Watch CBS News

West Virginia primary voters and the Democrats

How did West Virginia primary voters compare with those in other states?

Voters delivered a consistent message during this primary season about what they thought was the most important issue facing the country: the economy and jobs.

This was the issue named as most important in all states to date except Vermont where the economy/jobs tied with income inequality. Tuesday, the majority of Democratic primary voters in West Virginia (56 percent) said the economy/jobs is the most important issue facing the country. This was the highest percentage in the Democratic primaries so far. Additionally, most (92 percent) West Virginia primary voters are worried about the direction the nation's economy is headed, including six in 10 who are very worried.

Sanders vows to beat Clinton, despite "steep hill" to victory 03:35

Clinton may be seen as a candidate who is interested in continuing Obama's policies. Democratic primary voters have been asked if the next president should generally continue Obama's policies, change to more liberal policies, or change to less liberal policies.

Most states found Democratic primary voters looking for a candidate to continue Obama's policies, with the strongest support in South Carolina (74 percent). Vermont and New Hampshire were the only states seeking a candidate with more liberal policies. Tonight was the first night to have a state, with West Virginia primary voters, with a plurality (40 percent) seeking less liberal policies. Of those, the majority supported Sanders.

The demographic profile of Clinton and Sanders support remained relatively consistent across states

Clinton has won the women's vote in almost all state primaries except New Hampshire, Vermont, and West Virginia, and she ran about even with Sanders in Wisconsin and Indiana.

Sanders has won the support of voters under age 30 in almost all states, including tonight in West Virginia, where 71 percent of Democratic primary voters supported Sanders. Clinton received the majority of support among young voters in Alabama (52 percent) and Mississippi (62 percent).

Hillary Clinton's coal industry comment backfires on her 04:42

On the flip side, Clinton has won the support of voters 45 and older in all states except Vermont and New Hampshire. Tuesday night in West Virginia they are almost evenly divided in the exit poll results (Sanders 45 percent, Clinton 44 percent).

Self-identified Democrats have tended to support Clinton throughout the primary season in all states except New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Tuesday night's results in West Virginia are close (Clinton 49 percent, Sanders 46 percent). Meanwhile, Sanders has had support from the self-identified independents in all states except Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. This continued with strong support among this group tonight. Of the one-third of West Virginia primary voters who self-identified as being independent, 61 percent supported Sanders. About 36 percent of Democratic primary voters are independents compared to 18 percent in 2008.

Melissa Herrmann is the president of SSRS, a survey research firm.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.