Obama wins Georgia's Democratic primary, CNN projects
(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama will win Georgia's
Democratic primary, CNN projects, but the Republican
race there is too close to call.
Early results showed Obama with a 2-1 lead over rival
Hillary Clinton in the first state to close its polls.
CNN projections show a tight three-way race among
Republicans John McCain, Mitt Romney and Mike
As in South Carolina, African-American voters made up
just over half the turnout in Georgia's Democratic
primary -- and exit polls indicated that Obama took
about 80 percent of that vote.
And his nearly 40 percent showing among white voters
was an improvement over South Carolina, where native
son John Edwards was also in the mix.
As polls begin to close, candidates were awaiting
results from the 24 states holding primaries or
Republican conservative voters appear to be evenly
split between Romney and Huckabee, according to
preliminary exit polls of Super Tuesday voters.
Of those who voted for Huckabee or Romney, about 80
percent identified themselves as conservative,
according to the polls.
Only 49 percent of McCain's voters said they were
conservative, a sign that the Arizona senator's
efforts over the last week to placate conservative
voters has not paid off.
On the Democratic side, early indications suggest it
could be a long night, according to CNN senior
political analyst Bill Schneider. Those who made up
their mind in the last three days appear to be torn
between Obama and Clinton.
According to the exit polls, Obama and Clinton are
essentially splitting those voters, with 47 percent
going for Obama and 46 percent for Clinton.
Huckabee scored the first Super Tuesday victory,
winning all 18 delegates at stake in West Virginia --
partially with the help of McCain's backers.
"It gives us some real wind to our backs as we go into
tonight," the former Arkansas governor said after
casting his own ballot in Little Rock.
Huckabee won with the support of 52 percent of the
state's GOP convention delegates on the second round
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, came in
second with 47 percent of the vote, and McCain was
backed by 1 percent of the delegates.
Romney was ahead in the first round of voting in
Charleston but failed to get the majority needed to
It appeared supporters of McCain, who placed a distant
third on the first ballot, moved over to Huckabee,
helping him carry the day.
Romney's campaign was furious over the "Washington
"Unfortunately, this is what Sen. McCain's inside
Washington ways look like: He cut a backroom deal with
the tax-and-spend candidate he thought could best stop
Gov. Romney's campaign of conservative change," read a
statement from Romney campaign manager Beth Myers.
Huckabee chuckled at the remark.
"I thought he was saying yesterday, 'No whining.' So
is it no whining or whining? He can't even keep a
straight answer on the 'whining or no whining'
question," Huckabee said.
"There was no backroom deal," he added. "There wasn't
even a front room deal. There was no deal."
Front-runners McCain and Romney have engaged in bitter
exchanges over their conservative records in recent
weeks. Video Watch how CNN analysts view the GOP race
"This is raw politics as it's really practiced," CNN
senior political analyst Bill Schneider said. "The
McCain supporters who were third in the first round
decided to throw their weight behind Mike Huckabee in
order to stop Mitt Romney from winning this
convention. And look at that -- they did."
With 24 states and American Samoa holding primaries or
caucuses, Super Tuesday is virtually a national
primary day and a pivotal day in the Democratic and
Republican races for the White House.
Some of the biggest prizes of the primary season --
California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Missouri
and Georgia -- are up for grabs.
There will be complete results coverage all day and
through the night on CNN TV and CNN.com.
With no sitting president or vice president running
for the first time in decades and wide-open races in
both parties, a record number of voters has headed to
the polls this primary season.
On Tuesday, I-Reporter Christopher Penn, 32, told CNN
he voted right after the polls opened in Framingham,
Massachusetts. Penn said it was the first time he had
voted in a primary.
"It looks like it's going to be a good primary day.
The only thing that's going to be tricky is the
weather, which is not great, to be charitable. I would
expect that would diminish turnout," Penn, an
independent, said. "But there was quite a good line to
get in there, so it looks like another good day for
I-Reporter Dian Campbell, 55, told CNN she was
determined to caucus for Romney, but first she had to
find a way out of her snowed-in home outside Antonito,
"We've been on the phone to see if we can put together
a snowmobile patrol to pick people up because the
roads in most of the county are impassable," she said.
"We thought we might have to ride horses to get
places, because right now, we can't get anywhere."
More than four-fifths of the 2,025 delegates needed to
clinch the Democratic presidential nomination and more
than 1,000 of the 1,191 necessary delegates on the
Republican side are at stake. Video Watch Time
journalists break down the Democratic race »
Tuesday's results are more likely to decide the
presumptive presidential nominee in the Republican
contest than in the Democratic contest because of the
way the GOP allocates delegates.
Victors in the Republican primaries and caucuses
usually enjoy a winner-take-all delegate system, while
Democrats parcel out delegates on a proportional
On the Democratic side, the surviving contenders are
likely to split the delegates evenly, Democratic
analyst Peter Fenn said.
"I think that Obama clearly has an advantage in those
seven states that are doing caucuses," Fenn said. "I
think she's got to carry the big states that she had
planned on. California is clearly up for grabs now.
... Unless one or the other gets annihilated, I think
they go on to many more Tuesdays." Video Watch
analysts call Obama a rising force »
Clinton cast her ballot in her home state of New York
Tuesday morning. She was joined by her husband, former
President Clinton, and her daughter, Chelsea. Video
Watch Clinton outline her universal health care plan »
Obama started his Super Tuesday on the opposite coast.
During an interview with CNN from San Francisco,
California, the Illinois Democrat promoted his health
care plan, a key issue for California voters. He will
end his day in his hometown, Chicago. Video Watch
Obama tout his health care proposal »
GOP presidential hopefuls Romney, McCain, and Huckabee
will be scrambling for votes throughout the day.
McCain started his day at a rally in New York. "I
guarantee you, as the nominee of my party, I can and
will carry the city of New York as well as the state
of New York, because we know how to appeal to
independents," he told supporters in Manhattan. Video
Watch McCain in the streets of New York »
Romney and Huckabee addressed the West Virginia
Republican convention Tuesday before state delegates
began voting. Video Watch Huckabee address the
Before the voting began, Romney told delegates that
wins in California and other Super Tuesday states
would put him in position to win his party's
"It will indicate the conservative voices in our party
are standing up and saying, 'Wait a second, we want to
make sure that this party does not leave the house
that [former President] Ronald Reagan built," Romney
said in Charleston.
Huckabee said the race should not be about who has the
"I'm almost tied in delegates with those who have
spent 10, 15, 20 times what I have, and it kind of
tells me something -- that maybe that it's time for
the people to pick a president, not the national media
and the pundits to pick our president for us," he said.