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Page last updated at 21:51 GMT, Saturday, 10 May 2008 22:51 UK

Obama takes super-delegate lead

Barack Obama on the campaign trail in Oregon - 10/5/2008
Barack Obama now has a slim lead in super-delegates

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has overtaken his rival Hillary Clinton for the first time in endorsements from super-delegates.

Four super-delegates - party and elected officials - pledged to support Mr Obama, including two who previously supported Mrs Clinton.

Mr Obama also has a strong lead in delegates won in state primary and caucus votes.

The Democratic super-delegates look set to decide who wins the nomination.

Added to the nine who came out in support of Barack Obama on Friday, he now has 275 super-delegates to Mrs Clinton's 271.

'Likely nominee'

Mr Obama won a convincing victory in Tuesday's North Carolina primary; while Mrs Clinton narrowly won in Indiana.

Six more states hold primaries before the Democratic Party officially declares at its nominating convention in August who will take on presumptive Republican candidate John McCain.

Hillary Clinton in New York - 10/5/2008
Both candidates have promised to support party unity no matter who wins

The nearly 800 super-delegates automatically attend the Denver convention and can vote for whomever they choose.

Mrs Clinton held a massive lead in super-delegate support before the party's first primary in Iowa in January.

But a string of wins for Mr Obama has convinced many of them to come out in his favour.

Unity stressed

On Friday, former Democratic US presidential hopeful John Edwards said that Mr Obama is now the party's "likely presidential nominee".

But he stopped short of actually endorsing Mr Obama.

With fears mounting that the long, indecisive campaign may be fatally dividing the party, both candidates have been careful to say that they will work to unify Democrats before November's election.

"I want to go into the general election... with the party unified and ready to take on what I think is a wrong-headed vision of where the country should go," said Mr Obama from Bend, Oregon.

Although Mrs Clinton has said the nominating race is not over, she also said Democrats would come together against the Republicans no matter who wins.

"What I hear and what I see is all about how we're going to finish this nominating contest which we will do," she said at a New York fund-raiser.

"Then we will have a nominee, and we will have a unified democratic party, and we will stand together and we will defeat John McCain in November and go on to the White House."

Mrs Clinton is favoured to win the next primary in West Virginia on Tuesday. Then Oregon and Kentucky vote on 20 May.


Electoral College votes

Winning post 270
Obama - Democrat
365
McCain - Republican
173
Select from the list below to view state level results.


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