They lead with the fact that Democrats are much more impressed with their candidates than we are with ours, but here’s the surprise:
His approval rating among Republicans is only a point shy of Obama’s with Democrats, too. Call this the “Who’s the moron?” rejoinder to my last post: If you think (a) Obama’s ability to turn out new voters is overrated and (b) that “McCain Democrats” are going to stick with Maverick through a long campaign aimed at painting him as a doctrinaire conservative while the media buzzes over Barry O, then maybe Obama is easier in the general than Hillary. Karl’s ahead of the game as usual:
First, the numbers suggest that the talk about the relative abilities of McCain and Obama to attract Independents may be less meaningful than people think (though one cannot say this with great certainty without knowing where they live). Alternatively, if you buy the Obama line that he can bring all sorts of new voters into the process, such that traditional turnout models do not fully capture it (a debatable proposition), McCain’s appeal to “garden-variety” Independents may not be as big a selling point as is generally believed.
Second, it raises questions as to whether McCain should prefer to run against Obama instead of Clinton. If Clinton is the nominee, the election may look more like all of the other elections in this century, which have generally been about identifying and turning out the candidate’s vote. The larger pool of Democrats, combined with a polarizing campaign potentially depressing the Independent vote, might make Clinton the tougher foe for McCain.
Why would a polarizing campaign depress independent turnout, though? Our ace in the hole is Hillary hatred mobilizing not only the base to forgive Maverick his heresies but getting centrists to come out and throw water on the wicked witch like they’ve been doing for Obama throughout the primaries. If it’s Obama vs. McCain, figure that the number of Republicans and Democrats willing to cross over will even out as Hillary’s base rallies (grudgingly) behind the nominee, the media halo for Obama kicks in, and each party’s attempt to paint the other’s candidate as an extremist takes effect. That still leaves Maverick with a slight net gain since there’ll be more self-identified Democrats voting than Republicans — but then what about that big advantage among independents for Obama? And what about the fact that the only way realistically that Hillary can win the nomination now will involve superdelegates and/or shenanigans with the unseated delegates in Florida and Michigan? Either of those scenarios is going to have a lot of Obama supporters feeling gypped and in no mood to help with the coronation.
Update: Maverick’s going to need evangelicals no matter what so he’s being very careful indeed in his pronouncements about Huckabee. As his campaign pushes Huck towards the door with one hand, they’re reaching out with the other.
Update: When I say a “net gain” for McCain, I mean that if Democrats and Republicans each cross over in the same percentages — say, 10% — that’s a net pick-up for Maverick. But as one of the commenters reminds us, turnout in the primaries has been so lopsided towards Democrats that either Obama or Hillary crushes McCain if the trend holds.
Update: If this is all she has left, let’s just focus on Obama and start the general.