This is a big win in a big state with big implications for a general election.
Obama beat Clinton 59/40 among Democrats.
But Independents and Republicans made up nearly 30 percent of the electorate in Virginia, and Obama took those voters by (roughly) 70/30.
By contrast, only 34 percent of (a much smaller pot) of Independents supported Senator McCain in the GOP race. Once I’ve got hard vote numbers I’ll try to quantify that more precisely, but here’s the point: In a head-to-head matchup, with Obama and McCain both on the ballot, vyying for independent support in an open primary, Obama kicked the Mac’s 70-year-old backside.
While that certainly puts some muscle into Obama’s electability cred, other numbers from tonight suggest he’s changed the status quo of this race against Clinton.
Obama took the Latino vote 55/45 over Clinton. (It’s a small, 5 percent sample, so throw in a large grain of salt, but that’s major movement.)
Among men and women, blacks and whites, the only Demographic that gave Clinton the edge were white women. But even there the margin was only 55/45.
The biggest surprise of the night, however, may be that Obama and Clinton split the Senior vote right down the middle: 50/50.