The Oregon exit polls lend a bit more weight to the theory that Barack Obama’s real problem is more with Appalachia than it is with working class whites in general, as the Hillary campaign has repeatedly suggested.
In Kentucky yesterday, Hillary slaughtered Obama among these voters. But the Oregon exits show a different story.
Obama beat Hillary by sizable margins among all ages of white voters except those 60 and older. And he beat Hillary among voters with no college degree, too — and since the state is overwhelmingly white, these voters are the ones he’s supposed to have trouble with.
Late Update: The exits also show that Obama also beat Hillary by seven points among voters making less than $50,000 (though she won among voters making between $15,000 and $30,000).
What’s more, Obama also won among voters from a household with a union member. I’ve edited the above to make that point.
One point that is often not made enough is that many Democrats in WV and Kentucky and elsewhere are often times people are Democrats simply because it is the only game in town. One of the things that kept me reflexively a Republican is that in WV, pretty much the entire state was run by Democrats at every level.
Until recently, in WV, if you wanted to vote in a primary that mattered, you had to be a Democrat. My mother, who has voted Republican in pretty much every Presidential election in my lifetime, at least as far back as to Ford in 76 (I am not sure about Nixon, but I do not see her as McGovern voter), is a registered Democrat and has been all her life (she grew up in Maryland, moved to WV in the late 60’s with my dad, who was from Ohio). As a registered Republican in WV until very, very recently, quite often there simply was NO CANDIDATE to vote for- if you win the Democratic primary, you have won the race. The only credible challenger to Alan Mollohan for years was a libertarian named Richard Kerr, a local Doctor.
This is something else to keep in mind when you hear all these exit polls in Appalachia in which Democrats state they will not vote for Obama or Hillary in the fall- it isn’t because they necessarily hate Hillary or Barack, it is because for all intents and purposes they are Republicans. Ticket-splitting is alive and well here in rural states.
*** Update ***
For example, McDowell County here in WV:
The Democrats are expected to rule Tuesday in McDowell County.
There are no Republican candidates competing in Tuesday’s primary contest, according to County Clerk Don Hicks. However, several Democrats are competing against Democrats for their party’s nomination. Without Republican opposition, the winners in Tuesday’s primary will most likely be unopposed during the general election in November.
“Whenever you have just Democrats running with no Republican opposition, normally in the primary that is pretty much it,” Hicks said. “Unless there is a write-in candidate.”
It went to Hillary 72-22.