Polls have shown Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has at least a 20 point lead in the state. Clinton has trumpeted her lead in recent days, arguing that it shows she is the candidate that can appeal to working-class voters and capture critical states like West Virginia.
Rockefeller--who has endorsed Obama--argued that Obama's message of economic populism will resonate well in a state that "depends on the federal government a lot."
Although he stopped short of predicting a victory for Obama in November, Rockefeller said that presumptive Republican nominee Sen. John McCain's message of small government will turn off West Virginia voters.
"[McCain] should do very, very badly there," Rockefeller said.
Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, captured West Virginia in both 1992 and 1996, while Democrats lost the state to George W. Bush in the last two presidential elections.
"West Virginia has gone Republican in the last two cycles because of social issues, not because of economic issues," said Rockefeller.
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