Clinton slightly trails Obama in The City

With the Democratic picture still murky after scattered wins and losses Tuesday by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the ballots cast by city voters mirrored the close national battle.

With 450 of 580 precincts reporting, Obama garnered nearly 52 percent of the vote to Clinton’s 44 percent, but Obama was losing to the New York senator statewide in the key California primary state.

On the Republican side, Sen. John McCain notched another Super Tuesday victory, defeating former governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney in California and taking firm control of the GOP race in San Francisco.

There are 228,691 registered Democrats in San Francisco and 43,534 registered Republicans, according to city election data. Caitlin Mattisson, casting her ballot at a Folsom Street polling place, voted for Obama.

“His speeches are always very beautiful and eloquent. There is kind of a Kennedy thing going on there for him,” she said.

Polls across the Golden State showed Obama close quickly on Clinton during the campaign’s final days and indicated a monster turnout for Tuesday. But late results from the California Secretary of State showed Clinton leading Obama 54 percent to 33 percent with the state’s 370 delegates up for grabs. Galen Gruman, voting at a Noe Valley polling place said it was a “tough choice.”

“[Clinton has] been able to draw support from both Democrats and Republicans on some key issues,” Gruman said.

In San Francisco, many political observers expected the young senator from Illinois, who burst onto the national scene at the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston, to carry the vote in The City because the perception of him as an “insurgent candidate.”

The City’s influence on the campaign is more symbolic than mathematical, said San Francisco State politics professor Graham Boushey.

“Because we’re a strong blue city we have such a large percentage of Democrats, it’s a good indicator of how these two national politicians are going to do with habitual Democrats,” Boushey said.

Super Tuesday saw minor hiccups in The City with incorrectly assembled voting machines jamming and polling places not opening up on time, but both problems were quickly corrected, said John Arntz, the City’s elections director.

dsmith@examiner.com

Examiner Staff Writer Will Reisman contributed to this report.

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