It’s no longer about Hillary and Obama anymore, they are destroying any opportunity of beating John McCain in November. In today’s Gallup poll it has become quite apparent that the lengthy race has so polarized the Democratic voters that they cannot even fathom voting for the Democratic candidate if it is not the candidate they are supporting.

“A sizable proportion of Democrats would vote for John McCain next November if he is matched against the candidate they do not support for the Democratic nomination. This is particularly true for Hillary Clinton supporters, more than a quarter of whom currently say they would vote for McCain if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee.

The data suggest that the continuing and sometimes fractious Democratic nomination fight could have a negative impact for the Democratic Party in next November’s election. A not insignificant percentage of both Obama and Clinton supporters currently say they would vote for McCain if he ends up running against the candidate they do not support.

Clinton supporters appear to be somewhat more reactive than Obama supporters. Twenty-eight percent of the former indicate that if Clinton is not the nominee — and Obama is — they would support McCain. That compares to 19% of Obama supporters who would support McCain if Obama is not the nominee — and Clinton is.

It is unknown how many Democrats would actually carry through and vote for a Republican next fall if their preferred candidate does not become the Democratic nominee. The Democratic campaign is in the heat of battle at the moment, but by November, there will have been several months of attempts to build party unity around the eventual nominee — and a focus on reasons why the Republican nominee needs to be defeated.

Additionally, some threat of deserting the party always takes place as party nomination battles are waged, and this threat can dissipate. For example, in answer to a recent Gallup question, 11% of Republicans said they would vote for the Democratic candidate or a third-party candidate next fall if McCain does not choose a vice president who is considerably more conservative than he is. (And another 9% said they just wouldn’t vote.) These results suggest that it may be normal for some voters to claim early on in the process — perhaps out of frustration — that they will desert their party if certain things do not happen to their liking. And it may be equally likely that they fall back into line by the time of the general election. It is worth noting that in Gallup’s historical final pre-election polls from 1992 to 2004, 10% or less of Republicans and Democrats typically vote for the other party’s presidential candidate.

Still, when almost 3 out of 10 Clinton supporters say they would vote for McCain over Obama, it suggests that divisions are running deep within the Democratic Party. If the fight for the party’s nomination were to continue until the Denver convention in late August, the Democratic Party could suffer some damage as it tries to regroup for the November general election.”

It may be too late now for either Democrat to win now but don’t expect either of them to quit. John McCain on the other hand can continue saving money while the Democrats campaign for him. Expect this race to get even uglier before a Democratic nominee is chosen.

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