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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

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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