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Clinton ahead in W Virginia polls

Latest update : 2008-05-13

Polls put US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in front of rival Barack Obama ahead of the West Virginia and Kentucky primaries. But with scarce few delegates left, even a big win will not help her catch Obama. (Report:R.Martin)

Hillary Clinton looked headed Monday for landslide wins in two looming primaries, despite pressure for her to cede to Barack Obama's mathematical lock on the Democratic White House race.

The former first lady, vowing to battle on even as Obama turns his sights on Republican presumptive nominee John McCain, led her foe by 36 points in the latest poll out of West Virginia, which votes Tuesday.

In Kentucky, which holds its primary on May 20, Clinton was up 58 to 31 percent, in another poll suggesting Obama faces an uncomfortable two weeks.

Huge wins for Clinton in both states will do little to loosen Obama's advantage in the epic Democratic nominating contest.

But lopsided losses in the two states could underscore the Illinois senator's struggle to win over white, working-class voters, which could be a problem in November's election.

Arizona Senator McCain, who Monday gave a major speech on global warming, and Obama are increasingly fighting the early shots in the general election campaign.

The Obama campaign has launched a 50-state voter registration drive and both sides are trying to woo independent voters, plotting battle plans to be rolled out as soon as the Democratic race is over.

Highlighting his growing focus on the election, Obama laid plans to campaign on Tuesday in November swing state Missouri and on Wednesday in Michigan, after stops in West Virginia and Kentucky.

A potential complication to McCain's White House bid emerged with the news that former Republican congressman Bob Barr, 59, plans to run for president on the Libertarian Party's ticket.

Barr, who played a key role in the congressional impeachment of former president Bill Clinton, said there was not "currently or anywhere on the horizon" any candidate who understood the need for fiscal conservatism and America's founding principles.

He added that if McCain fails to win the presidency, "it will be because Senator McCain did not present, and his party did not present, a vision, an agenda, a platform and a series of programs" for the American people.

Clinton meanwhile poured her energy into one last day's campaigning in West Virginia.

A Suffolk University poll had Clinton leading Obama by 60 percent to 24 percent in the rural coal-mining state, which is one of America's poorest.

In a Herald-Leader/WKYT Kentucky Poll of probable Democratic voters, Clinton led by 58 percent of 31 percent, though the survey showed either Democrat had a tough task in beating McCain in the state in November.

Clinton trails Obama in Democratic delegates, nominating contests won and the popular vote, with only six more contests left in the gruelling primary season.

She has also lost her lead in superdelegates, the party officials who will likely decide the nomination. Now, neither Clinton nor Obama can reach the nominating threshold of 2,025 delegates on pledged delegates alone.

Obama added at least four more superdelegates to his tally on Monday. According to independent website RealClearPolitics, he leads Clinton by 278 superdelegates to 272, and in total delegates by 1,869 to 1,698.

But in a reference to President George W. Bush's record on Iraq, Clinton strategist Geoff Garin dismissed the media's near-universal predictions of an Obama win.

"Well, you know, we've already had one unfortunate experience with a leader declaring mission accomplished when it really wasn't," he told MSNBC.

McCain meanwhile sharply broke with his fellow Republican Bush on climate change, in a strategy that also had one eye on independent voters who are worried about the environment.

"I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges," he said in a speech in the western state of Oregon, in a clear rebuke to the Bush administration.

The Obama campaign, however, said McCain had voted in the Senate against financial support for alternative energy. Clinton said: "While Senator McCain's proposals may be (an) improvement on President Bush's, that's not saying much."

Date created : 2008-05-13