Women voters continued to rally behind Hillary Clinton this week, helping her to retain a slight lead over Barack Obama in the race to pile up enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination. The gender gap especially helped Clinton in California, where turnout among men was a little low, and Clinton’s overwhelming lead among Latinos helped her win in the delegate-rich state. “This election remains about personalities and constituencies and not about issues or ideology," said Democratic pollster Peter Hart. (San Jose Mercury News)
What the commentators said
“Here’s what was clear from Super Tuesday,” said Margery Eagan in the Boston Herald. “If Hillary beats Barack, it’ll be women who put her over the top.” Women are turning out in droves this year, and most of them are going for Clinton. Seeing a woman’s name on the ballot makes them think of all the husbands and bosses who ever “derided their abilities." It makes them think of their daughters, “who might finally grow up to be president, too.” Obama is a “fine guy,” but he can’t compete with that.
In Massachusetts, “every alpha male in the state” from Ted Kennedy on down endorsed Obama, said Gail Collins in The New York Times (free registration). And “Democratic women then stampeded to the polls in a great show of enthusiasm for ignoring their advice.” Women, especially older women, “are risk averse,” so choosing between a senator with a “long history of working on useful but unglamorous children’s programs” and a newcomer talking about hope is a no-brainer for them. “Hillary would be winning the women’s vote this year even if she’d been a man. Although that’s a concept I’d rather not dwell on.”
Women are just one of the “twin pillars” that put Clinton over the top in California, said Cathleen Decker and Phil Willon in the Los Angeles Times (free registration). Latinos backed Clinton by a 2 to 1 margin. Clinton enjoys loyal support from Latinos, who remember the prosperity they “enjoyed during her husband's administration.”
Obama isn’t giving up on bringing Latinos into his camp, said Jill Lawrence in USA Today. Fast population growth has given Latinos new electoral clout, and that has “ignited the first spirited battle for Hispanic votes in a primary season.” Obama’s outreach has boosted his numbers as primary season progresses, but so far it hasn’t been enough to help him win in heavily Hispanic states.