Hillary Clinton wins Nevada caucuses

Media captionHillary Clinton gives a speech after the Nevada Democratic caucus results

US presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has narrowly won the Nevada caucuses in the latest stage of the Democratic race for presidential nominee.

She is leading with 52% of the vote over her rival Bernie Sanders’ 48%.

She had been hoping for a big victory in Nevada where she is popular with Hispanic and minority voters.

The Republican primary is also under way in South Carolina, where frontrunner Donald Trump is trying to fend off Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

The votes could be key ahead of the “Super Tuesday” round on 1 March.

On that day, about a dozen states will choose their Republican and Democratic contenders for the 8 November presidential election, with about a quarter of all nominating delegates up for grabs.

Hillary Clinton, who won Iowa but was beaten convincingly in New Hampshire by Mr Sanders, has already declared victory in a tweet, thanking people who voted for her, saying “this is your win”.

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The presidential race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders has grown increasingly close in recent weeks, with the former secretary of state expected to win Nevada in double digits just weeks ago.

But the Vermont senator, who has successfully galvanised young voters with his calls for free university education, appears to have performed better than expected with the heavy minority population in Nevada.

Nevada entrance polls showed Mr Sanders securing the votes of three quarters of voters aged 45 and under, with Mrs Clinton getting two thirds of voters over 45, the Associated Press news agency reports.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mrs Clinton overcame an unexpected strong surge by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders in Nevada on Saturday

The state represents the most racially diverse battleground so far, with both candidates courting the vote of African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans, who make up about 50% of the state’s population.

Elsewhere, in South Carolina, Republican supporters are choosing who they want to see run for the White House in a vote that is due to end at 19:00 local time (00:00 GMT).

The leading Republican pair split the first two rounds – Mr Trump winning in New Hampshire, a week after Mr Cruz had triumphed in Iowa.

Mrs Clinton’s next test will be in the Democrats’ South Carolina primary on 27 February. Republicans will hold their own caucuses in Nevada on Tuesday.

These rounds could be crucial in particular for Republican candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Ben Carson, who have been lagging behind the leading pair.

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