I've now looked at the exit polls for the states where voting closed at 8 p.m. These exit polls are subject to revision as the final results of the election come in, so these thoughts are tentative. They show Barack Obama holding his own, or better, in states like Massachusetts, Missouri, Connecticut, and New Jersey that Hillary Clinton was once way ahead in. In the Northeast, the endorsement of Obama by Senator Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy seems to have had a dramatic effect. In Masschusetts, for instance, voters who decided before a week ago broke for Clinton by 56 to 41, but those who decided in the last week went for Obama by 56 to 44 percent.
In these states, however, the pattern of voting established in New Hampshire has held up, with a few differences: Obama gets the youth vote including that of whites--in Missouri, he lost the overall white vote but he won white voters between 18 and 29 by 57 to 33 percent; he is getting 80 percent or more of the black vote--a clear result not only of Obama's popularity, but of an anti-Clinton backlash after South Carolina; and he is winning among college-educated voters--in New Jersey, for instance, he wins college educated voters by 54 to 43 percent; and he does well--over 40 percent, except in Alabama--among white males.
Clinton, on other hand, is strongest among whites without a college degree--the white working class. In New Jersey, she wins voters without a college degree by 54 to 43 percent. If whites alone were counted, that number would be around 60 percent. She also does well among senior citizens and, of course, white women voters.
In other words, while Obama has clearly caught up to, and perhaps passed, Clinton in the battle for the nomination, they continue to have complementary strengths and weaknesses. To win in November, Obama is going to have do much much better among the white working class--one can assume that he would get Clinton's female voters just as she would get his African American voters. Clinton, on other hand, looks very shaky among white men. There remains a question, too, whether the young voters and independents who have flocked to Obama's banner would vote for her in the fall.
--John B. Judis