The Campaign Spot

Dissecting Hillary’s Win in West Virginia

Ninety-five percent of Democratic primary voters in West Virginia today were white. About 70 percent of them did not have a college degree.

Among white voters without a college degree — largest demographic in the state — Hillary carried, 72 percent to 25 percent. She won white voters with a college degree, 55 percent to 41 percent.
Back of the envelope calculation gives Hillary a floor of 64.15 percent… winning by 29 points at least.
As discussed last Tuesday afternoon, the dominant voices in the press are ready to declare the race over. Last Tuesday night, we saw some of the most influential voices in television news (Russert, Stephanopolous) declare the primary over. Terry McAuliffe is complaining that 90 percent of the media are in the tank for Obama. (Welcome to the party, pal.)
You’ll see the press, and Obama’s surrogates (perhaps I repeat myself) insist that tonight’s result means nothing, and indeed, in the delegate count, the effect is marginal. But superdelegates ought to be sweating. White working-class voters, and various overlapping demographics – the elderly, Catholics, Jews – just aren’t warming up to Obama, and they’ve been the backbone for the party for generations. Liberal bloggers (and Saturday Night Live, and arguably the Washington Post) are responding by suggesting Hillary’s supporters are racist; these people may not be so eager to vote for Obama in November as the pundits insist. Once you insult a voter by calling them racist, they may not be eager to meekly repent by doing as their moral betters in the pundit class demand.
Hillary Clinton is still the underdog, and she faces long odds to overcome Obama in the delegate and superdelegate fights. But the fact that anointed-nominee Obama couldn’t make any traction in any key demographic in West Virginia ought to keep the superdelegates awake at night. And she will be invigorated by this win; landslide victories tend to do that. The exhausted mainstream media bigfoots tried to end this story one chapter too early.

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