I wrote earlier today that Hillary Clinton’s problems in the Mountain State were as much a reflection of President Obama’s deep unpopularity as they were a rebuke of her comments about the coal industry. Exit polls from today’s primary appear to bear that out, showing that a good number of those who voted for Bernie Sanders, the projected winner, may have been registering a protest vote against Obama and the woman who has claimed his mantle. Ben Jacobs of The Guardian notes that Sanders won 62 percent of voters who want less liberal policies than Obama, which doesn’t square with Sanders’s reputation as the most progressive candidate in the race. Meanwhile, nearly 40 percent of Sanders’s voters said they would vote for Donald Trump over Sanders in the general election. Overall, only 27 percent of voters said they wanted the Democratic candidate to continue Obama’s policies.
West Virginia’s Democratic primary is complicated by a couple factors: it allows independents to vote, and many registered Democrats in the once-blue state are actually conservative. All in all, it’s very different from the electorates Sanders and Clinton have previously faced this election season.