Latinos, Women Boost Clinton to Victory

California's swing voters.

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SAN FRANCISCO—Barack Obama-mania may have swept through other states, but Hillary Clinton's powerful coalition of women and Latinos in California was strong and shows few signs of fracturing.

"It's become a real firewall for her," says Jaime Regalado, executive director of the Edmund "Pat" Brown Institute at Cal State University-Los Angeles. "I don't think anyone expected that."

Nearly 60 percent of women here voted for Clinton, as did more than two thirds of Latinos, whose turnout made up 29 percent of the vote. Older voters, too, stuck by her. More than 1 in 4 voters were 60 or older, and Clinton won 55 percent of their vote. She earned the trust of middle-class voters as well: Sixty percent of those earning $50,000 or less a year supported her.

Obama, for his part, continued to be a huge draw for independents. He enjoyed a 23-point advantage among "decline to state" voters, but it wasn't enough to make up for Clinton's 21-point advantage among registered Democrats. Surprisingly, he and Clinton split the youth vote. Clinton won 51 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, many of them young Latinos, who supported her by a margin of more than 2 to 1. There were a few bright spots in the state for Obama: He won half the white vote and was especially popular among white men, 55 percent of whom voted for him (compared with 35 percent for Clinton).

Most important, the overall result was close enough to split the state's delegates roughly in half. California may have made the battle lines clearer, but this race is still on.