Opinion: Clinton vs. Obama: which is the liberal, which is the conservative?

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As many Democratic leaders have noted -- and as various debate moderators have discovered -- policy differences are not the driving force in the clash between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nod.

There is a divergence in their approach to healthcare coverage, and shadings exist in how each would go about extricating the U.S. from Iraq. But the way they’ve split the Democratic electorate almost exactly in half does not seem primarily based on the issues, as a little-noticed exit poll result from the Pennsylvania primary underscores.

Among voters in that contest who identified themselves as liberals, 51% favored Obama, 49% Clinton.

Among those who termed themselves conservatives, 52% supported Clinton, 48% Obama.

So for Democrats who lean left and for those who lean right, the contrast between the two apparently was indistinguishable.


Clinton got her winning margin in the state from moderates -- 60% of this bloc backed her, 40% went for Obama.

-- Don Frederick