Thursday, March 6, 2008

Republicans for Clinton?

Polprint has heard whispers of a trend that could have had an impact in Ohio and Texas: Republicans voting for Clinton, in order to derail Obama (whom they perceive as the stronger general-election candidate). A friend of Polprint's in Texas reports hearing several Republican colleagues boasting of their Clinton vote; another friend from Ohio has speculated that similar things happened in the Buckeye state.

Both were open primaries, meaning that Republicans can vote in either party's contest (not both). Open primaries have generally been considered helpful to Obama, who draws independents and Republicans. But even a small counter-trend in Texas--a heavily Republican state--could have made a difference.

Rush Limbaugh has spent the past week urging listeners to cast a cross-over vote for Clinton. And the exit poll results show some interesting numbers. Republicans in Texas--who accounted for 9% of the vote--went for Obama 53-46. That is a low figure comparated to other states (72% of Republicans went for Obama in Virginia's open primary, for example). The Texas exit poll also says that self-identified conservatives favored Clinton 52-45 (though the term "conservative" would include conservative Democrats; the other possible categories for that question were "liberal" and "moderate").

In Ohio, the exit poll shows Clinton and Obama splitting the Republican vote, and independents only narrowly breaking for Obama, 50-48.

Perhaps it is not such bad news after all for Obama that Pennsylvania is a closed primary.

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