Barack Obama, the 46-year-old African-American running to win the Democratic party nomination for President of the United States, is expected to win two more state competitions held yesterday.

He took Wisconsin, his ninth win in a row over his only rival, former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Polling data indicates she is losing support among key groups such as white men and women and lower income voters.

Obama, a US Senator from Illinois, took Wisconsin 58% to 41% and is also expected to win his native state of Hawaii.

There is a reported record turnout at caucuses across the Pacific state.

At stake are 74 delegates from Wisconsin to the national convention in August that will pick a candidate, and 20 from Hawaii.

As it becomes increasingly likely that he will win his party’s nomination John McCain, the 71-year-old Senator from Arizona who is almost certain to take the Republican nomination, has begun attacking him.

“Will the next President have the experience and judgment to respond to crises and upheaval in Pakistan, Kosovo and Cuba?” Senator McCain said yesterday, promoting his candidacy as one of experience in foreign and military affairs.

With the Democratic hopefuls almost neck-and-neck in terms of the number of pledged delegates needed to win the nomination, all eyes now turn to March 4th, when the states of Texas and Ohio will choose a candidate.

For Senator Clinton a win in Texas, which sends 193 pledged delegates to the nominating convention in August, is vital if she is to remain a credible candidate and achieve her long-held dream of asking the American people to return her to the White House.