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John McCain’s Morale Gap

by @ 5:55 pm on June 17, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics

To put it bluntly, even his supporters aren’t very excited about him:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Could a battered economy, waning enthusiasm for the war in Iraq and President Bush’s low approval ratings spell trouble for Sen. John McCain and other Republicans in November? According to a new poll, the answer depends on who you ask.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, taken June 4-5, shows that there is a large morale gap between Democrats and Republicans.

According to the poll, two-thirds of Obama supporters, or 67 percent, say they’re extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for president this year.

But only about one-third, or 34 percent, of McCain supporters feel fired up. The poll question had a sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Four years ago, there was almost no difference in enthusiasm between George W. Bush supporters and John Kerry supporters. According to the poll, 66 percent of Bush supporters say they were fired up, compared with 65 percent of Kerry supporters.

But after eight years of the Bush presidency, Republicans are demoralized — and McCain is trying to deal with it.

“This is indeed a change election. No matter who wins this election, the direction of this country is going to change dramatically,” McCain told a crowd in Kenner, Louisiana, on June 3.

The problem for McCain is that his supporters don’t seem to believe it and, as a result aren’t as excited about voting for him as Obama’s supporters clearly are. That, I think, is why we’re already seeing the Republican campaign in the fall shaping up to be rather negative toward Obama, rather than a positive campaign stressing what John McCain stands for (assuming anyone can figure that out, maybe they’ll do at least one commecial on that topic). In some cases, the contrasts they are drawing are fair, in a lot of cases, though, they aren’t and the voters seem to be noticing.

More importantly, though, I don’t think McCain is going to win this election solely by making people afraid of an Obama Presidency. If they don’t have a reason to vote for McCain, rather than against Obama, a lot of the voters who might respond to such a campaign are just as likely to stay home on Election Day as they are to show up and vote.

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2 Responses to “John McCain’s Morale Gap”

  1. The Colossus says:

    “The problem for McCain is that his supporters don’t seem to believe it and, as a result aren’t as excited about voting for him as Obama’s supporters clearly are.”

    This is true. While I’m in favor of McCain, he’s not the Republican I would like to see run for President. However, during this type of election I believe that McCain is a good choice for the Republicans. He’s just conservative enough to get the right to vote for him and just left enough to pick up some voters on the left.

  2. I think you have a very good point here. From the GOP perspective it won’t be, “Hey, vote for John McCain! He’s great!”, but rather, “At least he’s not that liberal and evil Obama.” Sure, it is possible to win that way, but it won’t make the base too happy and without a motivated base, it will be tough for McCain to pull off a victory.

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