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New polls Monday predicted landslide wins for Hillary Clinton in two looming primaries, despite pressure for her to cede to Barack Obama’s mathematical stranglehold on the Democratic White House race.
The former first lady, who is 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 mathematical advantage in the epic Democratic nominating contest.
But lopsided loses 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 was Monday giving 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 and are plotting battle plans to be rolled out as soon as the Democratic race is over.
Highlighting his growing focus on November, Obama meanwhile laid plans to campaign on Tuesday in crucial general election swing state Missouri, after stops in West Virginia and Kentucky.
Clinton meanwhile poured her energy into eve of the primary campaigning in West Virginia.
A Suffolk University poll ahead of the primary had Clinton leading Obama by 60 percent to 24 percent.
David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center said the poll was a poor omen for Obama in the general election.
“Barack Obama may have to write off West Virginia come November,” he said.
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 nominating delegates, nominating contests won and the popular vote going into the latest primaries, with only six more contests left in the gruelling Democratic race.
She has also lost her lead in superdelegates, the party officials who will likely decide the nomination, now that neither Clinton nor Obama can reach the nominating threshold of 2,025 delegates on pledged delegates alone.
According to independent website RealClearPolitics, Obama leads Clinton by 276 superdelegates to 272, and in total delegates by 1,867 to 1698.
McCain meanwhile sharply broke with fellow Republican, President George W. Bush on climate change, in a strategy that also had one eye on independent voters, as environmental issues rise in importance on the US election agenda.
“I will not shirk the mantle of leadership that the United States bears,” McCain was due to say in a speech in the western state of Oregon.
“I will not permit eight long years to pass without serious action on serious challenges,” he said, in a clear rebuke to the Bush administration.
Following Obama’s victory in North Carolina last week, and his narrow loss in Indiana, Obama’s chief strategist David Axelrod said on Fox News Sunday: “We’re coming to the end of the process.
“And I think there’s an eagerness on the part of the party leadership and activists across the country to get on with the general election campaign,” he said.