Obama Bleeding Non-Democrats
by Todd Beeton, Thu Mar 06, 2008 at 02:10:23 AM EST
After advising me on Tuesday to look for a pro-Clinton wave among Republicans in Texas and Ohio, my Republican father e-mailed me excitedly yesterday to let me know that he'd heard that 1 in 10 voters in the Democratic primary were Republicans. He was off by a little bit: of the four states that voted on Tuesday, only Texas and Ohio allowed Republicans to vote in the Democratic primary and according to exit polls the turn-out was slightly lower than that at 9% in both states. Now, as for whether the result was as he predicted -- i.e. a strong turn-out for Clinton -- yes, while she didn't win Republicans in either state, Hillary Clinton certainly outperformed her past showings among Reps indicating that perhaps the grassroots campaign to keep this nomination battle going by boosting Clinton may have worked. The problem is that if the Republican turn-out really was due to efforts Limbaugh et al, wouldn't their turn-out have been markedly higher than in previous open contests, especially since McCain had essentially locked up the nomination? As you can see, it was about on par with recent open primaries and Clinton closed the gap with Obama decidedly, even tying him in Ohio among Republicans. (H/t Open Left for the excellent composite of all pre-March 4th exit polls.)
|Candidate||Pre-March 4 (3%)||Virginia (7%)||Wisconsin (9%)||Texas (9%)||Ohio (9%)|
What's interesting is that this bleeding of support from Obama to Clinton was not unique to Republicans. Remarkably, Clinton almost tied Obama among independents last night, a group that would not have been susceptible to any spoiler campaign and one that has traditionally served as one of Obama's strongest constituencies (even in California, the site of one of Clinton's biggest wins, Obama won independents by 14%.) And again, here, notice that independent turn-out was about on par with other recent open contests, in fact it was higher than the pre-March 4th average, but Clinton did far better among this group than she has traditionally.
|Candidate||Pre-March 4 (19%)||Virginia (22%)||Wisconsin (28%)||Texas (25%)||Ohio (22%)|
Obama's strength among independents is one of the keys to the electability argument his supporters make for him, but it looks as though, in Ohio and Texas at least, independents may have soured on Obama a bit and proved that they see Hillary Clinton as just as appealing a Democrat as Barack Obama. Big question moving forward: will what happened in Texas and Ohio stay in Texas and Ohio?