Pa. Hillary supporters go for Obama

November 5, 2008 12:42:24 AM PST
Many Pennsylvania Democrats who wanted Hillary Clinton to represent their party in Tuesday's presidential election were won over by Barack Obama, an exit poll by The Associated Press found.

Obama lost to Clinton in the state's April primary, and 1 in 5 Democrats who wanted her to win the nomination said they voted for McCain, the poll found.

But a vast majority of Clinton supporters clearly embraced Obama, including Dale Hutchison, a transportation planner for school districts.

Hutchison, 50, from the Pittsburgh suburb of Dormont, said Obama and Clinton had similar platforms.

"It wasn't always going to be who the Democrat was, but they were similar on the issues and so far away from John McCain that it became a no-brainer," Hutchison said.

Philadelphia postal worker Kenny Lawrence, another Clinton supporter, said he decided to vote for Obama around the time of his third debate with McCain. Lawrence, 63, said Obama's popularity among youth helped sway him.

"Seeing how so many of the young folks have gotten involved, it has given me hope that they are looking toward the future," Lawrence said.

Obama fared well among working-class voters who were important to Clinton's primary election victory. Roughly two-thirds of voters whose total family income was less than $50,000 in 2007 said they voted for Obama. He also held an edge among voters whose family incomes were $50,000 or more.

Both candidates attracted support from the opposing party, but Obama received slightly more support among Republicans than McCain did among Democrats.

Bill Englebrecht, 58, was among the Republicans who defected to Obama. Englebrecht cited his dissatisfaction with President Bush's job performance and said McCain did not convince him that he would do any better.

"Eight years of Republicans in power is enough," Englebrecht said after voting at an Allentown church.

Bush received a strong disapproval rating from Pennsylvania voters, and more than half said the economy is the most important issue facing the country.

Most voters said race was not an important factor in the general election, and even voters who said it was favored Obama.

McCain supporter Josh Stehly, 32, an insurance representative and former Marine, said race was a "semi" issue for him. He said he would have liked to see Colin Powell become the nation's first black president and was disappointed that Powell endorsed Obama.

Stehly, who also voted in Allentown, said he believes blacks are voting for Obama out of racial solidarity.

White voters were evenly divided between the two candidates, while blacks and Hispanics voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

Obama was the clear favorite among young adults ages 18-29, but he also did well among the 45-64 age group. Voters 65 and older were about evenly divided between Obama and McCain.

Obama carried most Pennsylvania regions, while McCain prevailed in the state's historically Republican midsection, the exit poll found.

The exit poll of 2,567 Pennsylvania voters was conducted for AP by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International in a random sample of 50 precincts statewide. Results were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, higher for subgroups.

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Methodology details: http://surveys.ap.org/exitpolls/


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