After losing in New Hampshire and Nevada, US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama had won a crucial victory in the state of South Carolina. Clinton came in second while Edwards came in third.
The victory of Barack Obama in South Carolina looks to be the biggest margin of victory in a Democratic primary. This win comes after a racially energized competition that would serve as a precursor to Super Tuesday, which is the coast-to-coast competition for over 1,600 national convention delegates. Super Tuesday is February 5.
“The choice in this election is not about regions or religions or genders,” Obama had said in remarks prepared for a victor rally. He would add: “It’s not about rich versus poor, young versus old and it’s not about black versus white. It’s about the past versus the future.”
His fellow Democratic hopeful and rival, Hillary Clinton had issued a statement saying she had called Obama to congratulate him. Clinton would change focus to the Super Tuesday primaries.
“For those who have lost their job or their home or their health care, I will focus on the solutions needed to move this country forward,” Hillary Clinton had said.
Obama won 54 percent, Clinton won 27 percent, while Edwards had 19 percent of the vote. This primary offers 45 Democratic National Convention delegates. This also brings the indication of the political appeal of Obama in a state with a large black population.
About half of the Democratic primary electorate was African-American according to the exit polls conducted by CBS News. An overwhelming 80 percent had thrown their support towards Obama. Obama had received only 24 percent of the white vote while Hillary and Edwards both received 38 percent of the white vote.
Women by a vote of 53 percent supported Obama. That also includes 79 percent of African American women.
The main issue in voters of South Carolina was the economy, followed by health care, and then the Iraq war. About 9 in 10 Democratic voters in South Carolina said that the country’s economy was in bad shape.
55 percent of the Democrats of South Carolina felt that Obama is the candidate to unite the country. 47 percent said that Obama is the one most likely to defeat a Republican in November. 26 percent said that Hillary is the candidate to unite the country with 36 percent saying she was most likely to win.
While all three contenders campaigned on the day of the primary, only Edwards and Obama had arranged to speak to supporters after the polls. Clinton headed directly towards Tennessee which is one of the 22 states holding Democratic primaries and caucuses on Super Tuesday.