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Clinton's Mississippi Republicans

Topics: 2008 , Barack Obama , CBS , Exit Polls , Hillary Clinton , John McCain , National Journal

My National Journal column, which looks at the Republicans who turned out to support Hillary Clinton in Mississippi is now posted online. It includes some exit poll numbers, courtesy of Sarah Dutton at CBS News, that shed new light on their votes and remind us of the real reason we value exit polling.

The short version: The survey yields evidence that many of these voters like John McCain as much or more than Hillary Clinton. At the same time the Clinton Mississippi Republicans are nearly unanimous in their disdain for Barack Obama. The column has a ton of data, so please go read it all.

Here are some additional results shared by CBS News that did not make it into the column, among the roughly 9% of the Mississippi Democratic primary electorate that voted for Clinton but identify as Republicans (n=147):

  • 99% are white
  • 56% are female
  • 47% have a college degree
  • 65% report incomes of more than $50,000 a year; 17% report incomes of more than $100,000 a year
  • 68% describe themselves as conservative; only 8% describe themselves as liberal

Some addtional substantive items for the same subgroup of Clinton Republicans:

  • 54% said Clinton would be more likely than Obama to beat McCain, 37% said Obama would be more likely to beat McCain
  • 67% rate the economy as the most important issue facing the country, 22% name the war in Iraq and 8% name the health care as most important issues
  • 38% said "has the right experience" was the candidate quality that mattered most when they voted, 20% said "has the best chance to win in November," 15% said "can bring about needed change" and 14% said "cares about people like me"
  • 61% thought Clinton attacked Obama unfairly; 55% thought Obama attacked Clinton unfairly.
  • 43% decided how they would vote in the last three days or the last week; 55% decided in the last month or before that

 

Comments
RS:

Great column, Mark B!
Three numbers stood out for me: of the Clinton-Republicans:
85% find Senator McCain favorable or very favorable;
72% find Senator Clinton NOT "honest and trustworthy"
(set) near-unanimous dislike of Senator Obama - on all counts!!

These folk would most likely vote for Senator McCain in November... Wonder if this also holds for the Republicans/independents in Texas and Ohio, who split almost evenly between the two Democratic candidates.

Limbaugh Republicans - Senator Clinton's new firewall!

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Uri:

99% whites. That's the magic number.
And 90% of blacks in MS voted for Obama.

And Ferarro is leaving the Clinton campaign, why?

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Uri:

99% whites. That's the magic number.
And 90% of blacks in MS voted for Obama.

And Ferarro is leaving the Clinton campaign, why?

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Another great column. I wonder if there is a breakdown for "day of" deciders?

I'm curious about this number: "41 percent said they would be dissatisfied if Clinton were the Democratic nominee." What's the percentage dissatified / Obama ? If these people are voting their real preference, I'd expect they would be more dissatisfied with an Obama nomination than a Clinton one.

But if the dissatisfied / Clinton number is much higher, then it might speak to the intent of the voter to simply prolong the race. I can't think of another reason why you would vote for Clinton for the nomination but be more dissatisfied if she were to win it.

Then again, maybe most of them are saying they would be dissatisfied no matter who won the nomination, which is understandable for Reps.

RS, I'll take your point and raise it - since these are self-described Republicans, I think *all* of them will be voting for McCain in November.

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RS:

Ciccina:
I was thinking of the 15% who were not favorable toward Senator McCain, and the 28% who think Senator Clinton is "honest and trustworthy." There could be a non-null intersection set.

Maybe those are the Republican women Mark Penn proclaimed (sometime in 2007) would vote for a Woman Democratic candidate....

Like Ann Coulter. :-)

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Onlooker:

Mark

Very refreshing to read your blogs. Takes away the spin from the campaigns and even the media.

Your hyperlink for PA McCain vs. Obama goes to the Ohio polls (and charts) for the same two candidates.

By the way, how do you stay neutral in this exciting race?

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RS - I'm glad you pointed that out, I hadn't understood you. I guess these could be the voters Penn was talking about...

traditionally there's a subset of affluent white Republican women who would love to vote Republican, but the party gets on their last nerve with all the abortion / Supreme Court / onward Christian soldiers stuff and they wind up voting Dem. The thing is, I didn't think there were any left...!

They start out like Olympia Snowe, but they end up like Jim Jeffords - they become unaffiliated. But maybe there a still a few die-hards... Anyway, this is the sort of voter Penn had in mind, the "compassionate conservative" women of 2000, whom Bush targeted but lost to Gore.

As for what's going on with Ann Coulter, that's for someone with a medical degree to figure out...

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Marc:

I am a Clinton supporter, but I agree that these are "fake" votes spurred by Rush. But I think the republicans were doing this before to help Obama. Republicans, liberals, and moderates are going to vote McCain in the general election. This race is going to hurt the demacratic party and may cause us to loose.

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Marc - Texas:

The real question is why is this site and all the general media posting two week old polls that show Obama ahead when the current polls show Clinton ahead. Report the news unbiasedly.

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JimS:

Is there some reason why you didn't write long analytical articles on the overwhelming Republican support for Obama in earlier states? This is supposed to be an unbiased polling site but you increasingly make RCP look fair and balanced.

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Joseph E:

JimS,
In earlier states, especially through the Feb 5th contests, there was a competitive Republican race. It is safe to assume that most Republicans were busy voting for their preferred Republican candidate in those contests. "Republicans" who voted for Obama or Clinton at that time were most likely honest.

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MacMo, Idaho:

Joseph E:

I think I like your line of thinking. The Repubs who vote for either Obama or Clinton during when both races were competitive and tight were more likely to be honest. The same cannot be said for those voting for either candidates now. There's likely to be mischief especially Limbaugh Repubs.

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michael:

Uh, if they are voting to elect a less electable Hillary Clinton then explain this:
"54% said Clinton would be more likely than Obama to beat McCain, 37% said Obama would be more likely to beat McCain"

They are people that dislike Obama, and no longer have a contested Republican primary to vote in.

If you want a precedent of this happening, look at the 2000 primaries. While less interesting than the 2008 ones, there was a real contest in both. Bradley was toast after New Hampshire, however, so Democrats had an incentive to vote in the GOP primary.

In the New Hampshire GOP primary (when Bradley was still in), only 4% of voters were Democrats. In Deleware, it was 2%. Bradley lost New Hampshire, and it became obvious his campaign was sunk (he would go on to win nothing on Super Tuesday, with a 7 point loss in Vermont as his best result).

After Bradley's fall, Democratic turnout in GOP races got higher. 9% of South Carolina voters were Dems (79% went for McCain). Arizona was closed, but Michigan, on the same day, saw 17% of GOP voters hailing from the party of donkeys (82% going for McCain). Virginia, also open, had 8% of the electorate coming from Dems.

The strong support for Clinton may reflect genuine preferences for Clinton (just as Democrat switchers in 2000 preferred McCain for obvious reasons).
1. They may have racist motivations.
2. Unlike most Republicans, they are 56% female. They may genuinely want to see a woman president.
3. Bill Clinton was an economic centrist, and Hillary Clinton supported the war in Iraq. This may endear her to some conservatives more than Obama (although Obama's rhetoric is more centrist)
4. It might also be part of the beer track vs. wine track thing (although I like wine AND Clinton).

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michael:

So, conclusion: you don't need Rush Limbaugh to get party switchers (if Limbaugh couldn't get Republicans to vote for Mitt Romney, then it would surprise me that he could get them to vote for Clinton).

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Richard:

Around the entire world Maine is known for its lobster, Washington state for its salmon, California for its beautiful beaches, and Mississippi for its furious backwards racism.

Fair assessment or not, are there any real surprises here?

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Macy:

Joseph E- If you are correct, why did Obama's numbers drop so dramatically from the red state primaries to the red state general election numbers?

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Javy Lopez:

Richard- Is that why, as reported on TPM, the Obama campaign attacked Hillary there for her remarks made against Mississippi? Or are they just willing to do whatever they feel necessary to win?

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David T:

Richard -


EXACTLY RIGHT!!!!!! I could not of said it better myself.

These Republicans are 99% white and do not want to see Obama as president. The last thing they would ever want is a black man as president of Murica.


The exit polling backs this up - and how. Unbelievable that this type of hate is still alive and well.


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Vivian from California:

Has anyone considered the following scenarios?

1. Republicans supporting Hillary could be LYING TO POLLSTERS and providing misleading information - If you were them and were planning mischief, would you tell the truth or lie about your preferences?

3. I am also suspicious that Hillary's recent surge among self identified independents and some democrats could also be Rush Limbaugh Republicans LYING ABOUT THEIR PARTY AFFILIATION.

It is just curious that Hillary's support since Ohio and Texas has sharply increased among republicans, independents and even white male democrats! And all this coincides with Rush Limbaugh's campaign to keep Hillary in the race as well as the end of the republican primary contest.

I think republicans are up to no good.


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Vivian:

Has anyone considered the following scenarios?

1. Republicans supporting Hillary could be LYING TO POLLSTERS and providing misleading information - If you were them and were planning mischief, would you tell the truth or lie about your preferences?

3. I am also suspicious that Hillary's recent surge among self identified independents and some democrats could also be Rush Limbaugh Republicans LYING ABOUT THEIR PARTY AFFILIATION.

It is just curious that Hillary's support since Ohio and Texas has sharply increased among republicans, independents and even white male democrats! And all this coincides with Rush Limbaugh's campaign to keep Hillary in the race as well as the end of the republican primary contest.

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colinski:

Mark, I love your columns, but with all due respect I don't think you understand what you've got here. And yes, I do think we have party-raiding going on here, and your numbers (in Nat. Jour. art.) support rather than contradict the idea.

The essential question is whether these Republican crossover voters are dissatisfied with the Republican nominee or not. They clearly are not dissatisfied, so there's sufficient reason to believe they are party-raiders.

This is where things get interesting; the assumption that party raiders would be truthful about their intentions is problematic, although some are. But this is not the major problem. Although some voters will stay in character to obscure the socially unacceptable nature of their act, it's just as likely that many of these strategic crossover voters will rationalize what they are doing. In essence, they're either lying to the pollster or to themselves -- and this is better known as cognitive dissonance.

These voters don't like Clinton or Obama, which makes their proffered reason for voting in the Democratic race highly suspicious since they've already indicated that they shouldn't plausibly be voting for either. Despite the myth of rationality that still persists in many fields, reasons don't necessarily explain why we do things, they're often the excuses we offer to justify our acts. Being Republicans who prefer McCain is inconsistent with seeing Obama as a good choice for President, and cognitive consistency requires them to vilify Obama to justify their stance. The real question is whether they view Obama as more of a threat, and his delegate lead makes that a fact.

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Steve:

Obvious party raiding. And Obama still wins big, even with Hillary getting a substantial assist from the Republicans.

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Anonymous:

@ Steve,

Obama should thank the Republicans for their support - there trying to set him up for a slaughter. Wont work though, The Obama buddies ( Rezko, Rev Wright, Farrakahn et al ) are sinking his ship - all you gotta do is turn on the TV dude. Its Everywhere.... your Golden Boy is done. They're jumpin off the Obama Bandwagon faster than Secretariat won the Belmont ( It was a track record time). Feel the force & leave the Dark side while you still can young Jedi !

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emcee:

IT'S MISSISSIPPI!!!

We should all be shocked SHOCKED that Mississippi showed a huge racial disparity.

Strategy isn't driving this - straight up racism is. People don't turn out in significant numbers to put a bad nominee in place for the other party. They will, however, turn out in significant numbers to vote against the guy who scares the bejeezus out of them. In Mississippi, that's traditionally a black guy.

For racial progressiveness, Mississippi makes Alabama look like Massachusetts (without South Boston).

Mississippi is not representative state. And thank God for that!

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Onusomos:

Democratic primaries and caucuses should require registration of independents and republications to remain affiliated as democrats for at least two years or perhaps until the next presidential election of 2012. This would stop the gaming and assure the independents and republications will vote in truth during the general/national election.

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