Friday, 11 April 2008

Clinton and Obama's petulant vote

An interesting analysis of recent poll data on Real Clear Politics breaks down the latest Clinton/Obama v McCain poll. Most interestingly, one third of Hillary Clinton's supporters would back McCain over Obama and one quarter of Obama's supporters would go for McCain over Clinton. The Clinton statistic is even more remarkable when your consider that her support is essentially less affluent, less educated voters plus Democrat women who are in their middle-age and older. These demographics are a core component of Democrat support in any election.

Any pollster will tell you to treat questions such as 'what would you do if...?' with extreme caution. Nonetheless,these numbers must cause concern for the Democrats. It is clear that the ongoing contest between Obama and Clinton is dragging both their ratings down. Obama leads McCain in States such a Wisconsin where he enjoyed support and Clinton enjoys the same advantage in States such as New York. Slightly worryingly for the Democrats, McCain enjoys a significant lead in Ohio over both candidates in the latest poll though Clinton does enjoy a lead there on average.

So both candidates' supporters are showing a degree of petulance. Obama's appeal to independents, Republicans, and the young (all groups that do not necessarily vote for the Democrats- rather obviously in the case of cross-over Republicans!) suggests that these are voters that could be lost to the Democrats should he not be nominated. In other words, they are in it for Obama and no-one else. Cart-loads of independent and Republican voters are being registered for the Democrats so that they can vote for Obama in Pennsylvania. The closed primary there means that you have to be a registered Democrat to vote.

Clinton's supporters should well be different. Given unity, a good Convention, a ringing endorsement of Obama by Clinton, and some sidewalk pounding, it should be within the Obama campaign's capability to win them over.

In a sense, the Obama 'quarter' is more worrying than the Clinton 'third.' But both represent significant challenges for the Democrats and the nominee's ability to sway the petulant refuseniks could determine which way this Presidential election goes.


  1. I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but most Hillary supporters will not vote for Obama. You know, we are the stupid, older people and we have no place in Obama's camp or plans. At least that's what Obama's supporters have said over and over in their blogs or when we post. Regretfully, this has become personal.

  2. But surely there's nothing in Obama's platform that excludes you? To my knowledge he has never been disdainful of Clinton's support. I'm not sure the same can be said about Hillary given her attack on Obama 'only' winning caususes, red states, and Bill with the Jesse Jackson comparisons? That stuff really is divisive whereas Obama's message is very inclusive.

    The man himself matters more than what bloggers are saying, no?

    To be honest, I just want to see a Democrat in the White House. Being British, I would rather not have to see our politics continue to be skewed by another four years of neo-conservatism.

    I believe Obama has a better chance of winning but is not without risk. Hillary is the safer option but her support has a ceiling.

    Hillary is the safer option but may fall short. Obama is the better bet but may collapse. How do you choose between the two?

    Whoever it is, please don't let it get personal- too much is at stake.

    But thank you for your comment.