July 4th, 2008
04:40 PM ET
6 years ago

Some Clinton supporters still not embracing Obama, poll says

A new poll shows many of Clinton's supporters still aren't read to back Obama.
A new poll shows many of Clinton's supporters still aren't read to back Obama.

(CNN) - One week after Hillary Clinton made a public show of unity with Barack Obama, a new survey suggests supporters of the New York senator are increasingly less likely to follow her lead.

A growing number of Clinton supporters say they may stay home in November instead of casting their ballot for Obama, a clear sign the party has yet to coalesce around the Illinois senator four weeks after the most prolonged and at times divisive primary race in modern American history came to a close.

According to a new survey from CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation, the number of Clinton supporters who plan to defect to John McCain's camp is down from one month ago, but in what could be an ominous sign for Obama as he seeks to unify the party, a growing number of them say they may not vote at all.

In a CNN/ORC survey conducted in early June, entirely before the New York senator officially ended her White House bid, 22 percent of Clinton supporters said they would not vote at all if Obama was the party's nominee. Now close to a third say they will stay home. In all, only 54 percent of Clinton backers say they plan on voting for Obama.

View full poll results [PDF]

In another sign the wounds of the heated primary race have yet to heal, more than 4 in 10 registered Democrats - 43 percent - still say they would prefer Clinton to be the party's presidential nominee. That number is significantly higher than it was in early June, when only 35 percent of Democrats said they preferred the New York senator to lead the party's presidential ticket Then, Obama won 59 percent of support from registered Democrats, now he garners 5 points less.

By nearly any measure then, it's clear Clinton supporters remain wary of supporting the man who beat her.

"These things always take time to heal," CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider said. "I think Clinton's supporters are waiting to see if Sen. Obama will pick her as vice president. That would certainly be very healing to them."

But most political observers agree the prospects of an Obama-Clinton ticket remain dim, most notably because the New York senator remains a divisive figure in American politics and Obama's message of change threatens to be muddled by the 16 years Clinton has spent in Washington

But the question remains whether Obama can win enough Democrats without Clinton as his No. 2.

"If he doesn't pick her, a later stage of grief is depression and then acceptance," Schneider said. "In the end I expect Clinton supporters will accept Obama, because they will listen to Sen. Clinton who has said the stakes are too high for Democrats to sulk."

In the end, maybe more than four weeks is needed for many of Clinton's most devoted supporters to move past her loss, especially considering the primary campaign stretched more than 17 months.

"Many voters find it tough to immediately switch allegiances to a candidate that they once opposed, so they find a 'neutral' setting more comfortable for awhile," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "If that's what is happening to the Clinton supporters who now say they plan to stay at home, Obama may have nothing to worry about. If not, there's a big chunk of the party base that Obama won't be able to count on in November."

While Clinton's stock among many Democrats remains high in the latest CNN/ORC poll, her husband's is decidedly lower since a year ago at this time.

Much has been made of Bill Clinton's role over the course of his wife's White House bid - the increasingly aggressive campaign style, the sharpened attacks leveled at Obama that some viewed as carrying racial overtones, and the outbursts at some reporters over what he viewed as unfair media coverage - and the former president increasingly came under fire from neutral Democrats and party elders concerned he was fracturing the party in an election cycle during which Democrats appear to hold the advantage in nearly every way.

And the former president clearly left a sour taste in the minds of some Americans - among all registered voters his approval rating is down 9 points in just over a year (60 percent to 51 percent.)

"Former presidents are supposed to be above politics, but Bill Clinton couldn't be above it in this campaign since his wife was a candidate for president," Schneider said. "But he was seen as too political. Democrats thought it was appropriate for him to support his wife but not appropriate to get overly critical of Obama."

So can Clinton, who left office eight years ago with approval ratings well over 60 percent, repair his image with most Americans?

"He needs to show he's gotten over it," Schneider said.

soundoff (539 Responses)
  1. LisafromVa

    Nobody asked me. I am now supporting Obama as are most of my friends who supported Hillary. We realize that they are almost identical on the issues we feel stongly about. We cannot fathom 4 more years of what we have now. I think these polls are incorrect. A true democrat who cares about this country is not going to be that petty as to vote for McSame. These people who say that are Hillary supporters who are now supporting McSame are Republicans trying to mess with the poll numbers. Successfully apparently....

    July 4, 2008 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. Rob in Texas

    A friendly reminder to all Democrats out …

    It is estimated that as many as 2 to 4 seats on the Supreme Court could become vacant during the next Presidential term. Justice Ginsburg is 75 year old and Justice Stevens is 88 and they will both likely retire within the next 4 years. This means it is likely that whoever is President will make appointments that will shape our entire society for decades to come.

    John McCain has said that he would appoint conservative judges if elected President. McCain sited Justices Roberts, Alito and Renquest as his models for the type of judge he would appoint to the court if given an opportunity. McCain voted for all of Bushes appointees to the Supreme Court. If we take McCain at his word, and in this case I do, he would have and will act exactly as Bush has in regards to Supreme Court appointments.

    Both Obama and Clinton voted against Roberts and voted to filibuster Alito.

    Before you decide that you will vote McSame or not vote at all if your candidate does not become the nominee, I urge you to think about a few things...

    Roe vs. Wade
    Environmental Protection
    Personal Privacy in America
    Equal Rights
    Consumer Protection

    I could go on...

    Now imagine all those things going away, because that is what will happen if McCain is the one doing the nominating.

    McCain's voting record in the 109th Congress was the second most conservative in the Senate. He has also promised to greatly increase the size of the US military, and increase the use of nuclear power in the US.

    I made a mistake in 2000 and voted for Nader. Yes I proclaimed it as a message to the DNC and guess what it got me...

    George W. Bush

    Don't make the same mistake I made in 2000. Think people. I bet Carl Rove can't stop laughing.

    July 4, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  3. Christina

    Because they're racist, sexist, blithering IDIOTS!!!

    OBAMA '08!!!

    July 4, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  4. Typical White Person

    I read these posts and the ones making racists remarks are all Obama supporters accusing anyone who doesn't want to vote for a man with no track record as a racist...

    Who's playing the race card?

    July 4, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  5. Patrick

    No Clinton VP = McCain 08!

    Don't kid yourself the people chose Hillary and the DNC and the media chose Obama!

    July 4, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. Manolete

    Many of us, hispanic men that supported Hillary Clinton, can not support Barack because we're too smart to vote for an inexperienced young and naive individual who has no clear ideas how to solve the problems our country is facing.

    We've had 8 years of George Bush and we don't need an affirmative action president who also has strong black supremacists and radical extremist leanings.

    We love our country too much to vote democratic when we know the democratic nominee does not the best interest for the country we love and we will rather vote for a patriot with experience like John McCain; and that is what we'll do in November.

    Hillary Clinton, or else...John McCain!

    July 4, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. Manolete

    Many of us, hispanic men that supported Hillary Clinton, can not support Barack because we're too smart to vote for an inexperienced young and naive individual who has no clear ideas how to solve the problems our country is facing.

    We've had 8 years of George Bush and we don't need an affirmative action president who also has strong black supremacists and radical extremist leanings.

    We love our country too much to vote democratic when we know the democratic nominee does not have the best interest for the country we love and we will rather vote for a patriot with experience like John McCain; and that is what we'll do in November.

    Hillary Clinton, or else…John McCain!

    July 4, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. Dave in Florida

    I would have voted for Clinton (just as I have voted democrat in every election before this one), but now will cast my vote for McCain. I will also support Nader financially so he will take votes from Obama.

    July 4, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  9. Terry

    If Obama does not pick Hillary as his running mate, this Democrat, his wife, his father, his mother, his siblings, his in-laws, etc. are STAYING HOME on election day. NO VOTES for Obama unless Hillary's on the ticket!

    July 4, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  10. Lisa

    Avembe The Sun

    First of all it sounds like you're from another country because if you knew anything politics you would know that Obama and Clinton does not have 99% of the same policies.

    Second As an African American women I don't like Obama because of his policies not his race. Just because the media has lead some to believe that only Whites are voting for Hillary, which is completely false. I'm still confused on what Bill said to make him a racist. How is it possible that just because he said Jesse Jackson campaigned in South Carolina that makes him a racist. Sorry Bill some people are just uneducated and try to use race as in issue. I still believe in you and what you said in South Carolina was not a racial comment.

    As an African American women people try to tease me or call me uncle tom or whatever just because I voted for the best qualified person to run this nation. As a Black women I have seen a lot of smooth talking black men talk their way through a lot of things and Obama is one of them.

    Don't you think it's strange that Obama never wants to debate or answer questions from the media? It's because he wants to slide his way through the nomination so no one can find out who he really is. That's why they call him a smooth talking inexperience used car saleman. They get you to buy a car you don't want and when you try to take it back it's too late.

    Most of Barack supporters belong to a cult anyway . So you can call me an Uncle Tom, a racist do what you have to do, but unforuntely Hillary was a better candidate and I still hopes she win the Nomination.

    Thanks

    July 4, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. GM

    Obama-Clinton '08. Dems UNITE.
    The Clintonites and Obamiacs ALL need to GROW UP or STAY HOME in November. Vote for the half you like, and disreguard the other half. Otherwise, vote for McSame !!!

    July 4, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. Peter E

    Hillary is the 'divisive figure?' Then what would you call Obama and his campaign? He told half of his own party to shut up in the primaries, he doesn't need them. Now he flip-flops and cuddles up to them. He is bullying everyone around the country saying that if we're not with him then we're against him. He called all of us racist, never listening to the actual reasons why we'd vote for somebody else. He surrounded himself with attack dogs he releases upon his opponents and anyone who dares disagree with him. Right now his supporters even threaten to unseat fellow democratic congressmen who supported Hillary in the primaries.
    Sure... it's Hillary who's being divisive... right...

    July 4, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  13. PUMA gal

    We will not 'get over it'
    and we do not reward the Democratic party or the DNC by voting for a Democrat who has supporters who continuously demean and name-call other voters.

    July 4, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  14. Independent Voter

    There is absolutely no way I will vote for BHO! His supporters can try to paint all of us as racists(because, really that's all you simple minded people can come up with) and unfortunately for a small group that may be true but for the majority and for me especially, there are too many things about this man that makes me question his loyalty to this country, his judgment, and his experience. I was never a Democrat..I was Republican until the Clinton era. President Clinton brought wealth and prosperity and peace to our country. Something Obama wont be able to do. I for one, cannot bring myself to vote for someone who voted against a bill for aborted babies (that survive an abortion) to have rights. To him, it must be OK to leave a innocent baby to die in a trash can or on the table. Makes me sick. So, I'll be voting for John McCain a man who will protect our country and not go and have tea and cookies with the terrorists and hopefully, Roe V Wade will soon disappear!
    McCain 08
    Clinton 12

    July 5, 2008 03:05 am at 3:05 am |
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