WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Barack Obama defeated John McCain in presidential voting on Tuesday in Iowa, carrying the state that pushed him into the national limelight nearly a year ago by giving him his first victory of the 2008 campaign, U.S. media projected.
An Obama win was expected in the Democratic-leaning state, where opinion polling has consistently shown him leading Republican McCain. Iowa has generally backed Democratic presidential candidates in recent years, but supported President George W. Bush in 2004.
Obama’s victory in the Iowa caucuses on January 4 demonstrated he could compete against the well-organized former first lady Hillary Clinton, even in predominantly white rural states. It marked him as the candidate to beat in the run for the Democratic nomination.
His victory in Iowa’s general election voting on Tuesday gave him the state’s seven electoral votes, lifting him closer to the 270 needed to win the presidency in the United States’ indirect system of choosing a leader.
Editing by Patricia Zengerle