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Clinton, Romney Big Winners in Nevada

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 19, 2008 9:19PM

2008_1_romney_wins_nevada.jpgWith lots of delegates and potential momentum going into Super-Duper Tuesday, Nevada's primary has been both contentious and significant this year. Earlier this week a federal judge settled a lawsuit brought by the Nevada Teachers Union that should have helped Obama. Instead, with more than half of the precincts reporting, CBS, CNN and other major news outlets are projecting Clinton the winner today. Mitt Romney was the big winner in the GOP caucuses, taking his third primary win, and some serious momentum heading into Florida.

A definitive win in Nevada is good news for Romney, who less than a month ago looked like he might not make it past New Hampshire. He benefited both from the Mormon vote (94 percent of voters who identified themselves as Mormon supported Romney, making up 25 percent of all Republicans participating in the GOP caucuses), and from his reputation as a successful businessman. Economics has been a key issue in the Silver State.

Clinton's win was far less commanding, leading Obama by a scant five points. Although the voting in Nevada was harder to predict going in, with no clear front runner and an unpredictable caucus, it appears that the strength of Culinary Workers union's endorsement of Obama wasn't as powerful as some thought. Most workers took an hour lunch to come and vote, but as the caucuses stretched past an hour, some left to return to work. Caucuses are complicated and political events by nature, and it appears that Culinary didn't do the best job explaining the nuances of how it works to its membership. Also helping Clinton was the female vote. The overall impact of the Latino vote remains unclear, but in the "at-large" precincts in Nevada, it looks like Latina women were behind Clinton.

Even if Romney does poorly in South Carolina, a 40 point win in Nevada will be hard to ignore. With Romney building momentum, and gender transcending race in the Democratic primaries, wins in South Carolina could be anomalies rather than indicators this year.

Images via AP, and Hillary Clinton