The Mountain State proved insurmountable to Barack Obama, who conceded the contest to Hillary Clinton before the first vote was even cast. Unlike last week’s nail-biter in IN, within a nanosecond of polls closing at 7:30 p.m. ET, the networks put the check mark next to Hillary’s name (65 percent to Obama’s 28 percent).

Hillary was a shoo-in – the demographics of the state were even more favorable to her than OH and PA, according to The Associated Press:

The state looks a lot like the America of a bygone era: overwhelmingly white, largely rural, and proudly blue-collar. …

Obama’s strengths are among black voters and college-educated voters, but only 3.3 percent of West Virginians are black and only 16. 5 percent of residents have bachelor’s degrees, more than 10 percentage points below the national average, U.S. Census figures show.

For Clinton, the state is nearly ideal: She has consistently outperformed Obama among white, older and blue-collar voters in competitive primaries.

Exit polling in the 30 Democratic primaries in which both candidates competed shows whites favoring Clinton over Obama 55 percent to 40 percent, voters over age 65 favoring her 59 percent to 36 percent, and rural voters favoring her 52 percent to 42 percent.

West Virginia’s median age of 40.7 is four years older than the national median, more than nine in 10 residents are white and the median family income is roughly $12,500 below the national median of about $58,500.

CNN’s John King describes WV as “is a state that appears built to accentuate Sen. Hillary Clinton’s strengths and to highlight the weaknesses her campaign asserts would make Sen. Barack Obama a more vulnerable Democratic nominee.”

So how’d she do amongst these various demographic groups? Exactly as well as everyone expected. Here’s how NBC crunched the exit poll numbers:

Clinton won the white vote by 68% to 28%

While Barack Obama did narrow his margins in West Virginia among more affluent and better-educated white voters, this state was all about working-class whites again delivering their votes for Hillary Clinton.

Working-class whites earning less than $50,000 backed Clinton 72% to 24% for Obama. White women have been an important Clinton constituency, and she did win this group in West Virginia today.

She won white women by 74% to 24%, and most white men by, 63% to 33%. …

Seven-in-10 think Clinton shares their core values, while less than half feel the same about Obama.

That “core values” question suggests that Rev. Jeremiah Wright had an impact on WV voters. According to early exit polls of 1,016 voters in 30 precincts statewide, half the voters said that Obama shares the views of Wright either “a lot” or “somewhat,” and the other half said “not much” or “not at all.”

With only 28 delegates at stake in this race, Hillary remains behind Obama in pledged and superdelegates. However, WV is a swing state that went for President George W. Bush twice – and, as Hillary noted in her victory speech in Charleston:

It is a fact that no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without winning West Virginia. The bottom line is this: The White House is won in the swing states, and I am winning the swing states. The bottom line is this: The White House is won in the swing states, and I am winning the swing states.

As in previous polls, seven in 10 WV voters want the race to continue until a clear winner for the nomination emerges. If that winner is not Hillary, as many of her supporters said they’d vote for Republican John McCain in November as would vote for Obama (35 percent and 36 percent, respectively) – and 25 percent said they’d stay home instead of voting for either alternative to Hillary.

Doing the math, as it stands now six out of 10 Hillary supporters – representing 39 percent of all the voters in the state – say they will not pull the lever for Obama.  

And so it’s on to KY and OR next Tuesday, where the two rivals are expected to split the races.

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog, chosen an Official Honoree in the Political Blogs category by the judges of the 12th Annual Webby Awards (the Oscars of the online universe) along with CNN Political Ticker, Swampland (Time magazine) and The Caucus (The New York Times).

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