Going into yesterday's primaries, the media obsessed themselves with gathering public opinion on what conditions should precipitate a Clinton withdrawal. What if she won only one of the two big states? What if she won neither? Well, the point is moot after last night -- an outright win in Ohio and a claim on the popular vote in the Texas primaries have punched Clinton's ticket through the Pennsylvania contest.
Buried in the poll-taking, however, was a surprising figure among those who identified themselves as Obama supporters. While 73% of Obama supporters felt that Clinton should drop out of the race if she lost both Texas and Ohio, nearly half of them (46%) felt it would be perfectly appropriate for Clinton to remain in the race, had she only won one of those states.
This percentage was far less than the number posted by "all Democrats" who felt Clinton had justifiable reason to remain in the race in the "win-one, lose-one" scenario by a 67-29 margin.
Still, there's been a lot of hand wringing in the past week about media fairness in the Democratic race. Who was the media treating unfairly, Clinton or Obama? My thought: neither! The most unfairly abused party in the race has been Obama's supporters, who are widely derided as a glassy-eyed cult of personality whose support is insincere, naive, and based on their propensity to faint dead away when they are in Obama's presence. I say "most unfairly," because unlike the two candidates, they don't have a voice in the media. They don't have an avenue to defend themselves. No one is writing SNL sketches for them.
These poll numbers indicate that Obama's supporters aren't quite the scorched-earth, anti-Hillary Kool-Aid drinkers they've been made out to be. On balance, the Obama support registers in the numbers, but a clear sign of fair-minding comity is also indicated.
Credit is due to the eagle-eyes over at 1115.org, who also note that the recent Pew poll shows that Obama's supporters are more likely to stay in the Democratic camp if their candidate doesn't get the nomination:
More Clinton supporters would switch to McCain if Obama is the nominee than Obama supporters would if Clinton is the nominee: "A quarter of Democrats (25%) who back Clinton for the nomination say they would favor McCain in a general election test against Obama. The "defection" rate among Obama's supporters if Clinton wins the nomination is far lower; just 10% say they would vote for McCain in November..."
This may not end the "Obama supporters as cult" meme, but it should.
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