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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

Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

Political Crumbs

Six for Thirteen

Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


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.


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