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Why Obama's Wisconsin win is especially telling

February 20, 2008 | 11:12 am

Not so long ago -- like, earlier this month -- one of the dismissive talking points that the Hillary Clinton camp pressed against Barack Obama was that he was winning nominating contests in states the Democratic presidential ticket won't have a prayer of carrying in November: North Dakota, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Nebraska.

Those triumphs, the case went, offered no clue as to whether he would be a candidate capable of putting together a winning electoral college majority later this year.

As Obama's winning streak has stretched to 10, that argument has subsided. And Obama's sweeping victory in Wisconsin should bury it once and for all.

As a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story astutely notes, the win "came in a 50/50 battleground ... that is a virtual must-win for Democrats in November."

How tight have the recent presidential elections been in the Badger State?

Al Gore carried it over ...

 

George Bush in 2000 by about 0.2 of a percentage point. John Kerry slightly improved that margin in 2004, winning it against Bush by about 0.4 of a percentage point -- making it the most closely contested state in that year's race.

In winning Tuesday's primary by 17 percentage points, Obama dominated Clinton among various demographic groups; exit polling showed he won men by more than 2 to 1 (while running even among women) and carried independents by about 30 points.

That latter statistic, in particular, should put to rest any dispute about which of the Democrats would be best equipped to hold Wisconsin for the party in the general election.

-- Don Frederick

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