More bad news for Hillary Clinton came out of West Virginia, where she was defeated in her primary bid there by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

According to exit polls, nearly half of West Virginians who are currently backing the socialist Sanders would rather vote for Republican Donald Trump than pull the lever for Clinton in the fall general election.

In exit polls cited by CBS News, 44 percent of Sanders supporters polled said they would back Trump – the presumptive GOP nominee -- in November, while only 23 percent say the would support Clinton. And 31 percent said would support neither candidate in the likely general election match-up.

About half of West Virginia voters (51 percent) are registered Democrats, while just 29 percent are registered Republicans, according to data released by the secretary of state's office. Another 17.6 percent of voters are independents. The Mountain State has not voted for a Democratic Party candidate for the presidency in 20 years. Many of those Democrats, however, behave like Republicans, which may explain why Trump supporters played a key role in putting Sanders over the top last night. A third of those who voted in West Virginia's Democratic primary say they plan to back Trump in November, according to exit polls published by NBC News. Sanders won over those voters by a wide margin. In that poll, 39 percent of Sanders voters said they would vote for Trump over Sanders in the fall. For Clinton, nine percent of her voters say they plan to come out for Trump in the general election.
 
West Virginia has an open primary, which means independents can vote in the Democratic contest. With the GOP nomination wrapped up, it is possible that Trump supporters cross the partisan line to hurt Clinton's prospects by voting for Sanders.

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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