Missouri: Still in question

February 5, 2008 9:52:11 PM PST
Candidates in both parties were locked in tight contests for one of the biggest Super Tuesday prizes, with Barack Obama coming from behind to challenge Hillary Clinton and Republicans Mike Huckabee and John McCain also in a race too close to call.Obama had 48.9 percent of the vote to Clinton's 48.3 percent, with 98 percent of Missouri's precincts reporting. The Associated Press initially declared the New York senator the winner based on a review of vote results, exit polling and an analysis of outstanding precincts, but withdrew that declaration as Obama gained and then narrowly surpassed Clinton.

Clinton doubled and even tripled the Illinois senator's vote totals in some rural, predominantly white counties. The Illinois senator kept the race close by racking up leads in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas, home to many of Missouri's black voters and among the last areas to report results.

McCain had 33 percent to Huckabee's 31.7 percent. The Republican statewide winner receives all 58 Missouri delegates to the national convention.

The 72 Democratic delegates are awarded proportionally, based partly on the statewide results and partly on congressional district results.

All five leading Democratic and Republican candidates made weekend campaign stops in Missouri leading up to the primary. Prospective voters were targeted repeatedly with telephone calls and TV ads.

Missouri is considered a bellwether state because its voters have come down on the side of the winner in every presidential election except one in the past 100 years. In 1956, Missourians narrowly chose Democrat Adlai Stevenson of neighboring Illinois instead of Republican President Dwight Eisenhower.