In the wake of the West Virginia result, this morning's must-read is Josh Marshall's dip into U.S. history here. He ought to be up on the subject; if memory serves, Revolutionary-era U.S. history was his PhD topic. From his post:
These regions were settled disproportionately by Scots-Irish immigrants who pushed into the hill country to the west in part because that's where the affordable land was but also because they wanted to get away from the more stratified and inegalitarian society of the east which was built by English settlers and their African slaves. Crucially, slavery never really took root in these areas. And this is why during the Civil War, Unionism (as in support for the federal union and opposition to the treason of secession) ran strong through the Appalachian upcountry, even into Deep South states like Alabama and Mississippi.
As I alluded to earlier, this was the origin of West Virginia, which was originally the westernmost part of Virginia. The anti-slavery, anti-slaveholding upcountry seceded from Virginia to remain in the Union after Virginia seceded from the Union. Each of these regions was fiercely anti-Slavery. And most ended up raising regiments that fought in the Union Army. But they were as anti-slave as they were anti-slavery, both of which they viewed as the lynchpins of the aristocratic and inegalitarian society they loathed. It was a society that was both more violent and more self-reliant.
This is history. But it shapes the region...
You could probably gloss this as 'Obama will have a hard time winning the white racist vote; what a surprise.' But the history is a good deal more interesting than the log line.