Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 4, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

QUOTE OF THE DAY....From Josh Patashnik, on the McCain campaign's contention that a Supreme Court full of elderly justices is a good reason to vote for him instead of sitting home and allowing a Democrat to win in November:

Is McCain endorsing the view that public officials over the age of 70 aren't likely to last until the end of the next president's first term? That's, ah, interesting.

Indeed. In other McCain news, Matt Yglesias highlights a Pew poll that shows something odd: among McCain voters, only 88% view McCain favorably. 5% are unsure and a full 7% don't like him. What's up with that?

Kevin Drum 5:18 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (41)

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... a full 7% don't like him. What's up with that?

I noticed that, too. The only explanation I could come up with is that these people are the ones who are resigned to voting for the least objectionable, as they see it. I'd bet you could have seen similar numbers among Democrats in past elections.

Posted by: Brendan on February 4, 2008 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: the only answer I can think of is that the 7% who don't like him, like his opponents even less, and are picking him as the least of the evils. Same with the 5% who aren't sure they like him.

Hell, if you put a gun to my head and said that I had to have one of McCain, Huckabee, or Romney as the next president (not just as the nominee where I might pick the weak one, but as the actual president) I'd probably pick McCain too, because Romney or Huckabee would be far worse.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 4, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, finally, Kevin, you have highlighted a constituency in American politics that no one wanted to cover: the hater-vote. Again, it's not really covered in the leebrul media, but there is an active and organized body of voters (however small), that are vehemently against the candidate that they are voting for. It is a controversial group, but they are a highly motivated group of neo-contrarians that serve to advance the cause of that which they most despise. Freedom, at it's finest.

Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Note as well that another 5% don't know whether they view him favorably or unfavorably. That's fully 12% of his supporters who don't think so much of him. Suggests to me that there's probably a name recognition thing going on -- folks who think of themselves as Republicans, have heard of McCain, don't want to admit they're ignorant, and thus say they're voting for him.

On the other hand, only 3-5% of Romney's and Huckabee's supporters are similarly confused. They seem to have supporters who think they know what is going on.

Posted by: David in NY on February 4, 2008 at 5:32 PM | PERMALINK

Joe Buck's right. For the 7% the alternative to in the general election is going to be either 'the n*****' or 'the b****'. Unless the GOP candidate is openly gay, my dad's vote -- and he's a registered Democrat -- will be cast along those lines.

I sort of wish the GOP would nominate Lindsay Graham, then the old man would wind up like Buridan's ass gone to the polls.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina on February 4, 2008 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

He SUCKS the least

Posted by: kevin Kelly on February 4, 2008 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I must confess I am puzzled at why this is a surprise. You can vote for a candidate, even if you don't like him. Why you vote for someone, and why you "like" or "dislike" him definitely don't need to consist of the same things.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 4, 2008 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

7% doesn't seem like a lot to me. Does anyone know what this figure is for say, Hillary or Obama, for comparison purposes?

Posted by: Tom in Houston on February 4, 2008 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised the number is that low. I tend to loathe historical analogies, but I think the calculus in the GOP this year is similar to what happened with the Democrats last time around, with Huckabee, to some extent, in the Howard Dean role. There was the from nowhere, anti-establishment insurgency, followed by a flameout. As soon as a Huckabee nomination became a serious possibility, a lot of Republicans migrated over to McCain from other camps out of his superior electability. I'll say this for Republicans--they're not as stupid as the media thinks we liberals think they are.

Posted by: Lev on February 4, 2008 at 5:58 PM | PERMALINK

These are the people who want Hillary to go down, and they know McCain can do it.

Posted by: Frank on February 4, 2008 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know what this figure is for say, Hillary or Obama, for comparison purposes?

Probably could follow the link and get Democratic numbers. But Kevin's link shows that only 1% of Romney's supporters view him unfavorably and (oddly, I think) 4% of Huckabee's do so. Similarly, only 2% of Romney's supporters don't know what they think, and 1% of Huckabee's are similarly agnostic.

McCain's numbers seem significantly higher in both respects, and in the total, for which I offered one half-assed explanation above.

Posted by: David in NY on February 4, 2008 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'll never understand the hatred for McCain by some on the right, to the point where they would vote for Hillary over McCain. Can someone clarify why this is really so? Honestly?

Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

...a full 7% don't like him. What's up with that?

This is a mystery? Remember "anybody but Bush"?

Posted by: Doozer on February 4, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing it's just the electability argument.

They r-e-e-e-ly don't like him, but they think he's the only Republican who can win.

And yeah, I'm willing to bet there's a strong correlation with the Hillary -haters.

Posted by: bleh on February 4, 2008 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

The 7% are as old and curmudgeonly as he is. They hate everyone.

Posted by: mmy on February 4, 2008 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

the hatred for McCain by some on the right

As someone who spends too much time in the car listening to right-wing radio, I would offer two reasons:

1. McCain-Feingold. i.e.,the radical notion that huge corporate entities might not have the same protected speech (right to pour money into political campaigns) as individuals.

2. "Amnesty" for undocumented aliens. i.e he advocates a somewhat sane and humane policy.

There are more, of course. Ironically, these are among the things I like about McCain. Or maybe it's not surprising.

Posted by: thersites on February 4, 2008 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

There are two things that could be going on: (1) Voters who don't think likability is needed to be an effective president. And the frequently discussed, least bad -or least bad who is electable.

I can understand the hatred. Look at what happens when religions bifurcate. There is no hatred like that reserved for those who just broke away. It's never even close to that strong for the people of other religions. I think it has something to do with feeling betrayed when someone who was nominally on your side comes out in opposition to something that is very dear to you. You can test yourself. How do you feel about Joe Lieberman?

Posted by: bigTom on February 4, 2008 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

How do you feel about Joe Lieberman? - bigTom

Sheesh, what you trying to start another war on this blog?

Actually on second thought it might be good to get the ugly folks who are posting ugly trash about other ugly posters on the Pulling the Lever thread to actually join together to come out against Joe.

Posted by: Optical Weenie on February 4, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone know what this figure is for say, Hillary or Obama, for comparison purposes?

Probably could follow the link and get Democratic numbers.

Oddly, you can't, because Pew didn't break things down the same way for Democrats and Republicans. But it's interesting that McCain has significantly higher negatives among his own supporters than do Romney and Huckabee.

Posted by: David in NY on February 4, 2008 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

And by the way, although Kevin said 7% of McCain's followers "don't like" him, that's not entirely correct. Rather, they have an "unfavorable" view of him, which may be different -- it doesn't necessarily address the "would like to have a beer with" metric, but may be other things.

Posted by: David in NY on February 4, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

The implications of that poll are quite obvious. 7% of McCain supporters indeed to not like McCain. I would wager that said 7% likes HRC even less.

Posted by: Nick on February 4, 2008 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

two reasons [for right wing hatred of McCain]:

1. McCain-Feingold. i.e.,the radical notion that huge corporate entities might not have the same protected speech (right to pour money into political campaigns) as individuals.

2. "Amnesty" for undocumented aliens. i.e he advocates a somewhat sane and humane policy.

I'd add: his rejection of allegations that Vietnam is still holding Amereican MIAs as prisoners, a story long dear to wingnut hearts.

He's also distastful to followers of the Bush cult of personality, for being insufficiently Bush-true.

Posted by: rea on February 4, 2008 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

I overheard two young white male students talking in a college class this afternoon and they were going to vote for McCain. I asked one of them (who happened to be wearing a bright rainbow patterned tie-dye t-shirt) why and he said something like: "Well it goes against my liberal instincts, but we've got a war going on that has to be managed and Hillary and Obama don't have the necessary experience to lead the country". That is what McCain is going to sell. I don't think he will be successful because the economy is going to overtake Iraq IMO, but that's the theme he's going to present.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on February 4, 2008 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'm gradually liking all of the remaining candidates less and less. But I'll eventually vote for somebody, I suppose.

Posted by: AJ on February 4, 2008 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm certain to vote for either Clinton or Obama in November. But I don't like either one of them.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on February 4, 2008 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

The 7% is typical-- lots of people vote for the Republican or the Democrat just because they like that party better than the other party, and they want to give another person from the party a chance.

"Regular" people are a little different from political idealists. They don't pick out a candidate like a 14 year old girl picking out her first date. They don't say "Ahhhh! Ahhhh! Ohmigod! Holy shit! I don't like the way he bites his lip and twirls his hair and and and..." and sit there waiting for Brad Pitt to date them. They say, "Ok, this guy is better than the caveman sitting over in the corner there. Let's get him into office and see what he can do."

It's more a duty, less an ocassion for whining an fantasizing.

Posted by: Swan on February 4, 2008 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kev -
In the poll/survey biz, it's commonly known that when you ask people a question, usually 10%-15% are too stupid to understand what you're asking.

Posted by: hdsaj on February 4, 2008 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

"There are more, of course."

Add judicial nominees to the list. The "gang of 14" pact actually managed to block 2 of Bush's nominees (gasp! horror!), and McCain wouldn't necessarily have nominated Alito.

Posted by: PaulB on February 4, 2008 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

You can probably count on 7% of Americans to hate everybody.

Welcome to the Age of Grampa Simpson.

Posted by: pjcamp on February 4, 2008 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Doc, i think you're right there. I heard similar sentiments form my students last semester.

Booorring-Dude, don't start your posts with "Ah kevin" - i almost didn't read it because i thought it was from egbert.

and to echo everyone else- right, these folks just like McCain better thant he others, they don't really LIKE him.

Posted by: URK on February 4, 2008 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

The answer is obvius: he is clearly thheir most elelctable candidate. R's are smarter at politica s than Dems. They suck at governing , but they are smarter at pliticas.

I wishh Hillary supporters were smart enough at politics to vote for the most elelctable candidate.

Posted by: wonkie on February 4, 2008 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Wonkie,

I think it is time to put away the alcohol and go to bed.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 4, 2008 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Dr Sardonicus nailed it. (2/4, 8:14pm)
Politics is the art of the "possible," not necessarily the desirable.
The list of things the hard-core Rethugs loathe about McCain is incomplete without mentions of his opposition to the early W tax cuts, on the basis that they were too weighted to the rich, and would throw the budget out of whack (he was completely right on both counts of course, which takes their hatred up another two notches), and most important, his apparent willingness (since repeatedly denied, but far too well sourced) to bolt the party and become an independent, but caucus with the Dem's, as Jeffords wound up doing. Not to mention, of course, his utter apostasy in the oughty-ought primary, when he called Falwell and his ilk "agents of intolerance," and likened them to Farrakhan.
It's really too bad; I'm not completely convinced that the McCain that was running in 2000 would have been a terrible Pres. (That McCain is of course long since dead and buried.)

Posted by: smartalek on February 4, 2008 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

I'll never understand the hatred for McCain by some on the right, to the point where they would vote for Hillary over McCain. Can someone clarify why this is really so? Honestly?
Posted by: Boorring on February 4, 2008 at 6:09 PM |

It's his corruption and lack of patriotism in encouraging the invasion of our country.

Posted by: Luther on February 4, 2008 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

Even if you say you like McCain, what Republicans do independents want to see him put in his administration? Who would they want to see as his VP?

Posted by: Memekiller on February 4, 2008 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

I think that 7% are McCain's relatives.....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 4, 2008 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Is it imaginable that 7% of probable Obama voters actively dislike him? I don't think so.

Posted by: Kenji on February 4, 2008 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

I am not a Hillary fan, but surely even the Hillary haters have to concede that our economy did better under the Democrats. Its amazing that people will actually vote for McCain, which would be as bad or worse than the disaster we have now because of an emotional reaction, to a woman, perpetrated by partisan punditry.

Less Jobs - More War and Debt Vote McCain '08

Posted by: Ya Know... on February 5, 2008 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

Ya Know...is right. A Republican has presided over seven of the last eight recessions. The stock market always gains more when a Democrat is in the White House, stretching back to Herbert Hoover.

Contrary to the conventional wisdom - Republicans are BAD for business!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on February 5, 2008 at 5:37 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not so keen on Obama, but I voted for him on my absentee ballot after Edwards dropped out. In November, I'll vote for Hillary if she's the nominee, with less than enthusiasm also.

Presumably Republicans are no different from us in this respect at least.

Posted by: Nancy Irving on February 5, 2008 at 6:32 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't liked the last several presidential candidates for whom I voted, Democrats all. However I liked the Republicans (Bush, Bush, Dole and Reagan) a lot worse. If Obama makes it to November it will be the first time in my life that I will happily and contentedly vote for a presidential candidate.
If there are a lot of other people like me, and I believe there are, that enthusiasm is why he will win in November.

Posted by: wihntr on February 5, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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