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

(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.

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.
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)
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.
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)
John McCain smiles before answering a question during a media availability session Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007 in Phoenix.
John McCain smiles before answering a question during a media availability session Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007 in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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