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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

The Clinton Problem Persists

If you want to know why the Obama campaign has spent so much time and energy dealing with the convention appearances of Bill and Hillary Clinton, or why, months after the entire hep political world decided it was a terrible idea, there’s renewed speculation that the Unity Ticket could actually happen later today, look no further than the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal general election poll. It showed that among self-described Hillary Clinton supporters, 52% say they now support Obama, while 21% support McCain and 27% are undecided.
What makes this finding especially interesting is how “Clinton supporters” are identified in the poll: those who said they’d “like to see Hillary Clinton become president someday.” This definition probably excludes a significant number of voters who pulled the lever for HRC in the primaries more because of concerns about Obama than affection for Clinton–i.e., nominal Democrats likely to wind up in the GOP column in November. That Obama’s only pulling half of this narrower, more-likely-to-vote-Democratic category of HRC supporters is troubling.
It remains true that as Election Day approaches, most partisan voters and partisan-leaners will feel a lot of pressure to return to the party fold; one of the most obvious factors underlying McCain’s recent mini-surge in the national polls is that GOPers are solidifying support for him more thoroughly and rapidly than Democrats are uniting behind Obama. And overt support for Obama from HRC and her husband won’t automatically convert her admirers. But it’s a big, important target for Obama going into convention week, and well worth whatever effort he gives it, despite the continuing disdain his campaign and many of his supporters feel towards the Clintons.

One comment on “The Clinton Problem Persists

  1. BobinKS on

    Obama is clearly putting the Clintons on the spot. He is giving them a huge part of his convention. If they are too self serving they will be roundly critisized. He is taking a chance and I think that allowing the HRC voters to have their last hurrah has added to his dip in the polls. I hope that the Clintons come through with their support and that the campaign soars from the convention lift-off


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