A surprising number of supporters of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would throw their votes to Republican John McCain if their candidate does not become the Democratic Presidential nominee, according to a new Gallup poll released yesterday.
While only 19 percent of Obama supporters said they would vote for McCain over Clinton, 28 percent of Clinton supporters would switch their vote to the Republican nominee.
The data from the Gallup poll suggests that a significant number of Clinton supporters are so strongly opposed to Barack Obama that they would rather vote for a Republican candidate if Obama wins the Democratic nomination.
Obama supporters, however, seem more willing to support the Democratic ticket if Clinton should take the nomination.
The Gallup information lends strength to the view that the continuing divisive fighting between Clinton and Obama for the Presidential nomination could hurt the Democratic party in the November elections.
As the battle continues, the gap between Clinton and Obama supporters continues to widen, with more voters than ever declaring they would rather vote for the Republican alternative if their candidate is not chosen.
While the Gallup poll notes that these results come in the “heat of battle” and there is no way to judge how many voters would follow through on their claim to switch to McCain, the poll results could give a temporary boost to Hillary Clinton.
If it is perceived that Democratic voters are more likely to stick with the party at large if Clinton is chosen than if Obama is chosen, Clinton might gain a stronger foothold among undecided Democratic voters and possibly the all-important super delegates as well.
Overall, however, the best news from the poll could be for Republican John McCain, who can possibly expect to receive a healthy dose of Democratic support in November regardless of whether he is facing Clinton or Obama.
A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll also showed that a higher number of Clinton supporters would be dissatisfied if their candidate dropped out than Obama supporters would be.
If Obama wins the Democratic Presidential nomination, 51 percent of Clinton supporters would be dissatisfied or upset, compared to 41 percent of Obama supporters if the reverse were true.
Conversely, among Republican voters in a recent Gallup poll, 11 percent said they would rather vote for the Democratic nominee if John McCain does not choose a Vice President who is more strongly conservative than he is. Nine percent said they would not vote at all.
Nationwide, a recent Rasmussen Reports poll found that 22 percent of Democratic voters believe Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race.
Barack Obama received an identical percentage, 22 percent, who believed he should leave the race.
Overall, 62 percent of polled Democratic voters believe neither candidate should drop out of the bid for the Presidential nomination yet.
Republican voters, however, want Clinton to throw in the towel far more than Obama, at 41 percent to 24 percent.
Historically, according to past final pre-election Gallup polls, only 10 percent or less of Republicans or Democrats actually vote for the other party’s Presidential candidate.
The results of the poll released yesterday are based on interviews with 6,657 Democratic voters nationwide and were conducted between March 7th and 22nd.
The results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percent.
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