May 7th, 2008
05:38 AM ET
15 years ago

Schneider: Did 'Operation Chaos' succeed in Indiana?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Limbaugh’s ‘Operation Chaos’ plan was to have republican voters temporarily cross over to vote in the Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton."]
(CNN) - How big of an impact did Rush Limbaugh’s ‘Operation Chaos’ have in Indiana? Did GOP voters really cross over to create havoc in the Democratic primary by voting for Hillary Clinton, as he’d asked his listeners to do?

Roughly one in ten of the state’s Democratic primary voters were Republican - and that group did vote for Hillary Clinton, 53 to 47 percent over Barack Obama. But hold on: registered Democrats, who made up two-thirds of Tuesday’s primary voters, gave roughly the same edge to Clinton, 53 to 45 percent. Only Independents - who made up about a quarter of the electorate - voted for Obama, 53 to 47 percent.

For whatever reason, self-identified conservative voters did overwhelmingly support Clinton – two out of three cast their votes for the New York senator.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (103 Responses)
  1. jon eden

    Members of one party interfering in the primary process of the other is just another sign of the deepening divisions and frowing lack of respect for one another which is destroying our ability to function as a modern democracy.

    May 6, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. PAM

    How will the journalists spin this big win in NC tonight? Actually, I believe they are stunned that they will now have to rewrite the script. These guys are so funny because this is entirely new territory for the media. The youth of this nation have supported the candidate of their choice and this may be the year for doing national politics differently.

    May 6, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  3. Cyrisse

    Will Americans ever grow up? Why is color such an issue? Isn't it more important to focus on the needs of this country?

    May 6, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. D'Anne

    So...what have you called Blacks in the past who have overwhelmingly supported White Democratic candidates? Oh, but the white blue collar workers are just worried about the economy and experience? Okay.

    Blacks represent 12% of the population and there hasn't been 100% Black voter turnout, so OBVIOUSLY whites are voting for Obama as well. How about you get real and come to turns with your hypocrisy.

    May 6, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  5. marie

    If Obama wins the nomination, I'm voting for McCain. And I'm a swing state voter... Democrats are going to screw this one up... and they deserve it at this point. That man is as qualified as I am to run for president. Whatever.

    May 6, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. Gayle, CA

    Yes, just look at the exit polls! 14% think both Clinton and Obama are untrustworthy and 53+ % of then voted for Clinton. 11% were republicans and 53+% of them voted for Clinton.

    Suppers put us out of our misery! Come out for Obama NOW!

    May 6, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. Audrey Miller

    How can you say that Obama had won as soon as the polls closed in North Carolina that you all said that he won. But you cannot say that for Hilary Clinton in Indiana, as soon as the polls closed.

    May 6, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. Jake

    Look at who people will vote for if first Clinton is the Nominee, of her own supporters, you will find that 12% of people of the total number surveyed are going to vote for McCain regardless of if the person they voted for (Clinton) is the nominee or not. Obama had a similar group, but that number was 3.7%. So if Clinton wins by anything less than 8.3%, Obama would have been the winner had it just been people voting for the canidate they want in November. The number for Clinton was 6% in PN, and now 12% in both Indiana and North Carolina. Why doesn't anyone talk about that number.

    May 6, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Jay

    Love how CNN deleated my post for speaking the truth. There was nothing bad about what i said.

    May 6, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Michael - Sacramento, CA

    Mama coo – in answer to your question: "How does one determine that votes for Hillary are just because Rush told them to vote but votes for Obam are because he's so wonderful," I have a counter-question for you: How many of those Republicans voting for Hillary (slightly over 5% of the total vote in this primary) do you suppose plan to vote for her in the spring over McCain? It's true she certainly is a better candidate than McCain. But all the things that make her a better candidate are as true or more true for Barack, who shares almost identical politics with Hillary. If one is choosing between Clinton and Obama, inevitably it comes down to intangibles, and if one is a Republican walking away from the Republican party, Obama's intangibles are better.

    Besides, have you HEARD of any Republican boasting of voting for Obama because he seems a weaker Democratic candidate? I haven't.

    May 6, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. gastoys

    Who cares! The democratic party is done. You have Obama who is hardcore extreme left liberal pushing socialist ideas, Hilary in the middle and McCain just left of the right conservatives. Obama represends the "McDonalds can I have it now" generation and our black brothers and sisters, while McCain has the rest once Hilary is defeated.

    May 6, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  12. Ron

    If a large number of conservatives cross lines because they want Hillary to be the candidate, can you imagine how they'd turn out against her in November?

    Conservatives won't support McCain – they will vote against Hillary.

    May 6, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  13. Pete

    What a bunch of idiots!
    As a white older male, with an education who follows politics closely, it is simply a fact that for the last 46 years, that without a 90% African American vote for the Democrats, not a single Democratic president would have been elected!
    It is absolutely outrageous that anyone would accuse African Americans of being racist for overwhelmingly votig for a candidate (50% white) who is so emunently qualified, that they can actually relate to!
    Look in the mirror if you twits want to see a racist...the reflection will be white!

    May 6, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. Robby, Portland

    It will be TOO funny if the republicans have to bow to Hillary Clinton as
    President because the Operation Chaos hoax backfired on them.

    May 6, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Peter

    Check CNN's exit poll data. Only 86% of the people who voted for Clinton in Indiana say they would vote for her in November! In comparison, 95% of Obama voters report that they will vote for him in November. So yes, I'd say "operation chaos" has made a pretty substantial shift. The impact of operation chaos shown in the exit polls is more than twice the margin of victory in those same polls, so it's quite likely the single reason for flipping the result.

    May 6, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  16. PAM

    OBAMA / EDWARDS '08'

    May 6, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  17. Tab

    Of course it worked in those states, but it worked too late. Obama is already to far ahead for Hilliary to catch him. Limbaugh is good, (like any low down sneaky Republican.) And Hilliary supporters are to BITTER to acknowlege that she is losing fair and square. She ran her race and lost. It is time for the Democrates to unite behind out candidate, instead of allowing the dirty tricks of the Republicans tear the part apart so they can win the election. In the end that is their agenda. And it will be the people who can't see past Obama's race and recognize that he and Clinton are nearly identical on the issues, that hand the presidency over to McCain.

    May 6, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. Ken

    That would explain a lot. And it also shows how powerful conservative talk radio is.

    Obama 08

    May 6, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  19. Consider this...

    How electable is a candidate when a good percentage of their votes come from the opposing team?

    Just sayin'

    What is the percentage gap in Texas, Ohio, and Penn after you take away republicans who voted for Hillary or Barack? I want to see those numbers.

    May 6, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. Roy In NC

    Conservatives voted 2/3 for Clinton "for whatever reason"?? Y'think maybe it's because she's a closet conservative?

    May 6, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  21. No Bill, Hillary or McCain Ever/CA

    Just wait until they drop her.

    May 6, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. JG

    Rush Limbaugh's strategy worked. His plan to create chaos in the Democratic party is working brilliantly. I personally know several right-wing, conservative voters in Indiana who voted for Clinton because of Limbaugh's words. Hillary, just drop out so our party can unite!

    May 6, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. Philip Hooper

    Could the press please dig into this more? While "operation chaos" may not be illegal and take away from any potential Clinton victory in Indiana, it certainly should take away from the momentum she would claim from such a victory. The public deserves to know if, and if so the extent to which, Clinton's republican voters were switching over to confound the democratic primary outcome rather than to make a principled decision.

    May 6, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  24. Grant

    Black racist here is something to think about.
    demographics of the usa
    12% Black
    75.5% White non hispanic
    83% White when you include the hispanics that are white and the ones that claim themselves white
    good luck obama lol.

    President John McCain 08!!!!!
    McCain will win

    May 6, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  25. Change

    Chaos isn't working, its just a cover to explain all the republicans voting for Obama.

    May 6, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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