You have to love the expectations game. One week you're winning North Carolina and doing better than expected in Indiana. The next? You're hoping for twenty percent in West Virginia. How far the mighty have fallen. Well, not really. But when the outcomes of the remaining contests are clearer than North Carolina and Indiana were a week ago, it is easier for a candidate to fend off a poor showing; even if that showing is 20% of the vote for the presumptive nominee/front-runner for the Democratic Party. There Barack Obama was yesterday, shooting pool in West Virginia and claiming that he'd accept anything higher than that mark in today's West Virginia primary.
So the Obama campaign is setting the bar low and driving down national attention to the race in the Mountain state. What's on the table for today's contest, though? 28 of the states 39 delegates are at stake in West Virginia's semi-open primary (the other eleven are superdelegates or add-ons). Independents can vote but Republicans can't. Are those on the right tempted to switch sides and take "Operation Chaos" to another state? Well, the GOP held a convention in February to decide on delegate allocation for its presidential candidates. Two thirds of the state's delegates were decided upon then and the rest will be at stake today. There is also a gubernatorial election in West Virginia this year, but only one Republican is vying for the opportunity to take on incumbent Democrat, Joe Manchin. With only congressional and local candidates on the ballot then, Republican identifiers in the state may be motivated to change registration and bump up Hillary Clinton's vote percentage in the Democratic contest. I haven't seen any reports of this, but you have to think it is a possibility with no serious action on the Republican ballot. The question is how widespread it would be. Not enough to swing the contest; Clinton already seems to have that in the bag. However, it could help her secure more delegates from the state. And in her position, where every single delegate counts, any extras would be beneficial.
Polls close at 7:30p.
Related: West Virginia Preview: Clinton by 39 points, 105,000 votes (via fivethirtyeight.com)
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