Will Racial Prejudice Send Old Democrats Running to McCain?

Here's the first bit of evidence I've seen on how race will matter from the primary to the general.
The vast majority of Democratic voters say they would support either Obama or Clinton over McCain. But in an Obama-McCain matchup, 14% of Democratic voters say they would support McCain, compared with 8% who would do so if Clinton is the nominee.
One-in-five white Democrats (20%) say that they will vote for McCain over Obama, double the percentage who say they would switch sides in a Clinton-McCain matchup (10%). Roughly the same number of Democrats age 65 and older say they will vote for McCain if Obama is the party's choice (22%). Obama also suffers more defections among lower income and less educated Democratic voters than does Clinton.
In addition, female Democrats look at the race differently depending on the matchup. While 93% of women in the party say they would vote for Clinton over McCain, just 79% say they would support Obama over McCain.
A quarter of Democrats (25%) who back Clinton for the nomination say they would favor McCain in a general election test against Obama. The "defection" rate among Obama's supporters if Clinton wins the nomination is far lower; just 10% say they would vote for McCain in November, while 86% say they would back Clinton.

While race is often considered the most important factor, I do not actually think that is the case here.  The most obvious parallel, where a sizeable chunk of Democrats chose to vote for an incredibly hawkish maverick style politician with an undeserved reputation for liberal politics, was the 2006 Lieberman-Lamont race.  I in fact said that the 2006 Senate race at the time was a test run for John McCain's campaign, and all campaign strategists working on the Presidential race noticed exactly what the limits were of the liberal coalition at that time.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close
alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.