Jews, Hispanics help Clinton win New York

Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Democratic primary in her home state of New York with strong support

Hillary Rodham Clinton won the Democratic primary in her home state of New York with strong support from Jewish and Hispanic voters, who favored her over Barack Obama by wide margins.

On the Republican side, John McCain won among men and women and in every age group, according to exit polls for The Associated Press and television networks.

McCain ran strongest among voters who said their candidate’s personal or leadership qualities were more important than his position on the issues. He led Mitt Romney narrowly among those who said issues were more important.

In Rudy Giuliani’s home state, only about half of Republican voters said Giulani’s endorsement of McCain after dropping out of the race was very or somewhat important in their decision.

“I wasn’t a Giuliani supporter, although I respect him,” said Stephen Piccininni of Chappaqua. “McCain had the most experience. … He’s someone who knows the process and I think has the right solutions for Iraq and the economy.”

Among Democrats, New York voters split evenly on whether Bill Clinton’s involvement had helped or hurt his wife.

Some 16 percent of New York’s Democratic primary voters were black, and they supported Obama over Clinton by three to two while Clinton won the much larger white vote by a similar margin. Obama’s share of the black vote was much smaller than in other states voting Tuesday, where he was winning an average of eight out of 10 black votes.

Sixteen percent of New York’s Democratic primary voters were Jewish, and two-thirds of them voted for Clinton, slightly higher than her percentage of the overall white vote.

Women backed Clinton by three to two, while men were almost evenly split between Clinton and Obama.

Clinton won about three-quarters of the Hispanic vote in New York, slightly better than elsewhere in the U.S., where she was gaining the votes of roughly six in 10 Hispanic voters.

But Democratic voters said overwhelmingly that their candidate’s race and gender were not important factors in their decision.

“I believe her health care plan is better than Obama’s,” said Sarah Repucci, who voted for Clinton in Manhattan. “I think she has a more comprehensive plan for all Americans.”

Voters over 60 chose Clinton by three to two, while those under 30 favored Obama by a similar margin.

Half of New York’s Democratic voters said the most important factor was that their candidate “can bring about needed change,” and that group chose Obama by a wide margin. One quarter said experience was the most important factor, and almost all of them chose Clinton.

Half of the voters said they would be satisfied if either Obama or Clinton won the Democratic presidential nomination.

Two groups that supported Romney over McCain were voters who said most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be deported and those who said they strongly approve of the U.S. war in Iraq.

McCain led among voters who said illegal immigrants should be offered a chance to apply for citizenship or allowed to stay as temporary workers. Those who disapproved of the war in Iraq or approved only somewhat also backed McCain.

Results were from interviews of 1,393 Democratic primary voters and 695 Republican primary voters conducted by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International in 35 precincts across New York State on Tuesday. Margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points for the Democrats and plus or minus 6 percentage points for the Republicans.

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