US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama beat opponent Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary in Virginia Tuesday, scoring his first win in the Feb. 12 Potomac Primary.
US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) applauds at the end of his speech at the Virginia Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson dinner in Richmond, Virginia Feb. 9, 2008.
It will be his sixth straight victory against Clinton since last weekend.
With 4 percent of precincts reporting, Obama beat Clinton 62 percent to 37 percent in vote tally.
There are 83 delegates at stake in the contest in Virginia.
Exit polls show black voters, which account for one-third of the Democratic voters in Virginia, played a key role in securing Obama's victory.
Nearly 90 percent of Virginia black voters sided with the senator from Illinois and he split the votes with Clinton among white voters.
Obama also was helped by independents, who made up a fifth of voters in Virginia's open primary, according to preliminary exit results.
Preelection surveys also indicate Obama also has a clear advantage over Clinton, a senator from New York and a former first lady, in two other contests of the Potomac Primary, in Maryland and the Washington DC.
By winning in Virginia, Obama also crushed what may have been Clinton's best chance at a Potomac primary win.
With two historic Democratic candidates and a tight race, election officials in both states and the District said voter turnout was high despite freezing temperatures and sleet in some areas.
"I voted for the next president of the United States, Barack Obama," said Phil Andonian, a 31-year-old lawyer sporting a BarackObama T-shirt underneath his winter coat, outside a polling station in the nation's capital.
"The Clintons have shown themselves to be a political machine not much different than the Bush administration," Andonian said.
"I think Obama is the one to bring about the kind of change we need in Washington."
Boding well for Obama, exit poll results find that majorities of Democratic voters in Virginia and Maryland alike are saying the top attribute they're seeking in a candidate is the one who can "bring needed change" -- a message consistently promoted by Obama.
Polling stations have closed at 1900 local time (0000 GMT Wednesday) in Virginia and an hour later in Maryland and Washington DC.
(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2008)