‘McCainocrats’ and ‘Obamacans’ may upset US presidential poll

March 8th, 2008 - 11:44 am ICT by admin  

By Arun Kumar
Washington, March 8 (IANS) McCainocrats and Obamacans, as supporters of presumptive Republican presidential nominee and Democratic frontrunner across the politically divide are called, are quickly emerging as the potential election-busters, a new survey suggests. Numbers emerging from polls and primary results show that Republican John McCain, who has alienated conservatives as he courts independents and moderate Democrats, holds an advantage over Democratic hopeful Barack Obama in the race for crossover votes.

There are now more McCainocrats than Obamacans - about 14 percent of Democrats say they would vote for McCain today instead of Obama, but just eight percent of Republicans say they would vote for the Illinois Democrat, according to a Pew Research Center survey Feb 28.

Additionally, 20 percent of white Democratic voters say they would defect to McCain if Obama were the Democratic Party’s nominee - twice the number who would cross over if former first lady Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, Pew found.

“McCain poses a clear and present danger to Obama in that he draws Democrat base support in historic numbers,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed as cited by the Washington Times.

While Clinton would draw far fewer Republican crossover voters and is making little effort to do so, Obama - who leads in the delegate race for the nomination - is making no bones about courting members of the other party.

The Times related a story he tells at nearly every campaign event about Republicans quietly supporting him, which always draws guffaws from his partisan crowd.

“They whisper to me. They say, ‘Barack, I’m a Republican, but I support you’,” he said in an exaggerated stage whisper last month after winning primaries in Virginia, Maryland and the District.

“And I say, ‘Thank you. Why are we whispering?’” Pointing into the crowd with a broad smile, he said: “There’s one right there, an ‘Obamacan’, that’s what we call them.” Raucous laughter erupted from his supporters.

McCain, who already wrapped up the Republican nomination, too likes to point out that he draws strong support from members of the other party.

In Michigan’s voting Jan 15, some 10 percent of those who voted in the Republican primary were Democrats, and McCain won half of those votes. A December poll in Nevada showed McCain drawing 17 percent of Democrats.

“I want to thank all of you here and all the Republicans, independents - and independent-thinking Democrats,” the Arizona senator said Tuesday night after he secured the 1,191 delegates needed to win the Republican presidential nomination.

And he prompts the same amused response as Obama when he frankly admits he’s looking for votes from every conceivable demographic. “We’re depending on Republicans, Democrats, independents, Libertarians, vegetarians, Trotskyites,” the senator said to laughter and applause just before the Michigan contest.

Democratic strategist Mary Anne Marsh said both Obama and McCain have crossover appeal.

“If it is a McCain-Obama match up, you could see McCain picking up ‘Reagan Democrats’ and Obama picking up Republicans who oppose the war in Iraq,” she was quoted as saying by the Times.

Pollster John Zogby agreed, saying both candidates are successfully wooing crossover voters.

“There are clearly Republicans behind Obama and I’m convinced there will continue to be,” he said. But he acknowledged that as the Democratic race drags on, Obama is endangering that crossover vote by moving to the left to defeat Clinton.

“For Obama, one of things Republicans will use, in addition to lack of experience, is that he moved so far left, is left wing,” Zogby said.

Meanwhile, the polling firm SurveyUSA says it’s polling from all 50 states and Washington D.C. shows that if the election were held now, either Democratic contender - Clinton or Obama - would win more Electoral College votes than John McCain.

SurveyUSA says Obama would edge McCain by 280-258 in the Electoral College, while Clinton would win 276-262. It takes 270 Electoral College votes to become president. In 2004, President Bush defeated John Kerry by 286-251. The 2000 results: Bush, 271, Al Gore, 266.

The historical records are all here. “This is obvious but we feel compelled to always remind everyone: Polls are just snapshots of current public opinion, not forecasts of what will happen in the future,” it said.

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