Cross-posted at Clintonistas for Obama.
Many on our side of the blogosphere, this Clintonista included, have expressed some concerns as the polls have tightened over the last few weeks. In an analysis of polling data released on Friday, Gallup argued that the most important factor in the tight polling is weak support for Obama among Democrats.
During this election cycle, in part because of the excitement over the historic Democratic primary and in part because of President Bush’s unpopularity, more voters are identifying themselves as Democrats than Republicans, giving Democrats a 7 point advantage nationwide.
If independents are asked toward which party they lean, the lead expands to nine points.
Why isn’t the lead in party identification translating into a larger lead in the polls? Because the Democratic party is divided. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released last week gave Senator Obama a statistically non-significant 3 point lead, down from six points a month earlier. The reason, according to the pollster, is the Clinton Democrats.
Yet perhaps the biggest factor keeping the presidential race close has been Obama’s inability to close the deal with some of Hillary Clinton’s supporters. According to the poll, 52 percent of them say they will vote for Obama, but 21 percent are backing McCain, with an additional 27 percent who are undecided or want to vote for someone else.
What’s more, those who backed Clinton in the primaries – but aren’t supporting Obama right now – tend to view McCain in a better light than Obama and have more confidence in McCain’s ability to be commander-in-chief.
Senator McCain, who cannot run a campaign based on his ideas of continuing the policies of George Bush, is trying to exploit the lingering wounds of a tough primary battle by running ads like this, release yesterday:
What can we do? The most important factor is that we stop fighting the primary wars. The primaries ended more than a month ago. Barack is over it. Hillary is over it. And we need to get over it, too. When a troll comes around trying to ignite a fight over snipergate or bittergate or Hillary said this or Barack said this, ignore it. Don’t get sucked in. You may have very good reasons for hating Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama but expressing them now only advances what has become John McCain’s only strategy for winning the White House: Divide the Democratic Party.
The power is your hands. Think about it.