USA: Hillary Clinton clear favourite to win Kentucky's Democratic primary, but a national victory is still...
- Title: USA: Hillary Clinton clear favourite to win Kentucky's Democratic primary, but a national victory is still unlikely
- Date: 19th May 2008
- Summary: (BN01) LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY (MAY 18, 2008) (REUTERS) STEEPLECHASE GETTING UNDERWAY
- Reuters ID: LVA8Z0RJV0ZIGWAN59JWW696KDZ3
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:00:08
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Story Text: The American state of Kentucky is horse country and horse-racing, like bourbon and bluegrass, is integral to the state's economy and culture.
But it is another race that is dominating conversation in Lexington - the Democratic race pitting state favourite Hillary Clinton against national front-runner Barack Obama to run for president.
Despite the recent endorsement of Obama by former rival John Edwards who is very popular in Kentucky, Obama has barely campaigned here, recognising early on that for most Democratic voters, this is also Clinton country.
The populace is mostly white and conservative and many supported President Bush in the last election. Four years on however, many are dissatisfied with the Republicans in Washington and are switching to the Democratic party, but not to Obama. Many of the residents of Midway, a small town just outside Lexington will be voting for Clinton.
Coffee shop manager Richard Berchou told Reuters Television "I am voting for Hillary Clinton because she has more experience. She's been there, done that. She has a record.. Obama, there's no record, I don't know what to think".
Betty Hayes was also enthusiastic in her support. "She's wonderful and besides that she has a husband who will come along and help her out. We really feel like she's the one for us"
The latest poll sponsored by the Lexington Herald-Leader has Clinton ahead of Obama by 27 percentage points, a substantial lead which observers say, reflects the political culture of Kentucky and surrounding states that Clinton has already won.
"A lot of that is because people say they know the Clintons, they're familiar with the Clintons." says political reporter Ryan Alessi.
"This is a state where a lot of families that are in politics have been in politics for generations, so people in Kentucky tend to gravitate toward what they know".
There are 51 pledged delegates at stake in Kentucky and Hillary Clinton is likely to win most of them. However, Barack Obama's message of
"Change we can believe in" has resonated with enough voters here to push him slightly closer to a national victory even if he get fewer delegates in Kentucky.
Racing spectator Jackie Strange is one of those voters. "I have a lot of confidence that he'll make the changes that we all hope for", she said.
Nationally, the Democratic race is almost over, with just a handful of primaries to be held. While Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favourite in Kentucky, nationally it looks like Obama will cross the line the first.
The race begins when polls open on Tuesday (May 20) at 0600 local time (1000 gmt).
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