Presidential Politics And Election Returns
Last Updated July 14, 2003
West Virginia was on few political reporters' radar screens in the 2000 presidential elections; after all, over the past 70 years the only Republican nominees it voted for were incumbents headed for landslide victories--Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Richard Nixon in 1972, Ronald Reagan in 1984. But George W. Bush targeted the state early, and Al Gore paid it little heed until the very end of the campaign, when it was too late. Bush shrewdly took advantage of West Virginia's conservative cultural attitudes and of the threat to the coal industry. He carried two of the three congressional districts, and held Gore's margin to far below usual Democratic levels in the southern coal counties. This was the only state Bush carried which his father lost in 1988, though he came close in four others (Iowa, Minnesota, Oregon and Wisconsin); he ran ahead of his father's showing in almost every county except in the eastern panhandle, which is part of the Washington metropolitan area. Gore had only a 51%-47% margin among union members; Bush ran well ahead, 57%-37%, among voters under 30.
West Virginia's presidential primary, held in May, has not attracted much attention in years. But in 1960 it was the focus of the nation's attention when John F. Kennedy, reportedly fortified with large injections of cash from his father, took on Hubert Humphrey and beat him, proving that a Catholic could carry a virtually all-Protestant state.
|2000 Presidential Vote|
|2000 Republican Primary|
|2000 Democratic Primary|
|1996 Presidential Vote|
For 1992 and 1996 presidential results in West Virginia, please see the Almanac 2000 online.
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