McCain Soars; Democrats Sharply Divide

But two in 10 said they were looking mainly for experience, and Clinton dominated on this quality, taking nine in 10, her strongest showing among "experience" voters so far this season. Clinton and Obama split voters focused on a candidate who "cares about people like me."

Younger voters broadly supported Obama, 65 percent to 30 percent. But Clinton came back as strongly among seniors, who made up 19 percent of voters, 63 percent to 32 percent.

Black turnout was about where it was in previous Missouri Democratic primaries, 17 percent of voters, and Obama won 84 percent of them. But Clinton did well with white women, winning them by 59 percent to 38 percent.

Obama challenged Clinton among mainline Democrats, who predominated in Missouri as elsewhere; they accounted for 73 percent of voters and broke 50 percent for Clinton and 47 percent for Obama. Obama won independents — 22 percent of voters — by better than 2-1.

Among Republicans, McCain defeated Huckabee and Romney in Missouri in one of the closest primary races of the night. In the end it may have been the issue of the Iraq War that gave McCain the edge.

Among the 44 percent of voters who said the economy was the country's most important problem, the candidates were about tied. But among the 20 percent of voters citing the war in Iraq, the second most important issue, McCain captured 46 percent of their vote, compared to only 27 percent for Huckabee.

Huckabee pulled in nearly twice as many evangelicals in Missouri as McCain (41 percent to 24 percent, with 30 percent for Romney). McCain won non-evangelicals by the same margin.

Huckabee also easily won voters who said they cared most about a candidate who shares their values; as elsewhere, it was the top attribute. And Huckabee won decisively in Missouri among voters who decided on Election Day; there just weren't quite enough of them for him to take the race from McCain.

ALABAMA — Evangelicals delivered the win for Huckabee in Alabama; he won them, by 12 points, and when a group accounts for three-quarters of voters, that'll do it.

Huckabee also beat McCain by 9 points among conservatives, and by more among "very" conservative voters, 46 percent to 29 percent. McCain won moderates, 50 percent to 31 percent, but they made up only 21 percent of voters.

More than half — 53 percent — of all GOP primary voters in Alabama said it was most important that a candidate shares their values, again the top attribute by far, and Huckabee did particularly well here, beating McCain by 33 points.

McCain did better among those looking for the right experience, beating Romney by 68 percent to 21 percent, but they made up only 19 percent of all voters. Surprisingly, Huckabee narrowly beat McCain among those who preferred straight talk, 41 percent to 36 percent — this worked better for McCain elsewhere, but not so in the Bible Belt.

On the Democratic side, black voters made up 51 percent of the primary electorate — a record share of the primary vote for blacks in Alabama, double their share in 1992 — and their overwhelming support for Obama made up for Clinton's strength among white women and white men alike.

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