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Exit polls spell out Barack Obama's Kentucky problem

Barack Obama, assuming that two consecutive primary thrashings don't cause the pause among Democratic superdelegates Hillary Clinton is hoping for, will get within shouting distance of Kentucky later this year as the party's presidential nominee. The key swing states of Ohio and Missouri border it. So do Virginia and Indiana, which Obama might be able to put in play.

But actually setting foot inside Kentucky would seem a fairly pointless gesture by Obama, unless he's got Clinton in tow as his vice presidential pick. Not only did she follow up her rout of Obama in last Tuesday's primary in nearby West Virginia with an overwhelming win in the Bluegrass State, but exit poll data showed her voters feel none too kindly toward him.

Those figures found that only a third of Clinton supporters would vote for Obama in November, while about 40% would cast their ballot for Republican John McCain and the rest -- roughly a quarter -- would stay home.

Some of those Clinton Democrats who now say they would reject Obama no doubt would reconsider once the heat of their battle cooled. Still, a vast majority of the Clintonites would have to change their minds to give Obama a chance in Kentucky (which President Bush carried with 60% of the vote four years ago) and that seems unlikely to happen.

The exit polls found Obama's backers to be much more forgiving -- seven in 10 said they would be willing to vote for Clinton in November, with the rest roughly split between those who would line up with McCain or simply ignore the presidential race.

-- Don Frederick

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Obama's problem in Kentucky and West Virginia is Operation Chaos and the Clinton messaging this entire campaign.

She's made all of her supporters believe Obama was inferior and now none of them want to support him. It's selfish for Democrats to even THINK of voting for McCain with all that is at stake.

Obama and Clinton are quite similar in their positions and views for this country. For them to not support him as the candidate is closed minded and ignorant to the problems of our country.

Of course, if Clinton would just come out and endorse him, most of this would go away. Of course we also know she won't really ever do that.

I found some of the responses given in the West Virginia exit polls appalling. Some voters apparently believe that Senator Clinton has given them permission to openly express racism as a reason for their electoral choice. Obama would never have had those votes under any circumstance, but in a different election different reasons would have been given. "Hard working white voters" indeed.

Obama has been campaigning in Kentucky. I thought we spelled that out clearly to you YESTERDAY Don!

The voters don't feel to kindly to Obama in Kentucky because they are a bunch of REDNECK racist hicks.


Now -- just what do you think about what the organization "Women Count PAC" has accomplished. Move over "good old boys, sexist columnists, discriminating super delegates (AND John Edwards), and everyone with a misogynist attitude (Obama) -- WOMEN ARE OUT TO REVISE THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. Your rule is OVER -- WOMEN are claiming equity across the board.

Versailles PhD

Really? Are the residents of Kentucky serious?? It's not about who is running, it's about the policies that they want to put into place. Obama and Hillary see eye to eye on a lot of issues.

To say you would have voted for Hillary but if it came down to another Democrat or a Republican that they would vote the Republican is complete ignorance. No wonder this country is going down the gutter. These uneducated people are completely destroying this country's stronghold as the leader of the modern world.

Take a second Kentucky and look into the factors of why you are even voting in the first place. Is it because you like the way Hillary dresses? Or the way she carries herself? If you ask any real Obama supporter if they would vote for Obama if he was Republican, the educated ones would say absolutely not because it's about the policies they represent, not the color of eyes.

If Obama loses Kentucky by 36 points in the democratic party primary, chances are he'll do even worse when the more conservative independents and republicans vote in the general election. That means Obama is almost certainly going to lose big in the states of the deep south and border states and rust belt states like Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia even before the fall election campaign even begins.

This is most likely because people in kentucky don't want to vote for a black, muslim named hussein.....

aka theyre ignorant rednecks

"...only a third of Clinton supporters would vote for Obama in November, while about 40% would cast their ballot for Republican John McCain..."

What does this tell you about Hillary's policies and Hillary's supporters?

Hillary will never consider being Obama's VP which is completely understandable. But if she is a real Democrat and not just someone who wants to be President because it would be fun, she will tell her loyal supporters that they need to either vote Democrat or not vote at all. You can't vote McCain just to spite Barack Obama. Do the country a favor and don't vote at all if those are your intentions.

The quality of the Democratic electorate is very clear as seen in WV and Kentucky. But the real gauge of the Clinton's is summed up in a question.

Where was Hillary when Bill pardoned Mel Reynolds?

Micheal Fanning

Obama's problem in KY and West Virginia is that he gave up on both states before the elections. He did little more than a few obligatory stops in the large cities in each state. The Clintons have both been actively campaigning, even in my rural area.

Obama did not do enough to personally get out his message in Kentucky (and West Virginia). Most people in my area know little about him, except that he's (half) black and his pastor said some anti-American things.

No matter the out come of the primaries, and no matter who the VP is, if Obama is the Democratic nominee, I will not be voting for him. He is not ready to be president. end of discussion. The democratic party has done this country a disservice.

That's the problem...

Hillary and her followers are a bunch of whining haters. That is the only reason Obama will have a harder time securing the position of President of the United States.

In the end..

He will be the President of the United States. With or with out Hillary and her bunch of haters.

So to all her supporters, continue your threats. Continue to denounce the Democratic Nominee that is Obama...

Because you ain't true DEMOCRATS.

I have seerved 3 tours in Iraq, and I get to come home and read about this sniveling whiny woman who just won't shut up.

That republican said it right...

It ain't that she's a woman. It's that she is that woman. Irritating...

Plain and simple.


Why is it possible for everyone except the DNC to see that only if it is an Obama/Clinton ticket are the Democrats going to win??? What he leaves on the table, she scarfs up! Everyone can see it, except Howard Dean and the obtuse DNC.

I would love to see the reasons why more than 60% of the Clinton supporters would rather see a republican in the House than Obama. And I know there excuses cannot be about the few differences that Obama and Clinton share. Notice how the Republicans operate, even though McCain may the worst candidate, he was the one who stood out for them and jumped behind him with massive support. So, if they were true Democrats they would see it the same way. It is a good thing that Kentucky is not one of the states that usually decide who wins in the general elections. That some would not vote for the Democratic candidate is bad enough, but to vote for a Republican!!! I bet you they don't think this country is in a bad shape or even worse shape than when a Democrat was in the House. Now what are they afraid of? You could make a case that they dont want to vote for a black man. But then he is a white man equally! I hope someone does another poll to find out the real reasons for such snobbery...if there was such a word.

How could Senator Obama spend so many years under the spiritual tutelage of Pastor Wright then expect me to believe he was immune to the venom? Senator Obama said after watching his pastors’ appearance at the National Press Club, “…what became clear to me was that he was presenting a world view that contradicts what I am and what I stand for.” When did the contradiction start? After years of close friendship with Pastor Wright, did Senator Obama just now figured out the true nature of Pastor Wrights’ personality and world view? Senator Obama is either lying or is woefully unqualified to be president. How could someone so inept at figuring out situations and reading people ever succeed as President of the United States and leader of the free world?

Next, it’s a matter of public record that the founder and early leaders of the Nation of Islam thought white people were not just filled with the devil, but they are the devil. Louis Farrakhan, the current head of the Nation of Islam shares similar views. Proof? Listen to his words and you’ll understand why history will remember him as an extremist and racist. Doesn’t Obama know all this? The Bible says what’s in your heart will come out your mouth. In spite of the good Farrakhan has done for some, his words reveal his heart. Obama’s close friend and pastor/teacher of many years, Jeremiah Wright, honored Farrakhan with awards and called him a great man? Senator Obama recently tried to distance himself from Pastor Wright, but how do we know Obama’s true feelings about Pastor Wright or Louis Farrakhan? It’s like a jailhouse conversion. Is he really sorry he willingly chose to stand quietly in such proximity to extremism and racism for so many years, or is he only sorry he got caught? Who in America would dare vote for McCain or Clinton if it came to light they were in a similar situation with the principle players being David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan?

Last, if the team of advisors Obama chose to surrounded himself with on the campaign trail do not have enough critical thinking ability, and enough political savvy to have foreseen something small like the looming ‘Wright, Farrakhan’ sinkhole, how can we be sure an Obama White House team would foresee, and be abole to deal with dangerous potentially explosive situations like Iraq, Iran, Al-Qaeda, Hamas and North Koreas nuclear armed paranoid Kim Jong-Il?

Ready to lead the free world on Day One? I’m not convinced.

I am really hoping Clinton does not get another chance to the white house as president or anything else for that matter.
I like Hillary ,but she must not think very highly of herself
If she did not have what it took to walk away her cheating husband and let him get away with infidelity in the worst way I would hate to see what would happen if in reality the phone rings at 3 in the morning.
I just know she is certaintly not Presidential material

I am really cheering and voting for Obama.
Even if he is young I can see he will be there for us and fight for us

because obama voters are more intelligent, better to have a democrat in the house then another republican. why you want to get mad and have a grudge and put another bush in office? stupid.

Why is Christ Matthews so anti Clinton? Somebody should show him his brow pictures whenever he fights to turn a Clinton positive into a negative. It's pathetic. And he thinks he is a journalist.

Clearly the majority of whites , both democratic and republican, are not going to vote for a person of color.
The U.S. is built on the belief that whites are superior and that foundation, while cracked, has not been broken. Acknowledging this fact, embarrassing as it is, will be the only way for dems to be competitive in a national election. Super delegates not backing Hillary is the only way the democrats lose in November.

I don't understand this logic... so we should pick a nominee because his/her backers are more forgiving instead of picking a candidate who has the best policies for getting this country out of a quagmire, out of recession and getting gas prices back under $2 a gallon. Just because people who back Clinton are fools doesn't mean we should select a candidate who represents them.

The only pundit willing to admit racism going on is Chris Matthew's on MSNBC's HardBall. Everytime he asks the question, especially to Hillary's camp, they doubletalk and sidestep the issue. It's unfortunate that we are still in the stone ages as far as equality and racism is concerned. Not everywhere but where Clinon is winning big, in the Appalachian areas.. Poor and uneducated.. And they will always remain that way.. And that Hillary doesn't even state when she's working those states, "Don't make this about race, but make it about honesty and the issues." No way! She won't do that.. Well i hope she's proud of herself.. She is loved by the ignorant.. What an accomplishment..

In other words, The people in Kentucky are, in plain words, racist. And it's true. If these peopel are so ignorant that thwy would vote for a republican over a democrat just because "their nominee" didn't get chosen then they obviously don't care for the platform of democrats and their positions on issues that would probably help them.

I live in America, I am 50 years old and a veteran, and no matter how we look at the problem, the answer does not change. I live in a racist, bigoted and ignorant country. The worst part is that this is a land of cowards that prefer it that way. Few people in america can look someone in the eye and say: "you are different from me and I fear you, my fear will not let me give you a fair chance."
What experience does Sen. Clinton or Sen. McCain have that Sen. Obama does not? Knowledge of how to spin the truth? Knowing when to have plausable deniability? Selective memory of the facts that make up your own life?
Pres. Bush had eight years (20 if you count the years in his fathers shadow) to show what you need for the job of President is a reality check, and the good common sense to use it sometimes. Honesty would be a good trait too, but too much to hope for.
Unfortunately what the majority of americans will settle for is white male. We need to get past that before this countru can make any true progress.

I don't believe you

when blacks were voting 90% for obama no one said it was racially motivated and talked about a re divide within the party, but when whites started doing the same tthing avoiding obama there is now this big issue. why can blacks vote for blakcs and no one questions their sincerity or right to vote that way but turn this around and thee is a big problem.

Its true that both Obama and Hillary will probably have trouble with some backward Democrats. Esp. those who vote Democratic mainly for its traditional support of unions or its support for some entitlement programs and unemployment compensation. These people might go for McCain because they're afraid of anyone new or different, and also because of subjective reasons such as personality or "attitude" rather than past actions and statements. I think the educated, the ones who put the errors made regarding Iraq at the top of their priority will be more tolerant of either candidate.
Unfortunately I think both Democrats will have problems in the general election against a white male. Even a white male who's been associated with the worst policy mistake in 75 years, namely going into Iraq. I hate to say it but there's just too many uninformed, complacent persons in the U.S. and that's not even considering the Republican religious right!

Puh - leeeeze. Give the man some credit for how he's run his campaign. Obama is but two dance steps away from landing the Dem nomination. It's political calculus at this point not to divert your focus and resources in a state you cannot win in the general election for a symbolic purpose. Hillary can have KY and WV all she wants. Congrats, Hillary. Nice one. Whew!


Mrs. Clinton is an unstabilizing force in the democratic party.

Those 40 percent of Clinton voters who say they'd vote for McCain are exactly the kind of numbskulls that consistently vote against their own interests in national elections. Chances are that even if HIllary were to be nominated and run against McCain, these people would vote for McCain. So, it's no real loss. I'd worry if Hillary was winning by getting the largest share of progressive, young voters. She's not. Assuming enough young and minority voters actually go out and vote in November, Obama should carry the day. But with this country, you just never know.

I rather vote for Nadar than Obama, I can't stand the man, and would hate to think what kind of backwards racism he would institute if he were in office. Why is it that everyone says racist this, and racist that...and yet I am a white female, who couldn't walk to the corner store in the city because I was a cracker b****, during a storm I was pregnant with my son, and I had things thrown at me for being white.....yet when I call the cops, and they said that maybe I should move. If it had been a African American, Asian. Hispanic, or any other ethnicity that, that had happened to all heck would have been raised! After hearing his pastor I would never vote for that man as he supports the kind of racism that keeps the divide open.

After what's happened to Senator Kennedy I have concerns that our older statesmen like him and Mccain may not provide us with a predictable leadership. I believe America must have a president who is young and stable. The last thing we need is a president who is either too old to work or dies on us mid-term.

What do you expect when we let the press in America dictate who the"winner is" ala Time Mag covmer story.

Many of us are not impressed with Obama or his rhetoric.

If you think that it's a "problem" for Obama to not have the support of a bunch of poorly educated, gun-toten, openly racist turkey-hunters, I submit that maybe they're in the wrong party anyway. If the Democratic Party has got to worry about this reactionary little sliver of Americana, they're vision of the future will have to end with the lowest common denominator being the the Democratic Party's standard-bearer. If the alleged "blue collar voters" can't quite figure out that it is Obama more than it will ever be Hillary Clinton that will improve their economic lot, they've got a bigger problem than their simply being a bunch of pandered to racists...

To those the voters of Kentucky who'd rather stay home than vote: may you all go to hell.

This is not Obama's "Problem." The problem lies with those who shut down at the idea of a non-white and/or non-male leader and instead opt for people like Bush and McCain, in which case, you deserve all the crap we've been handed the past 8 years.

The hard-working white, brown, black and everyone who work on the Obama campaign have been doing an extraordinary job. I'm very happy to know we just may have a smart intelligent, trustworthy AND tough administration again. McCain will not cut it at all.

Neither WV nor KY figure into the Obama campaign's general election strategy. He was basically right to skip them. He could have campaigned his heart out and still lost by 20. The media spin would have been even worse.

Abstracting how he will do in the general based on these two states is like figuring how Hillary would do in the general based on her performance in D.C. or South Carolina. In all cases, the primary was comprised of voting demographics tailor-made for the opponent.

Obama will focus on winnable swing states in the fall.

I'm tired of you sexist people calling me a racist.

I'm sorry, but I think I missed something during this primary. I missed the Clintons for all the people that use to sit in the white house. I missed the "let's come together as a nation that was suppose to be in the white house and the reasoning behind that stance.

What I see is a very vindictive, small minded ex-president and ex- first lady that has stooped to the level of the KKK in trying to win the nomination. I am personally sickened and I would sit out the presidental campaign before I would support any Clinton candidate,

So much for the "Can't we all get along." Clintons of the past.

Obama's Kentucky problem is Kentucky. Obama's West Virginia problem is West Virginia. The Democratic Party's problem is Hillary Clinton, her husband, and their willingness to play the race card, the gender card and the elitist card to the potential and likely ruination of the party. Too bad they were too arrogant to play the winning card when they had it in their hands. Let West Virginia and Kentucky be West Virginia and Kentucky, and let us forge ahead until they catch up, if ever.

Clinton is winning the counties George Bush won. Obama is winning the Democratic counties.
This indicates Clinton is Bush 2, and those voters are going to go with McCain anyway.
Or the Limbaugh factor is much bigger than anyone is saying, and those voters are going to go with McCain anyway.

We don't need racists in the democratic party. Good riddance. OBama will win with or without those voters.

Thank you Kentucky! You pushed Obama over the majority mark! He NOW has the insurmountable number of delegates he needs to take this thing across the finish line!

O'bama '08!

As a voter in Louisville, KY who marked his ballot for Obama, I find the exit polls troubling and an indication of why so many people find the state to be backward and redneck.

There were a lot of people in Louisville supporting Obama. Sad that so many in the rest of the state think their future will be brighter with Clinton or (shudder) McCain.

Question. Why is a white voter in Kentucky or West Virginia or Pennsylvania or Ohio who backs Clinton and would vote for McCain if Clinton does not win the nomination a racist but a black voter who supports Obama (at about a 95% rate) and would stay home if Clinton "stole" the nomination not? Bottom line: Whites have and will continue to vote for Obama but blacks will not vote for Clinton ... and the story is "white voters will not vote for a black candidate"? Seems the press can only view this campaign through a politically correct prism.

Maybe it's not that the Kentucky voters are racist. Maybe it's just that Obama's politics are so far out there that the Clinton supporters feel like he doesn't represent them. Maybe they feel that Obama only represents far left elitist.

I love to comment about redneck hicks. Guess this hillbilly just made his decision. I can't support someone who's following still uses Redneck hick because they voted for a white person. Give up the race card ok.
Guess if I am a redneck hick that makes you a nigger by your terms right.

whoops cant use that term it might offend someone. But redneck and hick is fine. Thats why you all will never amount to anything. Cause you have to play the race card all the time.

It is no secret that many people in Kentucky are racists. What is insightful is how Hillary and her campaign pretend that racism is not what is helping her to win in states like Kentucky. Racists in the Democratic Party has kept Hillary hopeful. Funny to think her husband was called the first 'black president.' How silly that title seems today.

Versaille, you must be high. Vomiting that mentally challenged crap that everyone who dislikes clinton does so because she's a woman.

If Clinton so fully embodies womanhood that a vote against her is a vote against womanhood, then women truly do deserve to be discriminated against because that would mean women are day dreaming(under sniper fire in Bosnia) liars(I was named after Sir Edmund HIllary) who can't be trusted(pushed forward the Bush agenda early on, including the Iraq war and the patriot act) to do the will of the people(I'm all about women, screw men!).

Get over yourselves. You might be angry, you might be feminists, but you and your candidate hardly speak for all women everywhere. Indeed, the suggestion that women are so stupid so as to only vote for a proven liar because she has a Uterus shows not only utmost contempt for women everywhere, but that you're locked into that ossified discredited 60s feminism. Join us in the new century. Thanks.

Is this what our nation is going to be like when Obama becomes president?
I think it's ironic that he is supposed to unify this country and yet all it seems he has done is bring up once calmed issues of race and socio-economic status.
If you wish to insult a group of people that has already been insulted and highly neglected by your candidate, then you should learn proper grammar and spelling; it only makes you look ignorant.

Back in the day when Hillary commanded Obama to denounce AND reject Louis Farrakhan, I thought it was because of Farrakhan's racism. It appears now that racism is okay for Hillary, just so long as it's not anti-white. I'm still waiting to hear Hillary denounce and reject the racist comments spewed by her supporters in Kentucky and W.Virginia. Waiting... waiting... waiting...

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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