But What About The Republican Defectors?
by Todd Beeton, Tue May 13, 2008 at 01:29:48 AM EDT
Funny how, at a time when things really couldn't be worse for Republicans, we've allowed a narrative to develop (in fact, we've fueled it) about how divided the Democratic Party is and how damaged the eventual nominee will be as a result of the fractured bases of the two candidates. The fact is, Republicans are loving it and, yes, are using it to prop up John McCain.
From Tim Russert on Sunday's Meet The Press:
The campaign manager for John McCain sent this memo out on Wednesday: "If and when Senator Barack Obama becomes the official nominee, Democratic primary voters may not form a tight coalition immediately. Data to date suggests Democratic primary voters will not blindly support Senator Obama. ... Among North Carolina Democratic primary voters interviewed in exit polls, 18 percent of the Democrats surveyed said they would vote for John McCain in a race against""Obama. ... Among Indiana Democratic primary voters ... 18 percent" said "they'd vote for John McCain against Senator Obama. Among Pennsylvania Democratic Primary voters, 15 percent said they would vote for John McCain."
What's left out of the conversation, however -- conveniently for John McCain -- is not only the number of Republicans voting against the presumptive nominee in primary after primary, which, as Chris Dodd pointed out on Meet The Press, is usually in the 20-25% range, but also the number of Republicans likely to vote Democratic in the general election.
The new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that, as other polls have before it, the level of defection to McCain among the Democratic candidates' supporters is disturbingly high, in the 20s:
About a quarter of Clinton supporters (26 percent) say they'd favor John McCain over Obama, and about as many Obama supporters (22 percent) say they'd take McCain over Clinton.
But think for a second about what is partially accounting for the incredible turnout nationwide: the unprecedented number of non-Democrats voting in our primary, voters who actually would be at least just as likely to vote Republican as they would be to vote Democratic in a general election. So, as you might expect, when ABC/WaPo broke down the defectors to just Democrats, the number lowered quite a bit:
Indeed, relatively few mainstream Democrats (as opposed to independents) say they'd cross over (13 and 10 percent, respectively).
And in fact is no greater than the defection rate among Republicans from McCain to the Democrats.
And as many Republicans say they'd defect the other way - 10 percent for Clinton if she faced McCain; 15 percent for Obama vs. McCain.
Just something to think about next time Timmeh or Tweety tells you how divided the Democrats are.