Clinton wins in Puerto Rico, CNN projects
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton
will win Puerto Rico's Democratic primary by a wide
margin, CNN projects, giving her the larger share of
the territory's 55 delegates.
As polls closed, it was too early to determine the
exact margin of victory.
Clinton's campaign has been arguing that a landslide
victory would push her ahead in the popular vote and
help her convince superdelegates to pick her instead
of Sen. Barack Obama.
To cross that threshold, she would need to win 65
percent of the vote with a turnout of at least 2
But Luis Hector, an elections official, said only 1.5
million ballots were printed and predicted turnout
could be as low as 500,000 voters.
"Most people in Puerto Rico, I would venture to guess,
they are not even aware that there's a primary going
on," said Luis Pabón-Roca, a local political analyst.
He said the political atmosphere on the island this
week is subdued compared to the fever that sweeps the
island before local elections.
Part of the reason for the lack of interest, he said,
is because voters feel the primary isn't meaningful,
since Puerto Ricans cannot vote in the general
The Democratic and Republican parties run the
primaries and caucuses, and they allow U.S.
territories, such as the commonwealth of Puerto Rico,
to take part in the process.
But only the 50 states and the District of Columbia
vote in the general election.
A group of demonstrators gathered at a polling
location Sunday to protest the idea that the island
territory would participate in a mainland vote.
The issue of statehood appears to be dividing
supporters of Clinton and Obama, according to CNN's
exclusive exit polls.
Neither candidate has taken a direct position on the
issue, though Puerto Rico's former governor, who has
advocated statehood, supports Clinton.
Among Clinton supporters, 72 percent want Puerto Rico
to be a U.S. state, 23 percent want it to remain a
commonwealth, and 2 percent want it to be an
But among Obama supporters, 57 percent want Puerto
Rico to stay a commonwealth while only 34 percent want
statehood. Eight percent want it to be an independent
The primary season ends Tuesday when voters in Montana
and South Dakota weigh in in the lengthy nomination
battle. Those states have a combined 31 delegates up
Obama campaign spokesman Robert Gibbs said he expects
Obama to clinch the nomination in the coming days.
"If not Tuesday, I think it will be fairly soon," he
said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."
"We hope this week, absolutely," he added.
Going into Sunday's contests, Obama leads in the
overall delegate count -- 2,051 to Clinton's 1,877.
Clinton gained some ground Saturday following the
Democratic National Committee's decision to seat the
delegations from Florida and Michigan.
The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee reinstated all of
Florida and Michigan's delegates to the national
convention, with each state getting a half-vote to
penalize them for holding their primaries earlier than
party rules allowed.
The DNC panel's move gave Clinton 87 delegates and
Clinton has been campaigning hard in Puerto Rico, with
both husband Bill and daughter Chelsea making the
"Chelsea and I and Hillary have now been to 42 of
Puerto Rico's municipalities campaigning for the votes
of the people of Puerto Rico," former President
Clinton said Thursday.
"She represents more Puerto Ricans than anyone in the
world except someone who is elected here. Send the
message back to the mainland on Sunday that Puerto
Rico deserves to be considered and its potential is
unlimited if only you had a genuine partner in the
The senator's popularity on the island caught the
attention of one of the island's most famous pop stars
Ricky Martin endorsed Clinton for the Democratic
nomination, saying, "Whether fighting for better
education, universal health care and social
well-being, as first lady and senator from New York --
representing millions of Latinos -- she has always
fought for what is most important for our families."
Obama briefly campaigned last weekend in Puerto Rico.