Jay Reding.com

Who Is The Divisive One?

Another interesting nugget that defies the conventional wisdom comes from the latest Pew poll. The poll finds that more Democrats support McCain than Republicans support Obama, a finding that doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is this:

A quarter of Democrats (25%) who back Clinton for the nomination say they would favor McCain in a general election test against Obama. The “defection” rate among Obama’s supporters if Clinton wins the nomination is far lower; just 10% say they would vote for McCain in November, while 86% say they would back Clinton.

That shocks me. From what I’ve seen and heard, the Obama people hate Hillary Clinton. I would have expected a more lop-sided result going the other way. I’ve heard some Hillary supporters dislike Obama, but I’m surprised that a full quarter of them would support McCain over Obama. Now, this could well be another statistical outlier, but it does show just how wide the gap is becoming between Clinton and Obama. The Democratic Party is being held together by dislike of Bush, and now that Bush is fading away, it’s going to be much harder for the Democrats to stay coherent. This kind of intraparty political fighting is a natural consequence of embracing the politics of personal destruction. The longer the contest drags on, the larger the divide, and the harder it is for the Democratic nominee to start appealing to the center.

One response to “Who Is The Divisive One?”

  1. Mark says:

    “A quarter of Democrats (25%) who back Clinton for the nomination say they would favor McCain in a general election test against Obama.”

    This surprises me not at all. The gray-haired old blue-collar Democrats my parents chew the fat with absolutely don’t get the Obama phenomenon, and their cynicism has nothing to do with race. They simply think he’s an empty suit. My mom is currently vowing to sit out the 2008 Presidential election if Obama is the nominee.

    So who are these Democrats vowing to support McCain if the Dems nominate Obama? They’re called senior citizens. All evidence points to 2008 being the most generationally polarized Presidential election of the last century or so. I expect Obama to win by a solid 20 points about voters under 35….and McCain to win by at least 12 points among senior citizens. Doing the arithmatic between these demographics, I’d much prefer being in McCain’s shoes…no matter how high the turnout might be among the shrinking ranks of 18-35 year olds in America who are not illegal immigrants.

    The three most senior-heavy American states are Florida, Pennsylvania, and Iowa, all three nominally swing states, and all three likely losses for Obama if my predicted generational divide plays out as expected. It was naive of Obama to express his confidence in winning over Hillary voters this fall. The media is likewise clueless when it repeatedly tells us “Democrats like both of these candidates!” They don’t. The two candidates have sliced the party up into two very clear factions, neither having much trust or goodwill for the other.

    I still contend Hillary would be a sure loser in a general election. Versus McCain, the number of independents who would support Hillary could all fit on a school bus…and the nongeriatrics within the party would all sit out the election in disillusionment. On top of all that, McCain’s empty campaign coffers would swell with a Hillary challenge, along with the number of Republican foot soldiers volunteering to “stop the bitch”. For all the likely land mines an Obama candidacy would present, Obama is still preferable for the party because he has alot more room to fall than does Hillary and still get elected. He has an appeal to young people and plenty of independents and Republicans suffering from “white guilt”, a coalition that even in defeat, represent a stepping stone for the Democratic Party to tap into for future election cycles. By contrast, most of Hillary’s supporters will probably be dead or have Alzheimer’s by 2012.