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Obama Breaking Voting Patterns, McCain Has Weak Showing

AP

I blogged on Monday about the pattern of support that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have attracted in Democratic nomination contests up to now. The key to breaking the deadlock of their close race is breaking that pattern.

Has that now happened?

It's the question of the Democratic race after last night's lopsided Obama victories in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Across lines of race and education and age and income, Obama ran even or ahead of Clinton.

That hasn't happened nearly so clearly before in multiple contests. It doesn't mean Clinton cannot come back and restore her base of women, blue collar whites, Hispanics and seniors in Ohio and Pennsylvania on March 4th. But it does suggests she's in danger of seeing the balance of the race tip against her.

The Republican story last night was fascinating. John McCain's campaign sweated for hours before learning that the front-runner had edged Mike Huckabee in Virginia.

In the end McCain got the victory, but it was a weak showing that suggests he'll have a real fight to hold Virginia in the GOP column in November. And it's one more warning sign of McCain's vulnerability on the right--to a third party candidacy, or simply to subpar turnout.

You can see the unofficial results by clicking on the state below:

Maryland
Virginia (Democrats)
Virginia (Republicans)
Washington, D.C.

Questions? Comments? Write to politicalcapital@cnbc.com.