Landslide victory for Clinton in West Virginia; effect seen as minimal

Herb Boyd | 4/15/2011, 4:48 p.m.

But Obama feels that problem and the division in the ranks of the party will disappear when a Democratic nominee is selected. "I'm not worried, because I know that we'll be able to come together quickly behind a common purpose. There's too much that unites us as Democrats. There's too much at stake for our country," he said.

Other fissures in his campaign surfaced in West Virginia, including the nemesis of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. In the exit polls, half of the voters believed Obama shared Wright's controversial views, and more than half said Obama was not honest and trustworthy. And perhaps based on Obama's "bitter-gate" flap, most said he did not share their values.

Clinton not only held her base among blue-collar voters in West Virginia, where 95 percent of the voters are white, she did very well among those who have not graduated from college and in households where the income is less than $50,000.

Also voters favorably viewed Clinton's proposal to suspend the 18.4-cent-per-gallon federal gasoline tax for the summer, which Obama blasted as a political gimmick. Voters, by a margin of 74 to 19 percent, supported the gas tax suspension.

The exit polls revealed that Democrats should give more than a passing nod to those voters who may be unwilling to support the opposing candidate in the general election. Thirty-eight percent of Clinton's voters said they would vote for Obama in the contest against McCain. Only fifty-four percent of Obama's voters said they would vote for Clinton against McCain.

Next Tuesday's elections in Kentucky may present more of the same winning factors for Clinton, but that presumed victory will be muted by Obama's win in Oregon, if the polls are any indication.