I’d been trying to think up some clever title for this post, even since I’d read some description of he former First Lady as Clintonstein, coming back from the dead. But, given her poll numbers in West Virginia (and Kentucky), she shows remarkable vitality for someone written off as dead.
With some surveys showing her up by more that 40 points, she could win in West Virginia today by a margin larger than her opponent’s in any previous contest. And this while most consider him the presumptive Democratic nominee. Personally, I expect her to do about as well in the Mountain State as he did in the Peach State, winning about two-thirds of the vote. Would a victory of that magnitude change the shape of the Democratic race?
In a piece on the West Virginia contest in Politico, Kenneth P. Vogel suggests it might:
a massive margin of victory could bolster Clinton’s central argument to the superdelegates who will ultimately decide the nomination. Her campaign contends that Obama has serious problems with the blue collar and elderly whites who dominate West Virginia’s voter rolls â€” and who Team Clinton asserts will be key in a number of states if Democrats are to defeat presumptive Republican nominee.
Would her success here, when most pundits give her campaign up for dead, cause Democrats to rethink the risks of nominated a candidate as untested as Senator Obama, one who has trouble with key Democratic constituencies? Given the enthusiasm, nay, the zealousness, of many of his followers, I doubt it cause them to reconsider or even to entertain the possibility of an alternative candidate. They have seen these problems before and ether dismissed them or claimed that these Democrats will come home in the fall.
I don’t think the West Virginia results will make much of a difference in the final outcome of the Democratic race, but they could prove a serious embarrassment to Senator Obama should he do as badly as the polls suggest.
Should he do that badly tomorrow, expect him to ratchet up his efforts in next week’s contests in Kentucky and Oregon to avoid further embarrassments. That seems to be something most Democrats want, given that nearly two-thirds want Hillary to stay in the race (via Instapundt).
The Democrats may have settled on a nominee, but a good chunk of their rank and file seems unsettled by the choice.