Wednesday, April 02, 2008

If McCain vs. Obama, 28% of Clinton Backers Go for McCain.

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.

I'm not sure how real this is-people like Ann Coulter are on record saying they'd vote for Clinton if McCain got the Republican nomination because he was insufficiently pure. Frankly I don't believe her.

The vast majority of Republicans and Democrats will rally around their respective parties nominees in the fall because they'll perceive the alternative as being worse. It is true that Republicans will have the advantage of having a longer time to heal their intra-party wounds since their contest was decided earlier. It's also true that the Republican race wasn't as nasty as the Democrats (this is mostly because we have better manners: bring a liberal speaker to a conservative group and a conservative one to a left wing forum-see who gets booed off the stage first). McCain should receive some kind of bump from disgruntled democrats, but 28% seems extreme.

To put the number in the article in perspective lets first assume that all things being equal, both parties are essentially tied with one another (see the 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections for support of this thesis). Each has a fair claim on half the electorate. Let us further assume that, for all intents and purposes Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are tied. The differences between them in delegates and popular vote are tiny. Therefore in our back of the envelope calculations assign roughly 25% of the general election voters to each of them. If that's true, then the 28% percent of Clinton backers who would support McCain over Obama in a general election would equal something like 7% of the total popular vote. That may not seem like much at first but think about for a while. It means McCain would beat Obama 57-43. That's the same ratio Reagan beat Mondale by, en route to winning 49 out of 50 states. Does anybody think Obama will lose that badly?

No comments: