NBC's AnaMaria Arumi analyzed the exit polls from last night to explain Clinton's victory. Clinton rode to victory in Pennsylvania lifted by support from demographic voter subgroups that have lined up for her in earlier primaries. Clinton won seven in 10 votes from white Catholics in the Keystone State, and six in 10 votes from white women, voters with a high school education or less, and seniors aged 65 and older.
WHITE CATHOLICS: The New York senator did much better among white Catholics than she did among white Protestant voters. In several other states with big Catholic populations this year, she also did better among Catholics than Protestants, but these differences were not as large. Here she did 13 points better, but in Wisconsin the difference was just 7 points, same in New York, and 5 points in New Jersey. In Ohio, there was essentially no difference in the vote of white Catholics and white Protestants.
White Catholics made up more than a third (37%) of all voting in yesterday's primary -- and they will be an important swing voter group for the fall. The exit polls show Clinton doing much better than Obama among this group is a test election against John McCain. Eighty-two percent of white Catholics in PA said they would vote for Clinton if she's the party's nominee, while just 12% would defect to McCain. By contrast, a smaller percentage -- 59% -- of white Catholics said they would cast a ballot for Obama if he's the Democratic nominee running against McCain. Also, a higher percentage -- 21% -- said they would cross party lines to vote for McCain. Another 17% said they would stay home and not bother to vote.
RACE: Voters were again asked, as in previous contests, how important the race of the candidate in deciding their vote today. Most voters said it was not important, but some said it was. Among white voters, 16% said race was important; 83% said it was not a factor. This is virtually identical to what we saw in Ohio, where 18% of white voters said race was important. Now, that 16% among white voters was higher among certain groups -- just a little more than one-in-10 white voters in the Philadelphia area said race was important. By contrast, nearly two in 10 among white voters in other parts of the state said it was important. And non-college graduate white voters were about twice as likely as college graduates to said race was important to them. Clinton won a sizeable majority -- 75% of the vote -- among these voters. Clinton also won among white voters who said race was NOT important, but by a smaller margin (58% to 41%).
IN TOUCH' AND HONESTY: Both candidates have had to deal with particular lines of attack from their critics -- changes of dishonesty and lack of trustworthiness in Clinton's case (Bosnia), elitism in Obama's case (after his small-town remarks). Obama was seen as more honest and trustworthy (68% said he was, 32% said he's not) than Clinton (56% said she was, 44% said she's not.)
The Boston Globe: "Two million Pennsylvania voters played to type yesterday, hewing to the demographic loyalties set forth in earlier contests: Older, Catholic, and working-class white voters stuck with Hillary Clinton, and new, highly educated, and black voters went for Barack Obama. Exit polls and interviews with voters suggested that the disruptions to the race - including controversies over Obama's pastor, his comments about small-town bitterness, Clinton's claims of facing fire in Bosnia, and a high-profile debate that touched on all those subjects - had little influence on the hardened demographic divide within the Democratic Party."