20% of Democrats to vote for McCain?
- I don't belong to any organized party; I'm a Democrat.
Poll: Divisive Dem Contest Could Boost McCain
By Fred Lucas
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
March 21, 2008
(CNSNews.com) - The lengthy Democratic primary contest
bodes well for Republican chances of holding the White
House, a new poll suggests.
As Democratic Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and
Hillary Clinton of New York slug it out for the
nomination, many of their supporters -- at least in
Pennsylvania, site of the next major primary -- aren't
committed to the party's ticket in November, according
to a Franklin & Marshall College Poll.
Among Obama supporters, 20 percent said they would
vote for Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Republican
nominee, if Clinton beats their candidate for the
nomination. Among Clinton supporters, 19 percent said
they would support McCain in November if Obama is the
Democratic nominee. (See poll)
The significant number of potential defectors
underscores how divisive the Democratic primary has
Democrats won Pennsylvania in the 2000 and 2004
presidential races, but it was a competitive state in
both election cycles. McCain, meanwhile, has touted
his appeal to swing voters.
"Pennsylvania is a must-win state for a Democratic
presidential nominee," Nathan Gonzalez, political
editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, told
Cybercast News Service. "If there is a significant
weakness for a Democrat in Pennsylvania, it could
indicate a weakness in Ohio or other key states."
Even a few months ago, the presidential race looked
like a major uphill climb for any Republican
candidate. But recent polls suggest a toss-up between
McCain and either Democratic candidate.
Obama and Clinton both have many negatives, which
doesn't make the Pennsylvania poll too surprising,
said Doris Graber, a political science professor at
the University of Illinois.
"Obama is very liberal, more liberal than we've seen
on the campaign trail. Also, there is still racism out
there," Graber told Cybercast News Service . "Hillary,
we've known all along, has strong supporters. But
there are also a lot of people who would never vote
for her. There is some antipathy from the Clinton
years. Some wouldn't vote for her because she's a
Graber believes it is "almost a certainty" that the
Obama-Clinton battle will be decided at the Democratic
National Convention, which could drive a wedge through
"Democratic voters could be persuaded not to vote for
a candidate with vulnerabilities," she continued. "A
vote for McCain wouldn't be that difficult. He does
appeal to the middle."
However, Gonzales cautioned not to read too much into
a single poll, or discount the desire of Democratic
voters to move beyond the George W. Bush years, of
which McCain has become the heir.
"This is a very personal and competitive Democratic
primary," he said. "Clinton and Obama supporters have
trouble seeing themselves with the other now. A
healing period will have to happen."