- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A new Rasmussen national poll shows that more than 41 percent of American voters say they are “definitely” voting for the Democrats’ candidate in November.

Now that the dust has settled a little bit and people begin to accept the nominees of both parties, it is time to poll voters about whom they would vote for if the election were today. Rasmussen did just that. It would appear that as of today John McCain has some work to do.

That 41 percent of the 1,000 respondents said they are “definitely” voting for the Democrat versus 20 percent who said they would “definitely” vote Republican is not the real problem for the Republicans.

The real problem is even in those demographics where Barack Obama is supposed to be weak, such as white men and women 50 and older, 37 percent of those 50-64 said they would vote Democrat along with 46 percent of those 65 and older, compared to 22 percent and 17 percent respectively who said they planned to vote Republican. Also, 56 percent of women said they were voting Democrat. Of those women 40 and older, 39 percent said they would vote for the Democrat, compared to 14 percent of all women and 20 percent of women 40 and older who responded they would vote Republican.

In addition, 8 percent of Republicans said they would vote Democrat while only 3 percent of Democrats said they will vote Republican - giving Mr. Obama a better spread. (The poll’s margin of error is 3 percentage points.) Moreover, 76 percent of Democrats said they plan to stick with their party compared to only 51 percent of Republicans.

Granted, a poll is only a snapshot. In this case, the poll is a snapshot of the first two days after the primary season ended. By week’s end this may not mean anything at all. But these are certainly troubling numbers for Mr. McCain.

Voters are split on whether Mr. Obama is the right nominee, with 40 percent saying yes he is and 37 percent saying no he is not. They are also split over what role Hillary Clinton should play: 28 percent say she should be vice president and 29 percent say she should stay out of the campaign completely.

When it comes to choosing between Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama, we find in this poll is an even playing field, where neither candidate can afford to yield any ground. It is also one in which Democratic voters are not as fractured as we thought, and Republican voters are far more fractured than we could have imagined.

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