McCain Targets Disgruntled Clinton Voters

Can GOP candidate make like Reagan, reverse partisan trend?
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2008 12:43 PM CDT
John McCain speaks to the Florida Society of Newspaper Editors & Florida Press Association Convention being held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Thursday, June 5, 2008.    (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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(Newser) – John McCain sees his path to the White House lined with Hillary Clinton supporters. Up to 28% of Clinton backers have told pollsters they’ll defect to the GOP now that Barack Obama has clinched the nomination, the Washington Post reports, so McCain is targeting them, calling Clinton a “friend” who inspired his daughters. It’s a long shot, but, hey, it worked for Ronald Reagan.

Reagan’s 1980 win came after a long, bruising primary that pitted Jimmy Carter against Ted Kennedy. Reagan wound up taking 26% of the Democratic vote. It’s worth noting, however, that after 47% of Kennedy supporters threatened to jump, half calmed down by November. The country has also become much more partisan since then; in the past four elections, only 1 in 10 Democrats voted Republican.