How Divided Are the Dems?

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If all you had seen was last Saturday’s DNC committee meeting, you would think that this is a party broken beyond repair. And the polling has some ominous signs as well. But as Michael Duffy notes in this story for, this is hardly out of the ordinary at the end of a long primary fight:

It is true that between 25 and 45 percent of Democrats who voted for Clinton have told pollsters that they would vote for John McCain in the fall rather than Obama, but is that threat credible?

There is considerable evidence that some of those voters are letting their emotions do the talking—and following in a long tradition by doing so. According to ABC News’ polling unit, in the spring 1992, only 63% of Democrats who voted for someone other than Bill Clinton in the primaries that year said they would vote for Clinton over George H. W. Bush that fall. In 1996, 66% of Republicans who voted for someone other than Bob Dole in the G.O.P. primary said they would support Dole against Clinton that fall. Al Gore suffered the same apparent dropout problem; only 64% of Democrats who voted for his rivals during the primary said they would be there for Gore in the fall.

The numbers are remarkably similar for Republicans and Democrats, and there are a number of campaign veterans in both parties who believe that rumors of a hefty Democratic dropout are overheated. “People say these things in the heat of a primary,” said a midwestern Republican consultant. “By the fall, they have found other things to be angry about. And they come home.” This week, as Democrats try to end their civil war and prepare for a race against a maverick Republican, they can only hope that the home they come back to is united quickly.