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West Virginia Update: Clinton to Net 100,000 Votes?

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A new poll released today by Suffolk University still finds Hillary Clinton flirting with a 40-point blowout victory in the West Virginia primary. The survey of 600 likely voters gives Clinton a 60 percent to 24 percent advantage over Barack Obama.

Clinton, who must rack up very large popular vote gains in West Virginia Tuesday and Kentucky next week to keep her slim nomination hopes alive, is not yet seeing any slippage in West Virginia, where she has polled at 60 percent or higher in 3 of the 4 public polls released this month.

Last Thursday, Smart Politics estimated how much of a dent Clinton would make in her popular vote deficit after the West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oregon primaries, conservatively allowing for Obama to close the gap to about 20 points in West Virginia ("Will West Virignia and Kentucky Make A Difference for Clinton?"). But Obama has taken a different tactic this past week from other recent primaries, and that is to act more like the nominee (i.e. ignoring Clinton and the primary campaigns) and less like a candidate for the nomination.

As a result, Obama's decision to essentially write off West Virginia as a 'meaningless loss' has meant that he is probably not going to introduce himself to nor inspire as many new voters there as he has throughout the campaign. As such, the status quo image of him among West Virginians will prevail and Clinton will win in a landslide.

If Clinton should win by 30 points, instead of 20, Smart Politics estimates she will pick up 90,000 votes against Obama in the Mountain State. However, that number could be lessened if the overall turnout in West Virginia is depressed due to Obama's lack of interest in the state (which could be another strategy he is employing to minimize Clinton's net popular vote gain there).

But if West Virginians participate in the Democratic primary at the rate of other states in the region (approximately 40 percent of the 2004 general election turnout), Clinton will net approximately 6,000 votes for every two percentage points she wins against Obama.

One slightly complicating factor, according to the Suffolk University poll, is that John Edwards (whose name will be on the ballot on Tuesday), is still receiving 4 percent of the vote in the state.

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Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


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