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Hotline's Latest Edition / WEST VIRGINIA (5/13 PRIMARY)

Need (gasp) Oxygen

May 8, 2008

WV's primary offers Hillary Clinton "some of the friendliest terrain yet in her drawn out struggle with Barack Obama." WV "looks a lot like the America of a bygone era: overwhelmingly white, largely rural, and proudly blue-collar." WV "is likely to infuse Clinton with desperately needed oxygen."

Only 3.3% of WV's population is black. Only 16.5% have bachelor's degrees, more than 10 points below the nation's average. WV's median age is 40.7, which is 4 years older than the nation's average. The medium family income in about $12.5K below the nation's median.

"Obama, though, may benefit from a new wrinkle for state Democrats -- the first-ever open primary." The last time WV played a "critical role" in a Dem primary was '60 when JFK "established that an urban Roman Catholic could prevail in a rural Protestant environment"(Breen, AP, 5/7).

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