An early look inside the minds of West Virginia voters

Exit polls from West Virginia's Democratic primary show that the economy was the top issue on voters' minds, and many think Barack Obama shares his controversial former pastor's views.


Alex Koppelman
May 14, 2008 2:39AM (UTC)

We have some early information on what voters in West Virginia were thinking as they headed to the state's Democratic primary Tuesday.

The exit poll results released thus far show some things that were unsurprising; voters were overwhelmingly white -- African-Americans make up less than 5 percent of the state's population -- and considered the economy the most important issue.

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The electorate in the state was also particularly favorable to Clinton. As the Associated Press notes, "Nearly one in four of all ballots were cast by voters 60 and older, and a similar number by West Virginians with no education beyond high school. More than half the voters were in families with incomes of $50,000 or less. Clinton has done particularly well in primaries to date among older, less well-educated and lower-income families."

The exit polls also showed one number potentially worrying to Barack Obama's campaign -- according to CBS News, 51 percent of respondents think Obama shares the views of his controversial former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. (According to Time's Mark Halperin, the breakdown on that is this: "Two in 10 voters say Obama shares the views of his former pastor, Rev. Wright, 'a lot.' Another three in 10 say Obama shares Wright's views "somewhat." Nearly a quarter said Obama shares Wright's views "not much" and another quarter said they don't think the candidate shares his former pastor's views at all.")

I'll have more on some other numbers from the exit polls a little later, and I'll repeat my standard disclaimer here -- these exit poll results shouldn't be taken as gospel, both because they're susceptible to the usual sampling errors and because the numbers out this early in the evening tend to be revised to fit the actual vote totals as they come in.

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Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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