Recent polls, including Rasmussen and Gallup, are suggesting that many Democrats would vote for John McCain in next November's election — if he is running against the candidate they do not support for the Democratic nomination.
According to Rasmussen, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have begun to "melt down" in the crucible of an increasingly "nasty primary fight." McCain leads Hillary by seven and Obama by nine.
According to Gallup, more than a quarter of Hillary supporters currently say they would vote for McCain if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee.
Says the Gallup Website, these predictions are based on an analysis of Democratic voters' responses to separate voting questions in March 7-22 Gallup Poll Daily election tracking.
Almost all Democratic voters who say they support Obama for their party's nomination also say they would vote for him in a general election matchup against McCain. But only 59 percent of Democratic voters who support Clinton say they would vote for Obama against McCain — while 28 percent say they would vote for McCain.
Furthermore, says Gallup, almost all of those who support Clinton for the Democratic nomination say they would vote for her against McCain. Seventy-two percent of those who support Obama for the party's nomination would vote for Clinton against McCain, while 19 percent would desert and vote for the Republican.
The polls also suggest that the Democratic nomination battle could have a negative impact for the Democratic Party in next November's election. A not insignificant percentage of both Obama and Clinton supporters currently say they would vote for McCain if he ends up running against the candidate they do not support, according to Gallup.
What's more, 11 percent of Republicans said they would vote for the Democratic candidate or a third-party candidate next fall if McCain does not choose a vice president who is considerably more conservative than he is. (And another 9 percent said they just wouldn't vote.)
According to the Gallup data, these results suggest that it may be normal for some voters to claim early on in the process — perhaps out of frustration — that they will desert their party — if certain things do not happen to their liking. However, it may be equally likely that they fall back into line by the time of the general election.
When almost 3 out of 10 Clinton supporters say they would vote for McCain over Obama, it suggests, says the Gallup summary, that divisions are running deep within the Democratic Party.
If the fight for the party's nomination were to continue until the Denver convention in late August, the Democratic Party could suffer some damage as it tries to regroup for the November general election, concludes the Gallup summary.
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