Democrats More Enthused About 2008 Than Republicans

A new set of polls out from Gallup this morning shows some interesting trends:

The Feb. 8-10 USA Today/Gallup poll asked Americans to size up the leading presidential contenders against “all the people who have run for president during your lifetime.” The results show a substantial difference by party affiliation.

Most Democrats say Clinton (62%) and Obama (60%) are better than most presidential candidates who have run during their lifetimes, including 12% who rate each as the “best presidential candidate.” In stark contrast, only about half as many Republicans (34%) rate McCain as better than most candidates. The majority of Republicans, 52%, believe McCain is not much different from prior candidates.

I don’t find this surprising since neither Obama or Clinton fit the “typical” mold of all past Presidential candidates. To pick on the elephant in the room, Clinton’s a woman and Obama’s an African-American. That alone means they’re outside the realm of prior presidential candidates on either side. Had I been polled, I probably would have answered the same way.

However, the same poll showed an interesting trend between a McCain/Obama or a McCain/Clinton matchup in which McCain takes more Democratic votes than either Democrat takes Republican votes. This is seen in this nifty chart:

McCain vs Obama/Clinton

McCain has a lot of support from independents and, it appears, a reasonable amount of Democrats. What I found most interesting in this chart is that, conventional wisdom has been that Obama would have broader support from Democrats and Independents than Clinton. Well this purportedly shows that, against Clinton, McCain takes fewer Democrats than against Obama.

Does it appear that some Democratic voters are ready to vote for a woman but not an African-American? Also, it appears that more Republicans would be willing to vote for Obama than Clinton of they voted for a Democrat. Go figure..

Keep in mind this is just one poll out of what seems like billions.

  • Michael

    Nate, this poll would still run in correlation to those other polls. Convention wisdom has been that there would be more Independents and Republicans pulling for Obama than Clinton. This poll supports that. However, what it does show is that Clinton has more of the Democratic base.

    Doing the math quickly, it looks like Obama has an overall +2% edge on Clinton, as he loses numbers in the Democratic column, but picks them up against her in the Independent and Republican ones.

  • Well why would you think there’d be a discrepancy on more Democrats supporting Clinton than Obama? Perhaps the “McCainocrats” come into play and want more foreign policy experience than Obama has to offer.

  • Michael

    That’s a good question. One issue could be the McCainocrats– another could be the issue of being moderate. With all the hatred by the conservative right aside, Hillary Clinton is a more moderate Democrat than Barack Obama.

    But if this is the case, why does Obama attract more Independents and Republicans? This would lead me to the third issue, which I think is the most likely of the three: :identity politics. “Clinton” is known, “McCain” is somewhat known throughout the country, as he ran second to Bush 8 years ago. “Obama” is not.

  • Kathaleen M. Ray

    RE: Democrats More Enthused About 2008 Than Republicans……..

    Of Course… I’m a Republican.&.. I’m NOT Enthused about McCain.