There were indications earlier in the campaign that Clinton might not fare well in West Virginia, after many rebuked a comment she made about coal miners’ losing jobs during her potential presidency, but the results show a higher-than-expected level of support for Trump.
“I think people just on a national level, they’re frustrated. On a local level, they’ll still go out and vote for their Democratic sheriffs and commissioners, and delegates and senators. The national level is a different ball game this time around,” she added.
The real estate mogul and likely Republican nominee won the party primary in the state Tuesday night, which was no surprise given that all his competitors have dropped out.
The biggest point of concern in Tuesday night's primaries among exit poll respondents seemed to be economic issues.
Nearly six in 10 said the economy and jobs was the most important consideration in their voting. That is by far the highest percentage of any Democratic contest this year on that issue.
Six in 10 voters also said they were very worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next few years, also the highest level of worry about the economy in a Democratic primary this year. The average, until Tuesday night, had been 40 percent.
Beyond purely economic issues, only about one-quarter of Democratic primary voters in West Virginia said they wanted the next president to continue Obama’s policies. That’s a dramatic difference between the state respondents and other Democrats, as an average of 54 percent of respondents from earlier contests favored a continuation of Obama-era policies.
That contrast, and an apparent desire for a new set of priorities, was likely another problem area for Clinton, who has made a clear effort to align herself with the sitting president.
Now, three presidents and more than two decades later, eastern Kentucky, southwestern Virginia and southern Ohio are home to the strongest pockets of Trump support in the country.