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March 26, 2008
The "Sore Loser" Factor
In what has to be seen as good news for John McCain, a Gallup poll shows that if Obama wins the Democratic nomination, 28% of Hillary supporters will vote for McCain in the general election while 19% of Obama supporters would pull the lever for the GOP nominee if Clinton is the Democratic winner:
A sizable proportion of Democrats would vote for John McCain next November if he is matched against the candidate they do not support for the Democratic nomination. This is particularly true for Hillary Clinton supporters, more than a quarter of whom currently say they would vote for McCain if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. By contrast, John Kerry got 90% of the Democratic vote in 2004.
These conclusions are based on an analysis of Democratic voters' responses to separate voting questions in March 7-22 Gallup Poll Daily election tracking. In each day's survey, respondents are asked for their general election preferences in McCain-Clinton and McCain-Obama pairings. Democratic voters are then asked whom they support for their party's nomination.
Even just a few percentage points below that will be of enormous help to McCain who is fighting a significant disadvantage in party identification. And in some swing states that Hillary carried in the primaries - Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida - it could make the difference between victory and defeat.
Most observers believe that those numbers will change significantly once a nominee is chosen. But when nearly a third of Hillary voters are saying today that they would support McCain, the Democrats may be in more trouble than they realize unless they can resolve their nominating problems quickly.