, according to an MSNBC exit poll. The survey found that Jews represented 8% of the voting public, significantly more than their proportion of the population. Among all voters, Clinton won 55% to Obama's 45%. That margin, while a blowout by typical election standards, helped Clinton stay in the race by pointing to a significant wellspring of support, but might not do enough to swing the nomination her way. Thanks to a proportional split of the vote, she only picked up an estimated nine delegates more than Obama did on Tuesday, an insignificant number given his lead of more than 150 nationally, which makes it almost impossible for her to win based on the remaining primary votes alone. Obama has also prevailed in a greater number of states that she has and is well positioned for upcoming contests in North Carolina and Oregon. Clinton, however, is looking for a victory in Indiana, which will go to the polls along with North Carolina on May 6, based on a coalition similar to the one that propelled her to victory in Pennsylvania. That helps her argument - that she is the candidate who can win among the white blue collar voters crucial to a general election victory - but may not be enough to sway the superdelegates who are set to ultimately decide which candidate earns the party's nomination. The results Tuesday did seem to do enough to extend that decision-making process through the next several states, however, and increase the possibility of the call being made at the party's nominating convention in Denver at the end of August. "We're going to go through the next nine contests and I hope to do well in many of them... but I'm confident that when delegates - as well as voters, like the voters of Pennsylvania just did - ask themselves who's the stronger candidate against John McCain, that I will be the nominee of the Democratic party," she said. At a victory rally in Philadelphia Tuesday night, Clinton told wildly cheering supporters, "The tide is turning." "Some counted me out and said to drop out," Clinton told supporters cheering her triumph in a state where she was outspent by more than two-to-one. "But the American people don't quit. And they deserve a president who doesn't quit either." Only half of each Democrat's supporters said they would be satisfied if the other won the nomination, according to interviews with voters as they left polling stations. Obama was flying to Indiana when the race was called for his rival and only learned the outcome on landing. "After 14 long months, it's easy to forget what this campaign's about from time to time," Obama told a rally in Evansville, Indiana, conceding that the Pennsylvania race turned nasty. "It's easy to get caught up in the distractions and the silliness and the tit-for-tat that consumes our politics, the bickering that none of us are entirely immune to, and it trivializes the profound issues: two wars, an economy in recession, a planet in peril, issues that confront our nation. That kind of politics is not why we are here tonight. It's not why I'm here, and it's not why you're here." AP contributed to this report.