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Obama – McCain Tied Among Independents

John McCain and Barack Obama are tied overall and, more crucially, tied among registered voters who call themselves Independents, a new Gallup poll finds.

Gallup’s Lydia Saad concludes,

In terms of building a winning coalition this November, McCain and Obama each start with nearly universal support from their political bases in the Republican and Democratic Parties. Initial Republican concerns that McCain would have difficulty holding conservatives have not panned out, nor have fears that Hillary Clinton’s supporters would defect from the party in droves should Obama be nominated.

As anyone who seriously studied American political history should have taken as a given.

This seems to focus the contest primarily on political independents, territory long known to be a McCain strength, but also fertile for Obama with his strong appeal to young, generally independent, voters. Gallup’s weekly aggregate trends document how close the election has been, and remains, among the politically unanchored middle, as well as among certain age, educational, and religious subgroups. If the race starts to change, it will most likely do so in these places.

That’s almost axiomatic, however. Party loyalists are, well, loyal to the party.  The only question for partisans is whether they’ll show up to vote.  Those with no fixed preference (especially as determined by their actual voting patterns rather than what they tell pollsters — a lot more people claim to be “Independents” than are actually that) decide close elections.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Bithead says:

    That’s almost axiomatic, however. Party loyalists are, well, loyal to the party.

    I’m not so sure that’s ll there is to it, James. There’s an awful lot of folks out there, in the Democrat party, annoyed that Hillary Clinton isn’t the nominee. You’ll recall, they plan to vote Mccain, in larger numbers than I suspect the DNC and Obama are comfortable with.

    Similarly, there’s a number of people in the Republican party who aren’t too happy abuot McCain, who plan to lean toward other candidates.

    Normally, and in both cases, these would each not be enough to affect the outcome. Yet, when the race is already balanced 50/50 and now we find the indy votes adding up the same way, those digruntled party members play a lot larger than either party is willing to admit.

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  2. sam says:

    There’s an awful lot of folks out there, in the Democrat party, annoyed that Hillary Clinton isn’t the nominee. You’ll recall, they plan to vote Mccain, in larger numbers than I suspect the DNC and Obama are comfortable with.

    If by “an awful lot of folks”, you mean disgruntled Democratic women, I think I’ll go with George Will here:

    Because of [McCain’s] cultivated persona as a “maverick” Republican, many—perhaps most—voters do not know he is pro-life. When the fact that he is becomes well publicized, and Democrats will make sure it is, Clinton’s female supporters will stop sulking in their tents and will rally round Obama.

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  3. rodney dill says:

    What?!? No Paris Hilton bounce for either one?

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  4. DL says:

    This might be a good time to bring out the fact that Democratic abortion is numerically aimed at blacks disproportionally and also the white Democrat’s hatred of the voucher system is against the best for blacks. You also have a certain percentage of blacks who believe Obama isn’t black enough. Wedge and Wean 5-10% of blacks off of Obama and (God help us either way) McCain might sneak in.

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  5. Hal says:

    Wedge and Wean 5-10% of blacks off of Obama and (God help us either way) McCain might sneak in.

    My lord, this has to get the award for deranged delusion of the campaign.

    Yes, by all means. Please. Dear Lord, Please. McCain should follow your advice and pour his extremely limited resources into peeling off 5-10% of the blacks.

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  6. Bithead says:

    Yes, by all means. Please. Dear Lord, Please. McCain should follow your advice and pour his extremely limited resources into peeling off 5-10% of the blacks.

    As I’ve been suggesting for quite some time now, given the closeness of the last few elections and the eveness of the polling numbers this time, it may come down to a margin that small.

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  7. Bithead says:

    If by “an awful lot of folks”, you mean disgruntled Democratic women

    That’s certainly part if it, DL, but I wonder about Abortion being the main issue for Clinton supporters. Certainly, it’s not been front and center of Clinton campaign.

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  8. sam says:

    I wonder about Abortion being the main issue for Clinton supporters. Certainly, it’s not been front and center of Clinton campaign.

    Do you really think it had to be for Hillary supporters?

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  9. Dantheman says:

    “Do you really think it had to be for Hillary supporters?”

    Especially in a primary campaign against Obama, who is also a supporter of abortion?

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  10. Bithead says:

    Especially in a primary campaign against Obama, who is also a supporter of abortion?

    But do you really think that those who ahve gone over from Clinton’s camp to McCain, did so, unaware of his (now) pro-life position?

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  11. DL says:

    Actually McCain has a mixed bag on being pro- life. He’s all in favor of destroying innocent life in a lab for medical experiments. As far as abortion, I trust none of them to keep their word – perhaps Ron Paul.

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  12. cian says:

    This poll has got to be good news for McCain. Up until now his campaign has been a bit of a shambles, while Obama’s has ticked along like a well oiled clock. McCain’s can only get better, but Obama’s?

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  13. Dantheman says:

    “But do you really think that those who ahve gone over from Clinton’s camp to McCain, did so, unaware of his (now) pro-life position?”

    Yes. That’s what happens when the media (which you persist in thinking is in the bag for Obama in spite of massive evidence to the contrary) constantly calls him a maverick, and winks and nods over his conservative lifetime voting record, especially on abortion issues.

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  14. Bithead says:

    (which you persist in thinking is in the bag for Obama in spite of massive evidence to the contrary)

    I breathlessly await this “massive evidence to the contrary”.

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  15. Dantheman says:

    “I breathlessly await this “massive evidence to the contrary”.”

    The rest of my comment is a good place to start.

    Or the fact that McCain’s recent ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears was the non-stop talk of the media for days on end and was shown hundreds of times, in spite of the number of times McCain actually paid for it to run can be counted on your fingers and toes (why spend on advertising if you can count on the media to do it for you?).

    Or that McCain can repeatedly imply Obama is a traitor, and run dog-whistle internet ads implying he is the Antichrist, without being called on it.

    Do you need more examples, or will this be another exercise where no evidence can change your set opinions, like your laughable beliefs that Democrats in Congress move in lockstep while Republicans never do or that everyone in the Democratic Caucus is of the “far left”?

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  16. sam says:

    But do you really think that those who ahve gone over from Clinton’s camp to McCain, did so, unaware of his (now) pro-life position?

    As we used to say, those folks could hold muster in a phone booth.

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  17. hcantrall says:

    You’re not going to notice so much seeing tons of news on Obama, if you’re for the man. You’re going to notice that shady bastard that you’re not for and think man I wish that guy would get off of my tv, internet, etc. Personally I don’t like either one of them and if McCain is a conservative, I’ll eat my hat. I plan to vote for my husband in November instead of the other choices given.

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  18. […] The 1.7m net loss net of Republicans since 2004 means independents are more important for McCain.  Historically he has garnered much support from independents but Obama is denying him an advantage as polls show them neck and neck. […]

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  19. […] The 1.7m net loss net of Republicans since 2004 means independents are more important for McCain. Historically he has garnered much support from independents but Obama is denying him an advantage as polls show them neck and neck. […]

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