West Virginia Democrats Face an Uneasy Time

Although Democrats have owned West Virginia’s two United States Senate seats since the Eisenhower administration, Republicans are eyeing this state as one of their best bets as they seek to win a Senate majority next year. …

Neighboring Virginia has leaned leftward in recent years, thanks to the diversity and growth of its suburbs. But the Appalachian region of West Virginia and parts of Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee — which had stayed faithfully Democratic even as Southern whites abandoned the party — have more recently been defecting over issues that are as much cultural as economic.

Many of the poorest counties, which are among the most dependent in the nation on food stamps, unemployment insurance and other federal benefits, voted most heavily for Mitt Romney. CONT.

Trip Gabriel, New York Times