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June 17, 2008
McCain gains among Independents in WaPo Poll
The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll confirms what other polls have been saying for about a month - that John McCain is competitive with Barack Obama in capturing the independent vote:
Those Hillary voters may yet cast their ballot for McCain which would make victory very elusive for Barack Obama. If McCain can run even with Obama among independents while getting 15% of the Democratic vote, he has a good shot of taking a lot of those rust belt states where Reagan Democrats have shown a reluctance to support Obama.
In the first Washington Post-ABC News poll since the Democratic nomination contest ended, Obama and McCain are even among political independents, a shift toward the presumptive Republican nominee over the past month. On the issues, independents see McCain as more credible on fighting terrorism and are split evenly on who is the stronger leader and better on the Iraq war. But on other key attributes and issues -- including the economy -- Obama has advantages among independents. The presumptive Democratic nominee emerged from his primary-season battle against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with improved personal ratings overall, but with no appreciable gain in the head-to-head competition with McCain. Majorities view both men favorably, but about twice as many said they have a "strongly favorable" impression of Obama as said so of McCain. But Obama still has some work to do to unite the Democratic Party. Almost nine in 10 Republicans now support McCain, while not quite eight in 10 Democrats said they support Obama. Nearly a quarter of those who said they favored Clinton over Obama for the nomination currently prefer McCain for the general election, virtually unchanged from polls taken before Clinton suspended her campaign.
So far, Obama has given lip service to unity but has failed to take concrete measures that would assure Clinton supporters he is serious about including them in the campaign and a potential Obama administration. Until he does, there will be a sizable segment of Hillary voters who will see a viable alternative in John McCain.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky