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Clinton projected to win Nevada Democratic caucuses

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/01/19/nevada.sc.main/index.html Clinton projected to win Nevada Democratic caucuses (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 19, 2008

      Clinton projected to win Nevada Democratic caucuses

      (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton will win the Nevada
      Democratic caucuses, CNN projects.

      The New York senator led rival Barack Obama by 8
      percentage points with about half of the precincts

      Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards was a distant

      On the Republican side, CNN projects Mitt Romney as
      the winner of Saturday's GOP caucuses in Nevada, based
      on entrance polls and early returns.

      Romney was cruising with 55 percent of the vote in
      early returns, but a dogfight was on for second place.

      Romney issued a statement Saturday afternoon.

      "Today, the people of Nevada voted for change in
      Washington. For far too long, our leaders have
      promised to take the action necessary to build a
      stronger America, and still the people of Nevada and
      all across this country are waiting.

      "Whether it is reforming health care, making America
      energy independent or securing the border, the
      American people have been promised much and are now
      ready for change," the statement said.

      Sen. John McCain and Rep. Ron Paul were in a close
      race for second place, ahead of former Arkansas Gov.
      Mike Huckabee and former Sen. Fred Thompson.

      Also on Saturday, Republicans were voting in a primary
      election in South Carolina, where results were
      expected to come in later. Video Watch how candidates
      are competing in South Carolina »

      The two contests could propel two candidates to
      front-runner status and winnow the field in this
      year's wide-open presidential races. Photo See scenes
      from Saturday's races »

      McCain was seeking to extend polling hours in South
      Carolina after learning voting machines in the eastern
      part of the state were malfunctioning, according to a
      lawyer for his campaign.

      "Human error" was to blame for putting voting machines
      offline in 80 percent of Horry County's precincts,
      county spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said.

      By 4 p.m. ET, only about four of the county's 118
      precincts were without a working machine, she said.

      Economic issues were foremost in the minds of Nevada
      GOP voters, and that worked in favor of Romney, who
      has earned a reputation as a successful businessman.

      In a CNN entrance poll Saturday morning, 38 percent of
      Nevada caucus participants cited the economy as their
      most important issue.

      Of those, 47 percent said they were caucusing for
      Romney, and 26 percent favored Paul.

      The second most important issue for Nevada Republicans
      was illegal immigration, at 34 percent.

      Nevada marks the second straight win for the former
      Massachusetts governor, following a win in the
      Michigan primary earlier in the week.

      Even though the Republican Party cut in half the
      number of delegates the state party can send to the
      national convention as punishment for moving its
      caucuses to Saturday, Nevada has more delegates at
      stake than South Carolina.

      In a presidential race that's increasingly coming down
      to who has the most delegates, a win helps Romney.

      Romney also benefited from his Mormon religion, the
      poll results show. Romney captured 94 percent of the
      voters who identified themselves as Mormon, which made
      up 25 percent of all Republicans participating in the
      GOP caucuses.

      The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
      estimates there are 170,000 members living in Nevada.

      A win in the South Carolina Republican primary could
      give one of the candidates a foot up in a race that,
      so far, has produced three different winners in three
      major contests.

      "South Carolina is the state where the Republican base
      passes judgment on the candidates," CNN senior
      political analyst Bill Schneider said. "If
      conservatives are going to rally behind any single
      contender, we'll see that happen in South Carolina."

      The weather could become a significant factor in the
      race. Cold rain was falling across the state, and snow
      was reported in spots.

      Snow is rare in South Carolina and brings the state to
      a standstill when it falls, even in small amounts.

      The latest polling in South Carolina had Huckabee as
      the front-runner. An American Research Group poll
      conducted January 17-18 had Huckabee leading at 33
      percent, followed by Sen. John McCain at 26 percent.

      Thompson was at 21 percent and the poll found and
      Romney was running fourth at 9 percent. All other
      candidates were in single digits. The poll's margin of
      error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

      No GOP candidate has gone on to win his party's
      nomination without winning South Carolina since Ronald
      Reagan won there in 1980, but, with the race so
      volatile, that may not hold true this year.

      "Right now, conservatives are split. Economic
      conservatives like Mitt Romney, social conservatives
      like Huckabee, and military conservatives like John
      McCain," Schneider said. "They could end up just as
      divided after the South Carolina vote.
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