Poll: Third of Clinton Voters to Stay Home

The resilience of the Hillary Clinton dead-enders is surprising. CNN reports that the number of holdouts is actually growing.

Clinton Obama Unity PhotoAccording to a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Friday, the number of Clinton supporters who plan to defect to Republican Sen. John McCain’s camp is down from one month ago, but — in what could be an ominous sign for Obama as he seeks to unify the party — the number of them who say they plan to vote for Obama is also down, and a growing number say they may not vote at all.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey completed in early June before the New York senator ended her White House bid, 60 percent of Clinton backers polled said they planned on voting for Obama. In the latest poll, that number has dropped to 54 percent. In early June, 22 percent of Clinton supporters polled said they would not vote at all if Obama were the party’s nominee, now close to a third say they will stay home.

In another sign the wounds of the heated primary race have yet to heal, 43 percent of registered Democrats polled still say they would prefer Clinton to be the party’s presidential nominee.

Without looking at the poll’s internals, I’m at a loss to explain this.  Further, without raw numbers — or even the poll questions themselves — there’s no way to know what any of this means.

If people are still identifying themselves as “Clinton backers” this long after her concession, then they’re almost by definition not resigned to supporting Obama.  The question simply becomes, How many of them are there? If, though, these are merely people who supported Clinton during the primaries, then we’re dealing with a much more significant phenomenon.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. grampagravy says:

    Without looking at the poll’s internals, I’m at a loss to explain this. Further, without raw numbers — or even the poll questions themselves — there’s no way to know what any of this means.

    It means that CNN had some time to fill and nothing of real substance to fill it with.

  2. Eneils Bailey says:

    I agree with both of your your views of polls from News agencies.

    News agencies are there to report news, not generate news stories.

    Without looking at the poll’s internals, I’m at a loss to explain this. Further, without raw numbers — or even the poll questions themselves — there’s no way to know what any of this means.

    That’s the point, you will never see that info.
    The News should have been, ” We asked the following questions, to 1000 democrats(give the demographics) and here are the responses we received.”

    I think the true test about the depth of the Hillary supporters will come in seven to eight weeks from now in Denver.

    This is going to be a hell of a lot of fun.

    The Clinton’s do not get dismissed as easily as it appears now.

  3. Bithead says:

    The resilience of the Hillary Clinton dead-enders is surprising.

    Not so much, James. I’ve been saying for months now that Obama never gain the real support of the party faithful, in full, and so would never win the GE. Beginning to look like I called it.

    Interesting, since I’m also on record as saying Clinton would never get the nomination. The split we saw between Clinton and Obama is now if anything deeper than it was a few months ago.

    Obama will get blanked in the general. Not that Clinton would do any better; shed not make it without black voter support which because of Obama, wouldn’t happen.

    The patterns are all there for a landslide for McCain; This is 1968 all over again.

    Consider; Back in 68, we had a very notably liberal Republican in Nixon. We had a Democrat party nomination fight between two fairly closely matched Democrat candidates whose Democrat supporters each would never vote for the other candidate. We wave every left-wing crazy on the planet who could hitch a ride, in Chicago, protesting the war. The party leadership ended up having to take a hand to get the nomination process done, which alienated around half the party. The resulting breakup of the Democrats in 68 was of legendary proportions.

    What happened then shows all the signs of happening this year in Denver. In OBama and Clinton we have two candidates whose political and family roots are deep in liberal Chicago politics. We have a very notably liberal Republican in McCain. We have a Democrat party nomination fight between two fairly closely matched Democrat candidates whose Democrat supporters each would never vote for the other candidate. We have rumors of every left-wing crazy on the planet who can hitch a ride, in Denver for the convention, to protest the war. This Clinton Obama thing will be close enough that the party leadership will be forced to take a hand in the decision.. and there are already signs that any choice they make won’t be popular. Is there any conclusion but that the resulting breakup of the Democrats in 08 was will be of legendary proportions?

  4. An Interested Party says:

    re: Bithead | July 5, 2008 | 11:44 am | Permalink

    *snicker* I’d really like to know what drugs (either legal or illegal) that you take which cause you to imagine and spin out such delusional fantasies…

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Interested Party, isn’t the ingestion of drugs more in the baliwick of those on the left? Just look at the demographics. College students and those who tend to vote for Obama are far more likely to use and abuse substances than those who plan to vote for McCain. Speaking of delusional. Can you just imagine a 527 group equating Obama’s acceptance speech at a football stadium with Hitlers rallies at Nurenburg? Both wrote books and both spoke well.

  6. Brian says:

    Both wrote books and both spoke well.

    Both required food, water and oxygen too.

    The problem with the comparisons is that you miss what made Hitler so evil. It wasn’t the book writing or engaging speaking. It was the ethnic cleansing while trying to take over Europe. If Obama starts calling for these things, I’ll be right there with you in comparing the two.

  7. An Interested Party says:

    While I used sarcasm towards Bithead’s silly claim that the Democratic Party is in for a “breakup” of “legendary proportions”, there is no doubt that ZR III is in desperate need of some kind of medication if he/she/it truly believes that Obama is equatable to Hitler…

    “…isn’t the ingestion of drugs more in the baliwick (sic) of those on the left?”

    I dunno, why don’t you ask Rush Limbaugh…

  8. sam says:

    Re: re: Bithead | July 5, 2008 | 11:44 am | Permalink

    I saved that piece of Bitiania to my HD for reposting after the election.

  9. anjin-san says:

    Not so much, James. I’ve been saying for months now that Obama never gain the real support of the party faithful, in full, and so would never win the GE. Beginning to look like I called it

    The election is a ways off. A lot can happen between now and then. Only a fool would start talking about how it “looks like they called it” in July.

    But then, we just happen to have one handy…

    My guess is the economy will be the deciding factor. It is now tanking with speed and fury that is rather sobering. Histoically, the party of the sitting president gets blamed for a bad economy.

    Am I reading the tea leaves correctly? We will know soon enough. I am sure as hell not ready to start crowing about how I have called it. Time enough for that in November, if it turns out I am right.

  10. anjin-san says:

    isn’t the ingestion of drugs more in the baliwick of those on the left?

    Don’t know. Maybe you should ask Rush…

  11. Bithead says:

    I saved that piece of Bitiania to my HD for reposting after the election

    You do that.
    Because if you don’t I’ll be reminding YOU.

    Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. ANd so, you are.

  12. anjin-san says:

    Those who don’t learn from history, are doomed to repeat it

    Too bad you did not apply this wisdom to Vietnam/Iraq.

    Well, not too bad for you. But defiantly too bad for the 4000K plus Americans and countless Iraqis who have died in Bush’s war…

  13. […] Meanwhile Obama’s got base trouble.  He’s attacked by the New York Times, (Hat Tip: Newsbusters.)  booed by the NEA (Hat Tip: Right Mind.) and Clinton voters aren’t so sure about voting this November.  (Hat Tip: Outside the Beltway.) […]

  14. […] Meanwhile Obama’s got base trouble.  He’s attacked by the New York Times, (Hat Tip: Newsbusters.)  booed by the NEA (Hat Tip: Right Mind.) and Clinton voters aren’t so sure about voting this November.  (Hat Tip: Outside the Beltway.) […]

  15. Eneils Bailey says:

    But defiantly too bad for the 4000K plus Americans and countless Iraqis who have died in Bush’s war…

    I am just guessing here, but I figure you attended public schools, and never majored in Mathematics at the Albert Einstien Institute.

    Seems more to me, you went to the Frank Einstien school of public debate.

  16. Bithead says:

    Too bad you did not apply this wisdom to Vietnam/Iraq.

    Well, it’s funny you mention that.
    We HAVE, in fact learned that lesson. We listened to the Democrats and the anti-war flakes last time out. We know now, thanks to fairly recently interviews with former VC commanders, that we were about two weeks form victory when we pulled out. In listening to the left, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

    This time, we didn’t make that mistake.

  17. anjin-san says:

    We know now, thanks to fairly recently interviews with former VC commanders, that we were about two weeks form victory when we pulled out

    .

    I hate to pop your bubble, but reading things on right wing rant sites does not make them so.

    And if this were the case, what would it mean? That a GOP president screwed the pooch and lost the war?

  18. AllenS says:

    “4000K”

    Since K means thousand, then that number lost in Iraq would be 4,000,000.

  19. No way to tell without seeing the detail of the poll, but we can speculate. Something like this:

    They phoned up 600 people to ask them how they planned to vote. 30 had been Clinton supporters for McCain. 20 of them said they were supporting Obama, 5 said they were supporting McCain, and 5 said they weren’t voting. Then they did the same thing a month later, got another 30-ish people, and 18 said they were supporting Obama, 4 said they were supporting McCain and 8 said they weren’t voting. Hey presto, we’ve got a story.

    Key points being: Titchy sub-samples have massive margins of error, and most journalists don’t understand statistics.

  20. Batman says:

    This is consistent with my unofficial poll at 4th of July family reunion. Most of the Democrats said they probably wouldn’t vote. And not because they were Hillary supporters, but because they could not vote for Obama.

  21. Tantor says:

    Perhaps it means they want Hillary to fix the country’s finances by betting the budget on cattle futures and attacking the Islamist terrorists as ferociously as she went after Bill’s girlfriends, sending thugs who threaten to break their pretty little legs.

  22. ZEITGEIST says:

    […] JAMES JOYNER: “The resilience of the Hillary Clinton dead-enders is surprising.” […]

  23. TmjUtah says:

    anjin-san –

    My guess is the economy will be the deciding factor. It is now tanking with speed and fury that is rather sobering. historically, the party of the sitting president gets blamed for a bad economy.

    I agree entirely with the first sentence of your comment.

    I respectfully point out that the Party of Change and Hope is pretty up front that their intentions upon wrapping up the Executive and filibuster-proof majorities in the House and Senate are about attacking corporations, prohibiting increases in domestic petroleum production, taxing the hell out of everybody, doing nothing to increase nuke generation capacity, and socializing health care.

    That’s all before they open the borders, surrender in Iraq and Afghanistan (if Bush doesn’t steal a march on them, which I am fairly certain he’s about to do), and fail to address the coming melt down of Social Security and (the ongoing meltdown) of Medicare.

    Both parties are culpable for what is about to happen to our country… BUT we elected them. So a good portion of the blame comes right home.

    However, the Democrats are the only people whose published platform is indistinguishable from an enemy’s plan to destroy us.

    I’d have to start drinking again to vote FOR McCain. Against Obama… not so much.

  24. jr says:

    True, CNN’s poll is done purely for news, not for a true measure of peoples’ sentiments.

    Probably done for the purpose of getting Obama to name Hilary as his VP candidate.

  25. Bithead says:

    And if this were the case, what would it mean? That a GOP president screwed the pooch and lost the war?

    No, that a liberal Republican made the mistake of listening to the left.

  26. Beldar says:

    I hate to get drawn into an off-topic pissing match (in this case between Bithead and anjin-san), but here’s a short history lesson:

    Under Nixon’s “Vietnamization” program, American ground forces were successfully withdrawn from South Vietnam by 1973, with the South Vietnamese military taking over the main role in their country’s self-defense from both the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army. The South did, however, still rely heavily on U.S. air and naval support, which could be provided without risk to the same large numbers of American lives that had produced tens of thousands of American casualties earlier in the war; and they were likewise reliant on continuing American financial and millitary materiel support.

    If we’re lucky, Iraq will be at about that same point in another year or two.

    With that continuing American support (but not including American ground forces), South Vietnam successfully resisted a full-scale Northern attack around Easter of 1973.

    After Nixon was forced to resign due to Watergate, however, the Democratic Congress rapidly forced America to break its solemn commitments to South Vietnam, over the livid and repeated protests of an unwilling Gerry Ford. By the late fall of 1974, the Democratic Congress overwrote his veto of their measures cutting off both military and financial aid to South Vietnam. No longer would our ally receive air and naval support; no longer would it receive funds or war materiel. The heavy Democratic gains in the 1974 congressional elections only cemented their decision and widened their veto-proof majority in January 1975.

    The direct result of the betrayal by Congress was a crisis of confidence that swept through the South Vietnamese forces. During a relentless North Vietnamese Army assault in the spring of 1975, South Vietnamese units that had performed splendidly a year earlier turned and ran. The Communists swept through the South, quickly capturing Saigon, directly leading to the famous photographs of the panicked crowds fighting to board the last helicopters from the roof of the American embassy, and other helicopters having to be pushed from the decks of our aircraft carriers to make room for refugees.

    Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese were imprisoned for “re-education”; millions of South Vietnamese fled as “boat people,” among whom tens of thousands more died. Laos became a North Vietnamese satrap, with tens of thousands imprisoned. And the resulting power vacuum in Cambodia led directly to the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields in which millions were executed or simply starved. Vietnam and its erstwhile ally and supplier, but ancient enemy — Red China — were quickly back in a series of limited wars with each other (which were in large part proxy wars between the Red Chinese and the Soviets, whose split Nixon had played like a Stradivarius). Fortunately, other non-Communist countries that had been deemed “at risk” as potential “dominoes” during the 1960s — including Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia — were strong enough by the mid-1970s to resist the Communist tide by then, but only at the cost of increased repression by conservative, anti-communist governments there.

    The chaos from the Democratic Congress’ shameful abandonment of the South Vietnamese, in other words, much resembled what would likely happen were we precipitously to withdraw now from Iraq — except that Iraq sits atop a sizable chunk of the world’s oil supplies, and its avaricious neighbors like Iran, also rich with petro-dollars, are in the grip of an even more deadly ideology than Communism and are seeking the nukes that, thank God, the North Vietnamese never had.

    Bithead is wrong to suggest that we were “two weeks away from victory” when we pulled out. It was never that simple; nothing was ever “two weeks away.” But anjin-san is simply ignorant of history, and of its relevance to today. Any American who is not ashamed of the unilateral betrayal of South Vietnam by the Democratic Congress of 1974-1975 and the results of that betrayal is either hiding from the facts and/or deceiving himself.

  27. anjin-san says:

    But anjin-san is simply ignorant of history

    I suggest you read the Pulitzer Prize winning “Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam” by Frances FitzGereald, and then get back to me on the subject of history.

    And if this were the case, what would it mean? That a GOP president screwed the pooch and lost the war?

    Even if we are to accept your argument, this statement holds water. According to you, an impotent President Ford stood by helplessly while the war was lost. Sounds like a screwed pooch to me…

    If you are going to call people ignorant, you should probably state your case in a more bullet proof manner 🙂