Tuesday, April 15, 2008

McCain hasn't spoken yet...to his benefit right now

McCain is either leaded or close behind Obama or Clinton in head-to-head polls. Over the past number of weeks, the margins between him and the Dems have fluctuated, but I noticed something important: they only move based on what the Democrats do.

When Clinton looks down, she loses ground versus McCain. When Obama says something dumb, he moves down versus McCain. Nothing McCain has done or said has effected the polls one way or the other. That's because he's not done anything of note since becoming the nominee except some small foreign policy gaffes that most Americans didn't hear about and don't care about. Right now, McCain looks like he's tried to portray himself - a maverick, centrist Republican who's not afraid to stand up to his party. The fact is that, as much as he has stood up to his own party, his political positions are pretty generic. Right now he looks like he could be a change candidate, and well-qualified to lead. I'm not disputing the fact that many people see him as most qualified, but his image of renewal can only wear away once he opens his mouth versus the final Democratic nominee.

Something like 15-25% of Democrats say they'll vote for McCain if their candidate doesn't get the nomination. They may think so right now, but Clinton and Obama aren't much different on policy. The big split is in their personalities and styles, with Hillary representing the 'old power' with experience to start right away, and Obama the 'new thinking' that might let American get over partisan woes. The faithful may think they'll go for McCain, but when he becomes known - as a slightly rebellious Republican, but a solidly Republican candidate - these 'party traitors' will change their minds. Not all of them, of course, but a number.

Plus, the head-to-head polls already factor the protest vote for McCain. As Democratic protest votes drop away from McCain, he will fall at least a few points. Since Obama will be the nominee, and he is tied or up 2 points on McCain, expect him to gain 3-5 points on McCain over the course of a few weeks after the nomination. Of course, Obama will also lose the support of some moderates once he gets the nomination, since he'll have to open his mouth just like McCain. Maybe the 3-5 point bump won't show up, but I will be willing to bet money that a poll the day before the election asking Clinton supporters if they're voting McCain in protest will show that 25% of them didn't defect. Maybe 5%. Maybe 10%. I don't even think it will go that high.


Anonymous said...

i agree with you. many of the democrats now saying they'll cross over to McCain will cool off and vote demo in the end, probably, as you state, for the nominee Obama.

remember all those irate Republicans saying they wouldn't support McCain (at least two hate-talk radio hosts), well, now they're solidly in his corner not matter what he does!

it will be interesting to see what the debate tonight between obama and hillary brings into the "fight" these two are involved in right now.

Morning Star

Anonymous said...

mccain is bush , same candy different wrapper

no candy