Crucial delegates
 
Super Tuesday - state by state

States won by Democratic and Republican candidates, based on projections:

Democratic candidates

Hillary Clinton: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Tennessee (8)

Barack Obama: Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah (13)

Republican candidates

John McCain: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma (9)

Mitt Romney: Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Utah (6)

Mike Huckabee: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, West Virginia (5)

On Tuesday evening, Clinton told cheering supporters: "I look forward to continuing our campaign and our debate about how to leave this country better off for the next generation."
 
After Super Tuesday, Clinton now holds 845 delegates of the 2,025 needed to secure the Democratic nomination, just ahead of Obama who has 765, AP reports.
 
Clinton, despite winning fewer states than Obama, seized California, New York and Massachusetts, which all have high numbers of delegates.
 
However she is battling the wave of momentum currently being enjoyed by Obama, who captured 13 states and has surged in national polls on his message of
change.
 
The state of New Mexico also remains too close to call, media reports say.
 
"There is one thing on this February night that we do not need the final results to know: Our time has come," Obama said in Illinois.
 
"Our movement is real, and change is coming to America."
 
Clinton's advantage is also partly due to her lead among so-called superdelegates, members of congress and other party leaders who are not selected in primaries and caucuses and who are also free to change their minds at any time.
 
Both camps now face gruelling campaigning ahead of the next round of primaries and caucuses, with Obama heading on to New Orleans,
Louisiana and Clinton expected to hold campaign events on Thursday in Virginia.
 
McCain surge

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Meanwhile, on the Republican side, McCain won nine states, including California and New York, according to projections, while his closest rival Mitt Romney could only take six.

McCain now holds 613 delegates out of a total of 1191, while Romney has 176 and Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, holds 142, AP said.

This puts him in a strong position to take the 1,191 delegates needed to win the Republican nomination.

As victory in many Republican state contests means that the winner secures all the delegates in that state, McCain has surged ahead of his competitors.

"Tonight, I think we must get used to the idea that we are the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination," McCain said in a speech to his supporters in Scottsdale, Arizona late on Tuesday evening.

Mike Huckabee, who has been a distant third in the Republican race, took five states in Tuesday's vote, mainly in the south of the country.

Huckabee split

Huckabee's success was a surprise and a blow to Romney, who had hoped to wrest initiative away from the McCain.

 

"A lot of people have been trying to say this is a two-man race," Huckabee told supporters in Little Rock, Arkansas.

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"Well, you know what, it is and we're in it."

McCain has battled to win over conservatives in the Republican party, who are uneasy with his relatively liberal views on immigration and tax cuts.

Huckabee has won support from evangelical Christians, and he split votes with Romney among conservatives unhappy with McCain.

 

Both McCain and Romney are scheduled to address a key conference of conservatives in Washington on Thursday, while Huckabee was
scheduled to speak there on Saturday.

More than half the total delegates to the Democratic convention in August and about 40 per cent of the delegates to the Republican convention in September will be distributed from Tuesday's vote.

Concerns over falling housing values, rising prices and unstable financial markets were the biggest concerns of voters in both parties and eclipsed the Iraq war as a voting issue, exit polls showed.